UCF Knights Finally Get Their Signature Win

Jim FolsomContributorJanuary 1, 2011

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 29: George O'Leary, head coach of the UCF Knights, watches the action from the sideline during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on December 29, 2007 at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The Bulldogs beat the Knights 10-3. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

1997. August 30. Ole Miss 24, UCF 23 in OT. UCF loses when they go for two in overtime. Daunte Culpepper trips over one of his offensive linemen when he has a hole you could drive a truck through to the end zone.

1997. September 6, South Carolina 33, UCF 31.

1997. September 13. Nebraska 38, UCF 24.

1997. October 25. Mississippi State 35, UCF 28.

1998. November 7. Auburn 10, UCF 6. (this one was especially painful. It coast UCF their first bowl bid.)

1999. September 25. Georgia 24, UCF 23.

2000. September 2. Georgia Tech 21, UCF 17.

2001. September 1. Clemson 21, UCF 13.

2001. September 8. Syracuse 21, UCF 10.

2001. November 10. Arkansas 27, UCF 20.

2002. August 31. Penn State 27, UCF 24.

2002. November 2. Syracuse 38, UCF 35.

2005. September 1. South Carolina 24, UCF 15.

2005. December 24. Nevada 49, UCF 48. First Bowl game in school history, UCF loses on a missed extra point in overtime by Matt Prater. Prater is now one of the NFL's best.

2006. September 17. USF 24, UCF 17.

2007. September 15. Texas 35, UCF 32.

2007. December 29. Mississippi State 10, UCF 3. UCF wins their first conference championship and then loses the Liberty Bowl.

2008. September 6. USF 31, UCF 24.

2009. December 19. Rutgers 45, UCF 24. Third straight Bowl loss.

2010. September 11. NC State 28, UCF 21.

2010 September 25. Kansas State 17, UCF 13.

All of it fell away when Aaron Murray's Hail Mary pass fell to the turf with 0:00 on the clock in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. Final score: UCF 10, Georgia 7.

All those close calls. All the frustration. So many painful losses in so many different ways. A fumble near the goal line in South Carolina to lose by two.

A questionable offensive pass interference call and a missed extra point in a one point loss in Athens, GA to lose by one.

Failing to run the clock out and fumbling a snap in a 6-3 game at Auburn, then allowing a long TD pass to lose 10-6.

There WAS the Alabama game in 2000 when UCF won on a Javier Beorlegui field goal to win 40-38. At the time that was UCF's biggest win. But 'Bama was on probation that year and limped home with a 3-8 record.

In 2007 there was beating NC State in Raleigh on the strength of a big game by Kevin Smith. That was a big win, but it is NC State. They aren't exactly a big name in college football.

Beating Tulsa that year in the C-USA Championship Game was big. But UCF failed to beat the SEC team, Mississippi State, in the Liberty Bowl so it was ruined a bit.

But this? This is THE biggest win in the program's history. I know UGA only went 6-7 this year. But with their sure fire top five draft pick A.J. Green, they were 5-2. They also scored at least 30 in every game he played in. This game they scored six. Two field goals. That's all UCF would allow on this day.

This game looked for all the world like another excruciating disappointment. There was the holding penalty (which looked pretty ticky tack) to negate running the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. There was a pick in the end zone when UCF had a first and goal. There was the spiking of the ball on first and goal when UCF had two timeouts left at the end of the first half. UCF had to settle for a field goal and still had 33 seconds left. Oh and one timeout.

Then in Georgia's last drive there were two fourth and longs that UCF let them convert. Georgia still had a chance all the way to the final gun. With A.J. Green and Kris Durham out there, it was hold your breath time until the pass hit the ground. And when it did, all that frustration was gone. It was over. UCF had done it. Finally.

Congratulations to the 2010 Liberty Bowl Champions. The UCF Knights.