FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – ORLANDO SPORTS FOUNDATION
Media Contact: Nate Blythe / 772-240-8742
Dec. 4, 2016
2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl Presented by Florida Hospital Features UCF vs. Arkansas State
Knights and Red Wolves to Meet on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, Dec. 17
Full Audio from Bowl Announcement (Jeff Lagos and Alan Gooch): https://bit.ly/2h3gDaZ
ORLANDO, Fla. (CureBowl.com) – The Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) released Sunday that the UCF Knights will battle the Arkansas State Red Wolves, co-champions of the Sun Belt, in the second-annual AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital. The contest is set to be played on Dec. 17 at Camping World Stadium with the kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
“We are honored to host Arkansas State and UCF at the second AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital,” said Orlando Sports Foundation President, Jeff Lagos. “On behalf of our organization and its partners, we welcome the Red Wolves and Knights as we bring teams together to find a cure for cancer.”
The AutoNation Cure Bowl directly supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The proceeds from the inaugural 2015 game set a bowl record at $1.15 million. The donation to BCRF helped fund local researcher Dr. Annette Khaled at the UCF College of Medicine.
“The AutoNation Cure Bowl has been recognized as an attractive destination for teams,” Cure Bowl Executive Director Alan Gooch said. “We are very excited that UCF and Arkansas State are coming to Orlando, providing our second year bowl with a great matchup. This is a tremendous opportunity to generate significant community awareness for our cause to find a cure for cancer.”
The announcement resonates with Gooch, who is a UCF Hall of Famer after giving 25 years of service to the Knights football program. He played as a defensive back in 1981 before spending 22 years as a member of the coaching staff. It was Gooch’s vision along with a group of Orlando business leaders and philanthropists back in the fall of 2007 that led to the creation of the AutoNation Cure Bowl.
UCF (6-6) is only the eighth team in NCAA history to earn a bowl berth after not registering a win the season before. First-year head coach Scott Frost engineered an impressive turnaround with his fast-paced offense. The backbone of the Knights throughout the season was a stout defense.
“Our kids are excited to be in a bowl game,” Frost said. “We’re especially excited about being able to play in the Cure Bowl, right here in Orlando in front of our hometown fans. Our kids have earned the right to take part in a bowl game and I couldn’t be more proud of them for what they’ve accomplished so far this season.”
The Knights represent the American Athletic Conference in their eighth bowl game in program history. UCF has played half of those postseason games in the Sunshine State, which includes three trips to the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Knights are also making a return to Camping World Stadium (formerly Orlando Citrus Bowl), which the program called home from 1979-2006 before moving on-campus to Bright House Networks Stadium.
“Taking part in the Cure Bowl will be a great experience for our student-athletes,” UCF Director of Athletics Dr. Daniel J. White said. “Congratulations to our football team and our coaching staff for earning the reward of participating in a bowl game. I know our fans will be excited about supporting their Knights right here in Orlando at Camping World Stadium.”
Arkansas State (7-5) earned a share of the Sun Belt Conference title for the fifth time in six years after finishing 7-1 in league play. The Red Wolves dropped their first four games, all non-conference contests, before winning six-straight and seven-of-eight games to become bowl eligible.
“I’m extremely proud of our team and the way they fought through adversity this year, not only to win another Sun Belt Conference title, but also to earn an opportunity to compete in the Cure Bowl and finish our season on a high note against a great opponent from the American Athletic Conference,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “The Cure Bowl offers our players and fans an outstanding experience in Orlando, and while UCF will be a challenging opponent, we are looking forward to the game as we try to complete our season by winning eight of our final nine games.”
This is the 24th bowl appearance for Arkansas State, but only the seventh in the FBS era. The Red Wolves are making the trip to Orlando for the second time in their history. A-State played in the 1954 Tangerine Bowl, which ended in a 7-7 tie against East Texas State.
“The Cure Bowl is in an outstanding location, and we are excited for everyone associated with our program to experience a new bowl game in one of the most visited parts of the United States,” said A-State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir. “I am very familiar with the state of Florida and UCF, so I know this will be both a great destination and opponent for our team and fans. The Cure Bowl presents a strong match-up against a team from the American Athletic Conference.”
The AutoNation Cure Bowl will be the second meeting between UCF and Arkansas State. The Knights defeated the Red Wolves, 31-20, in Jonesboro, Ark., on Oct. 5, 1991, in the only previous meeting between the two programs.
Tickets are currently on sale at CureBowl.com. In addition to the game, ticket holders will have access to the Florida Hospital Cure Village and the AutoNation Tailgate Part and Concert featuring the Eli Young Band.
Carter Blackburn, analyst Aaron Carter and reporter Jenny Dell call the action for the Cure Bowl on CBS Sports Network. To access the CBS Sports Network channel finder, visit CBSSportsNetwork.com.
“This partnership with the AutoNation Cure Bowl doesn’t just raise awareness about breast cancer — it reflects our long-standing commitment to finding a cure,” said Dr. Lori Boardman, medical director at Florida Hospital for Women. “Research is critical for the development of new breast cancer prevention strategies and treatments. Florida Hospital is proud to be a part of this great cause as we stand united in the fight against breast cancer.”
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