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Back to Bouncin’

UCF’s 2021 season opener was one to remember with return to the full game day experience and the start of the Gus Malzahn era.

Fall 2021 By Jenna Marina Lee 

It will go down in UCF history as the game that took two days to win. After enduring a lightning delay that pushed back the UCF football team’s season opening kickoff against Boise State on Sept. 2, the Knights rallied to a 36-31 victory to start the Gus Malzahn era. The game eventually wrapped at 1:26 a.m. on Sept. 3 in front of a still lively crowd in the Bounce House. The win put an exclamation point on the return of the full game-day experience on campus — including tailgating, the Knight Walk, March to Victory, and on-field performances by the Marching Knights and spirit squad for the first time since the 2019 season.

“I’ve coached football for 31 years. I don’t think I’ve ever had a team that dealt with adversity like you did. The champion came out in you. We could not be more proud of you — we’re so blessed to be coaching you guys. Enjoy this thing.”
Gus Malzahn, UCF head football coach in his postgame locker room speech to the team


Minutes kickoff was delayed by inclement weather


Time since the 2018 season that UCF has appeared on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, ranking in the top 10 in the nation in major network appearances during that time


Consecutive game Dillon Gabriel completed a passing touchdown, tying him with McKenzie Milton ’19 for the second longest streak in UCF history


Consecutive points the Knights scored to erase the largest first-half deficit in school history (21 points)


Hours for Marc Daniels’ radio game day broadcast (5 p.m. to 2:12 a.m.), the longest in UCF football history


Straight season opening victory

Two fans pose in front of a UCF flag

UCF fans were out in full force tailgating on Memory Mall prior to kickoff.

A fan wears a Knight helmet and armor

The Knightalorian (@knightalorian) shows off his custom, homemade costume — a nod to the Disney+ Emmy-winning show “The Mandalorian.”(Photo by Brooke Morris)

Knightro points at the camera while Knight Moves and the cheer team follow behind him during the March to Victory.

Knightro and the UCF spirit squad lead the March to Victory.

Fans cheering in the stadium

UCF’s student section, The Knightmare, took home the first Taco Bell Live Más Student Section of the Week honor this year following the season opening win.

Guz Malzahn holds up a football in the locker room while Terry Mohajir stands nearby.

UCF head coach Gus Malzahn holds up the game ball as he addresses the team in the locker room after the game. (Photo by Mark Godin)

A football player holds up one finger after scoring a touchdown

Freshman wide receiver Titus Mokiao-Atimalala scores just before halftime against Boise State.