1997 UCF Golden Knights football team

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1997 UCF Golden Knights football
UCF Golden Knights logo.png
Conference Independent
1997 record 5–6
Head coach Gene McDowell (13th year)
Home stadium Citrus Bowl
« 1996 1998 »
1997 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Louisiana Tech           9 2  
Navy           7 4  
Notre Dame           7 6  
UAB           5 6  
UCF           5 6  
Northeast Louisiana           5 7  
Army           4 7  
Arkansas State           2 9  
Southwestern Louisiana           1 10  
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1997 UCF Golden Knights football season was the thirteenth and final for Gene McDowell as the head coach of the Golden Knights. Assistant coach Alan Gooch was named the national assistant coach of the year in 1997, and on January 20, 1998, in the wake of a federal fraud investigation concerning improper cellular phone benefits and use, McDowell resigned as head coach.[1][2]

UCF started to gain notoriety in 1997, playing a higher-profile schedule, including several SEC teams. The Golden Knights narrowly lost to Ole Miss on opening day, falling 24-23 in overtime. After a 2-point loss at South Carolina, the Golden Knights gained considerable national attention on September 13 at #6 Nebraska. UCF led the Cornhuskers 17-14 at halftime,[3] earning congratulatory cheers from the Lincoln, Nebraska crowd. UCF, however, could not hold off the powerfull Cornhuskers, and fell by a final score of 38-24. After the game, Nebraska dropped a spot in the rankings, and UCF earned their first ever single vote in the AP Poll.

A week after the Nebraska game, over 41,000 showed up at the Citrus Bowl for UCF's home-opener against Idaho. The Golden Knights routed the Vandals 41-10 for their first win of the season.

At the end of the season, Daunte Culpepper set 15 school records, and was named a finalist for Davey O'Brien Award. He was also named a semi-finalist for the Football News Offensive Player of the Year. Hearing impaired tailback Dwight Collins received the Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award, and running backs coach Alan Gooch who worked with him, was named the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year.

Schedule and results[edit]

The Citrus Bowl, the Knights home field.
Date Opponent Site Result Attendance
August 30 at Ole Miss* Vaught–Hemingway StadiumOxford, Mississippi L 23–24   28,216
September 6 at South Carolina* Williams-Brice StadiumColumbia, South Carolina L 31–33   81,908
September 13 at #6 Nebraska* Memorial StadiumLincoln, Nebraska L 24–38   75,327
September 20 Idaho* Citrus BowlOrlando, Florida W 41–10   41,827
September 27 at #8 Auburn* Jordan-Hare StadiumAuburn, Alabama L 14–41   82,109
October 4 at Kent State* Dix StadiumKent, Ohio W 59–43   10,584
October 11 Samford* Citrus Bowl • Orlando, Florida W 52–7   22,016
October 25 at Mississippi State* Davis Wade StadiumStarkville, Mississippi L 28–35   28,621
November 1 at Northeast Louisiana* Malone StadiumMonroe, Louisiana L 41–45   15,936
November 15 Eastern Michigan* Citrus Bowl • Orlando, Florida W 27–10   39,433
November 22 Toledo* Citrus Bowl • Orlando, Florida W 34–17   15,062
*Non-conference game. All times are in Eastern Time.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Daunte's World... Orlando's Biggest Attraction: Part 6 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  2. ^ "Plus: College Football -- Central Florida; Coach Quits After Guilty Plea". The New York Times. January 21, 1998. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Central Florida vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

External links[edit]