Gus Malzahn and UCF are fresh off a 29-17 victory over the Florida Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl and finished their first season together at 9-4. After his departure from Auburn, it was unsure if this match would work, but early indications say that Malzahn’s still got it.
After the game on Thursday Night, Malzahn talked about how rewarding the win was and briefly peeked forward at the future of UCF football.
“Yeah, it’s been so rewarding,” Malzahn said to sideline reporter Taylor Davis. “I think we showed up with 27 guys that started in fall camp that aren’t with us today. Our guys fought. You know, we kind of held it together. We beat a really talented team. That team seven or eight weeks ago played Alabama, had a chance to win. They were in the top 10. So we’re going in the right direction and it’s a great win for us.”
After wideout Ryan O’Keefe recorded four carries for 110 yards and seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown, Malzahn credited him for helping the Knights pull away.
“We laid on them,” he said. “We put the game away man. I’m so proud of our guys to be able to do that. [Ryan] O’Keefe is one of the best playmakers in all of college football, he showed that. Made play after play. It was a big win.”
“Yeah, this is just the beginning,” Malzahn said. “ I really believe it. We got big dreams. We got big goals. We can win the whole thing here and I think tonight was just the first step. Recruiting is going to go really [well] man.”
UCF is one of four teams that will head to the Big 12 within the next few years and looks like a contender right away. Add in Cincinnati, who will play in the College Football Playoff next week, and you have a few teams that will fight to be the new top dog in the conference after Oklahoma leaves with Texas to the SEC.