UCF and Penn State have announced the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home series, beginning when the Knights visit the Nittany Lions Sept. 14, 2013. Both institutions are still working to determine a date for Penn State’s return visit to Bright House Networks Stadium, either in 2014 or 2015.
“We are very excited about this home-and-home series with Penn State,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury said. “It is our goal to put together a schedule that will be exciting and entertaining for UCF fans. Traveling to State College in 2013 will be a memorable experience, and we are certainly looking forward to hosting the Nittany Lions at Bright House Networks Stadium in the near future.”
“With the addition of the Penn State game and facing a coach that I used to work with in Bill O’Brien, it gives us a great opportunity to get up into the northeast, especially heading into the BIG EAST Conference,” Head Coach George O’Leary said. “This allows us to have more presence in the area that we have to open up recruiting to.”
Penn State will take the place of Bethune-Cookman on UCF’s 2013 schedule.
“We certainly value our long-standing athletics history with Bethune-Cookman and we appreciate their understanding in this situation,” Stansbury said.
An updated look at the Knights’ 2013 opponents, with more official dates to be announced when they become finalized:
2013 UCF Football Opponents
- Akron (Aug. 29)
- South Carolina (Sept. 28)
- FIU (Sept. 7)
- Penn State (Sept. 14)
*-BIG EAST opponent
With Penn State slated to travel to UCF after the 2013 season, it will mark the first Big Ten team to take on the Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium (opened in 2007). The only time the Knights hosted a Big Ten program was in the 1999 opener against No. 22 Purdue at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The series will be a reunion between Coach O’Leary and Coach O’Brien, as the Nittany Lions’ leader worked under O’Leary at Georgia Tech from 1995-01, including serving as the offensive coordinator in 2001. This will be the first time the two veteran coaches will be on opposite sidelines. Meanwhile, current UCF offensive line and assistant head coach Brent Key played for both O’Leary and O’Brien with the Yellow Jackets from 1997-00.
In 2012, the Knights finished with a 10-4 record, tying for their second-most victories in school history. O’Brien earned three national coach of the year honors for guiding Penn State to an 8-4 mark.
The 2013 schedule will serve as the second-straight season UCF will travel to a Big Ten opponent, as it visited Ohio State in 2012. Before the trip to OSU which featured an attendance of 104,745, the Knights’ contests at Penn State in 2002 and 2004 produced crowds of 103,029 and 101,715, respectively. Those three figures currently stand as the largest away crowds in UCF history.
This will be UCF’s eighth contest against current Big Ten teams as it has faced Nebraska (0-1), Purdue (0-2) and Wisconsin (0-1) along with PSU (0-2) and OSU (0-1) since the Knights jumped to the FBS level in 1996. It also will be the first of two trips to Pennsylvania in 2013, as UCF is slated to visit BIG EAST foe Temple in Philadelphia as well.
In the 2002 season opener at No. 24 Penn State, UCF trailed at halftime, 10-9, before the Nittany Lions scored 17-unanswered points. The Knights answered with two late touchdowns for the final 27-24 margin. Matt Prater was 3-for-3 in field goals, Ryan Schneider went 32-for-46 with 345 yards and touchdown and Doug Gabriel caught 11 passes for 153 yards. UCF forced four fumbles in the game, recovering two of them
Two years later and with Coach O’Leary in his first season at UCF, Prater hit two first-half field goals yet the visitors trailed 21-6 at the break en route to Penn State’s 37-13 win.
Plan your gamedays with the Knights, and experience the inaugural BIG EAST campaign in the best available seat locations at Bright House Networks Stadium. Visit UCFAthletics.com or call 407-UCF-1000 for complete ticket information.