UCF’s first Friday night spring game will feature a long anticipated matchup between the “Knights” and the “Citronauts.”
The school announced its annual intersquad scrimmage will take place at 6:30 pm on April 14 at FBC Mortgage Stadium, with further details to come.
UCF will prepare for its first regular season as a member of the Big 12, joining the conference officially on July 1. The league has yet to reveal its schedule, targeting the end of January, according to Baylor University vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Mack Rhoades.
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Although UCF’s football program has gone by the nickname “Knights” since its NCAA Division III debut in 1979, the Citronaut mascot predates it by more than a decade. The logo first appeared on Florida Technological University’s student Handbook in the fall of 1968.
UCF stakes its claim as the top university in the country for placing graduates in Aerospace industry jobs. As the academic scope expanded beyond its original focus on engineering and technology, Florida Technological University was renamed the University of Central Florida in 1978.
For the last six years, UCF has adopted the “Citronauts” moniker and worn special uniforms for its Space Game. The Knights are 6-0 on such occasions, most recently a 70-13 thrashing of Temple on Oct. 13.
Eric DeSalvo, the school’s associate athletics director for content, joked on social media, “I heard (the) winning team is UCF’s mascot forever and ever and ever*”.
The spring game will also serve as the debut of UCF’s additions from the NCAA transfer Portal and its early enrollees from the high school ranks. Defensive lineman John Walker, an Under Armor Next All-American, headlines the incoming freshmen, while former Florida wide receiver Trent Whittemore is among the notable transfers.
It’s also a marquee recruiting event for the program. Last April, Lakewood edge rusher Isaiah Nixon committed to the Knights during the second half of the game. Nixon Flipped to Florida during the summer, but eventually signed with UCF in December’s early window.