When UCF Knights linebacker Mark Rucker takes the field at Saturday’s AutoNation Cure Bowl, he will be playing for more than another win. Rucker is dedicating the game to his aunt who is battling breast cancer.
“It affected me most when she lost her hair and saw her struggling a little bit, and so this game, I’m pretty much dedicating it to her,” Rucker said at a bowl game press conference Thursday.
Now in its second year, the AutoNation Cure Bowl’s proceeds go to breast-cancer research, specifically the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Some of the proceeds have already supported the work of College of Medicine cancer researcher Dr. Annette Khaled. She attended the press conference with Cure Bowl officials, UCF players and Coach Scott Frost.
The game is equally significant for Rucker’s teammate, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who said he is inspired by a family member battling the disease.
“Seeing her keep fighting and keep pushing, it just reminds us that anytime there is a bad play or anytime something goes wrong, you know, why can’t we keep fighting,” said the AAC defensive player of the year.
Griffin is looking forward to “a great experience” being able to play for such an important cause.
“It’s more than just us when it comes to this game. Just like the name says, it’s the Cure Bowl. We’re fighting for a cause. We are playing more than just football, and that’s the biggest thing – that’s the biggest impact for us.”
The Knights will face Arkansas State University at Camping World Stadium in Orlando with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m.
Khaled, chair of the medical school’s Cancer Research Division, will join Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UCF College of Medicine, and others on the field during the game to receive a check of Cure Bowl proceeds going to breast cancer research.
To purchase tickets or get more information on the game, visit http://curebowl.com/ . The game will be shown on CBS Sports Network.