For the fifth time in history, the UCF football team is headed to the Tampa Bay area for a postseason bowl game, this time to play in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl.

UCF (8-4) will meet Southeastern Conference representative Florida (6-6) at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in the 40,277-seat Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

“We’re excited to be playing in the Gasparilla Bowl against a quality in-state opponent like Florida,” UCF football head coach Gus Malzahn says. “This is a great opportunity for our fans being right down the road at a place our program has had a lot of success. We’re really looking forward to heading over to Tampa.”

UCF is offering a $16.20 lower-level student section ticket to the first 500 students who purchase through UCF. The purchase link will be available soon. All students must use their email address to purchase. Tickets cannot be transferred or posted for resale. Knightmare Society members will have early access to purchase student bowl tickets, limited to one ticket per member. All other student bowl tickets will be sold on first come, first served basis. There will be no student guest tickets.

Fans calling in to purchase tickets, at 407-823-1000, may experience longer wait times than usual. All fans are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets online here. More information about ticketing can be found on the UCF Athletics site.

The UCF Tampa Bay Alumni chapter will host a riverwalk cleanup event 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 23 ahead of the bowl game. The chapter will provide gloves, pickers and trash bags. Participants should meet at Armature Works, 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602, where lunch will be held after the cleanup. Attendees should register online here.

This year marks a program-record sixth consecutive postseason bowl appearance for the Knights, the ninth in 10 seasons and the 13th in 17 years. UCF also previously played in the NCAA Division II playoffs in 1987 and in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 1990 and 1993.

The Knights have played twice each in the Fiesta Bowl (following 2014 and 2018 seasons), Liberty Bowl (2007 and 2010) and St. Petersburg Bowl (2009 and 2014) and once each in the Hawaii Bowl (2005), Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (2012), Cure Bowl (2016), Peach Bowl (2017), Gasparilla Bowl (2019) and Boca Raton Bowl (2020).

This will be the seventh time UCF has played a bowl game in the state of Florida — after three previous appearances in the St. Petersburg/Beef O’Brady’s game and one each in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, the Gasparilla Bowl and the Boca Raton Bowl.

The Gasparilla Bowl has been played since 2008—in 2008-09 as the St. Petersburg Bowl, 2010-13 as the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, 2014 as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, 2015-16 as the St. Petersburg and since 2017 as the Gasparilla Bowl (with UCF playing in the game in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2019). The game originally was played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg and moved to Tampa and Raymond James Stadium in 2018.

UCF and Florida will meet for the third time following two previous games played at Florida — with the Gators recording wins by counts of 42-0 in 2006 and 58-27 in 1999. The two programs also are slated to meet on Oct. 5, 2024, in Gainesville, Sept. 14, 2030, in Orlando and Sept. 3, 2033, in Gainesville.

This marks the fifth time UCF has faced a current Southeastern Conference member in a bowl game — following wins over Auburn (Peach Bowl in 2017) and Georgia (Liberty in 2010) and losses to LSU (Fiesta in 2018) and Mississippi State (Liberty in 2007). UCF’s lone regular-season win over an SEC team is a victory at Alabama in 2000.