The 2005 SheratonHawaiʻi Bowl matched the UCF Knights against the Nevada Wolf Pack. The fourth edition of the Hawaii Bowl was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, and featured the WAC champions versus the Conference USA runner-ups. UCF was one of the nation's best stories of the season. They had gone 0-11 the previous season, and were in the midst of a 17-game losing streak the previous season. The official attendance of 16,134 set a low mark among post-season FBS bowl games that, as of 2013, has not been passed.
They accomplished one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history. After starting the season 0-2, they won eight of their next nine games to make it to the Conference USA championship game. At 8-3, and 7-1 in Conference USA, they lost to Tulsa in the championship game to fall to 8-4.
UCF started the scoring with quarterback Steven Moffett throwing a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Marshall to make it 7-0 UCF. Four minutes later, running back Kevin Smith took a hand-off and rushed 78 yards for a touchdown giving UCF a 14-0 lead. Robert Hubbard got Nevada on the board with a 4-yard touchdown run cutting the lead to 14-7. UCF's Matt Prater drilled a 47-yard field goal to move the lead back up to 17-7 at the end of the 1st quarter.
In the second quarter, running back B.J. Mitchell scored twice on two 1-yard touchdown runs for Nevada to reclaim the lead 21-17. Later on, running back Robert Hubbard scored from 24 yards out to extend the lead to 28-17 Nevada. Matt Prater's 38-yard field goal before the half cut the lead to 28-20.
Early in the third quarter, Steven Moffett fired a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. The ensuing two-point conversion failed, and Nevada still led 28-26. With two minutes to go in the third quarter, Kevin Smith scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to give UCF a 32-28 lead. UCF tried for two points again, but failed.
In the fourth quarter, Robbert Hubbard scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to give Nevada a 35-32 lead. With 3:18 to go in the game, quarterback Jeff Rowe threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Travis Branzell to extend the lead to 42-32. On UCF's next possession, they failed to score a touchdown, and were forced to attempt a long field goal. Kicker Matt Prater nailed a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 42-35 with 1:35 left.
The ensuing onside kick was recovered by UCF, and they took advantage of it. With 55 seconds left, Steven Moffett threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, to tie the game at 42. This was their third connection of the game. In overtime, Jeff Rowe scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to make the lead 49-42 Nevada. Kevin Smith answered with a 19-yard touchdown run, but Matt Prater missed the extra point, and Nevada escaped with a 49-48 win.