Gasparilla Bowl: UCF Knights beat Florida Gators, marking first win against team in program history

TAMPA, Fla. — The UCF Knights are Gasparilla Bowl champions.

The team beat the Florida Gators 29 to 17, marking their first win against UF in program history.

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The Gasparilla Bowl wasn’t the biggest game in UCF history, but for thousands of fans in attendance and so many of the players, beating Florida by double digits might be their most memorable win.

“It feels so surreal,” said Ryan O’Keefe. “We put in so much work. Coach just said, you know, no team is bigger than us. Just because they have a bigger name, that’s not going to stop us.”

READ: Gasparilla Bowl: Knights, Gators face off in Tampa

UCF coach Gus Malzahn said he believes the team is the program of the future.

UCF is now 3-2 all time against SEC schools in bowl games. Malzahn said he expects this will give them a major bump in recruiting within the state.

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But on the other side of the field, the Florida Gators are already turning the page. The team has a new coaching staff coming in next year to try to get their program back on top.

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Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.