The University of Central Florida (UCF) 16-15 loss to a FCS football program on Saturday was historic for more than one reason.
For those who aren’t aware, the UCF football program is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly referred to as Division I-A. Their opponents on Saturday, Furman University, are a part of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly referred to as Division I-AA football. Any time a team from the FBS, like UCF, loses to anyone from the FCS, it’s noteworthy.
As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the UCF football program hasn’t lost a game to a FBS team since 1995 when Troy defeated them 28-17 in the Citrus Bowl. It doesn’t look much better for UCF when you look at Furman’s history against FBS football programs. Before Saturday’s game against UCF, Furman’s record against Division I-A football teams since 1987 was just 1-25. It was the first time they pulled off this kind of upset since 1999.
Technically, it’s the only time in the current millennium that the UCF football program drooped a game to a FCS team, and the first time Furman managed to defeat a FBS football team.
UCF’s football team is now 0-3 to kick off the season. In their season opener, the UCF football team lost to Florida International University (FIU) 15-14. They followed that up by travelling to Stanford, who absolutely schooled them on the football field, 31-7. No doubt that UCF football coach George O’Leary expected to use their home game against Furman to put a “1” in that win column, and possibly save the rest of the football season before it’s too late.
As UCFKnights.com noted, this was the first time since the 2004 season that UCF had started the football season with three consecutive losses.
As if UCF didn’t already feel bad enough about their loss, it came on the night that they honored former UCF football coach Gene McDowell. McDowell was as legendary of a part of UCF football as Lou Holtz was for Notre Dame football. Officially announcing an annual scholarship in McDowell’s name, a video presentation was played during halftime of UCF’s loss to Furman.
As the Orlando Sentinel describes, the legend of Gene McDowell goes further than coaching the UCF football team. During his twelve years with UCF (1985-1997), McDowell also spent time as the school’s athletic director. The scholarship, which will be rewarded to a different UCF football player each year, will have to make up for the fact that McDowell will never see his name in the UCF Hall of Fame.
In 1997, McDowell’s run as coach was cut short when he he plead guilty to lying to federal agents about UCF football players being involved in a cell phone scam. The guilty plea resulted in his resignation as UCF football coach, and resigned any hope of being a UCF Hall of Famer — the felony plea agreement renders McDowell ineligible.
When the 2015 college football season started on Thursday, September 3, UCF’s match-up against FIU officially kicked off the season (alongside North Carolina vs. South Carolina). They get another shot at their first victory this season when the UCF football team travels to South Carolina to play the Gamecocks.
[Image credit Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images]