On opening day, UCF once again played up to a ranked opponent on the road, but failed to pull off the upset. Trailing 10–9 at halftime against Penn State, a near-disastrous third quarter saw the Golden Knights fall behind 20–9. In the fourth quarter UCF rallied. Quarterback Ryan Schneider capped off an 80–yard drive with a 6–yard touchdown pass to Travil Capers with 24 seconds to go. With the score 27–24, a failed onside kick attempt sealed the victory for the Nittany Lions.
UCF's first conference game came on September 20 against eventual MAC champion Marshall. With Thundering Herd quarterback Byron Leftwich faltering throughout the night, UCF largely failed to capitalize. Trailing 21–26 in the final three minutes, UCF intercepted Leftwich, and subsequently drove to the Marshall 26–yard line. Facing 4th & 3 at the Marshall 26, Ryan Schneider was picked off by Terence Tarpley. Marshall ran out the clock, and held on for the victory. The Knights first conference victory in the MAC came at Western Michigan on October 12. Finishing the season with a winning record (7–5 overall, 6–2 conference), UCF did not receive a bowl berth.