Sept. 6, 2010
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By Joe Hornstein
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Purchase your tickets TODAY to the big UCF vs. NC State football game this Saturday night, Sept. 11 at Bright House Networks Stadium and get a chance to meet American Idol finalist Michael Lynche during his pre-game autograph session prior to singing the national anthem.
Tickets to the game can easily be purchased online at UCFAthletics.com, by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at 407-823-1000, or in-person at the box office window on the west side of Bright House Networks Stadium.
"It's really exciting," Lynche said of returning to campus. "I haven't been back to UCF since I was in school. I'm looking forward to seeing the campus and the new stadium although I'll miss seeing the old Citrus Bowl where I played. It's going to be great. Things have come full circle. The football program has changed and evolved over the years. I was proud to be a part of that building process under Mike Kruczek and I look forward to seeing what UCF has become."
Also known as "Big Mike" to the massive national audience watching him weekly this past season on the hit FOX television series, the former UCF football player made it all the way to show's top four.
Lynche played defensive tackle for the Knights from 2001-02. He made an immediate impact as a freshman out of St. Petersburg's Gibbs High School, registering 24 tackles in that first season. His 24 tackles included 17 solor stops, with eight tackles for loss and a sack. As a sophomore in 2002, Lynche played in all 12 games and started each of the last three. He had at least one tackle in 11 of those contests and finished the year with 46 tackles in all, including a pair of sacks and six TFLs. He left the team just before the start of the 2003 season, returned to his native St. Petersburg and helped care for his ailing mother, Michele, who would succumb to cancer in 2004.
"My UCF football background helped on the show," Lynche said. "It's where my whole approach to the show came from. It helped me with game planning and preparation for each week's performance. I got that from football. The competition at UCF helped with the competition on the show."
Lynche previously shared some recollections of his time at UCF during his post American Idol national teleconference.
"My memory of UCF is all of the construction - it always looks different every time you get there," he said, a notion that still holds true today on the burgeoning East Orlando campus. "My wife and I moved away to college four days after we graduated high school. We moved into Lake Claire Apartments. That's a memory I always feel, how that dorm room looked when I first walked in never having lived on my own. Now here I am and I had nothing to really decorate my room with. I got as many posters from the football office as I could and I wall papered my wall with football posters. That's kind of a memory and a vision that I see when I think of UCF.
"Everybody should go to college. It's the best time to get out and start living on your own and finding out whom you are outside of your family in this world. It really matured me in that time from being in high school and focused me more. I was very focused in college. I was never really into partying and I had my wife there. We were really homebodies. It did make me realize how much I missed home and my family. I didn't realize how much I would miss them until I was away."