Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

UCF Knights, Ball State Cardinals to meet in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

After losing the Conference USA title game to Tulsa on Saturday, Central Florida knew it was going to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.

The Knights hoped to play a Big East opponent. But Sunday, they learned they will face Ball State, from the MAC, Dec. 21 at Tropicana Field.

The Beef 'O' Brady's bowl has an agreement with the Big East. But the conference had only five bowl-eligible teams for its six slots. Connecticut's loss to Cincinnati on Saturday left it 5-7, sent Pittsburgh to the Compass Bowl and opened up a spot for an at-large team.

"Ball State is a hot team right now, winning six straight," bowl executive director Brett Dulaney said; "including a road win over conference foe Toledo, which was ranked in the Top 25 at the time."

UCF coach George O'Leary was preparing for a recruiting trip and unavailable for comment.

The Cardinals are 9-3, their best season since 12-2 in 2008 under current Michigan coach Brady Hoke. It's only the sixth time in the program's 89-year history it has won nine or more games. And the combined record of the teams Ball State lost to is 33-5 (10-2 Clemson, 11-2 Kent State and 12-1 Northern Illinois).

One win came over USF, 31-27 in Muncie, Ind., when Keith Wenning hit Willie Snead for a 19-yard touchdown with 1:02 left. Wenning, a junior, has thrown for 2,878 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Snead has team highs of 82 catches, 1,070 yards and seven touchdown catches.

Ball State is 0-5 in bowls. Its last one was the January 2009 GMAC, a 45-13 loss to Tulsa.

"Our program is extremely pleased to be representing the MAC," Pete Lembo, 14-9 in his two seasons as Cardinals coach, said in a statement released by Ball State.

"We have had an outstanding season and are looking forward to allowing the fans of Florida and our fans across the country to see our exciting team.

UCF lost two of its three games against Ball State when it was in the MAC from 2002-04. They last met Nov. 13, 2004, when Ball State rallied for a 21-17 victory at home.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

UCF Knights, Ball State Cardinals to meet in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 12/02/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 2, 2012 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.