Sept. 15, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Hannah Sedigh
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) -- An intense game of cornhole. The smells of barbecue in the air. Knights fans overtaking Memory Mall.
It is officially football season at UCF, and students and alumni alike were excited for the Knights' home opener against the FIU Panthers on Saturday.
"We are looking forward to seeing the Knights win and score touchdowns," said a young UCF fan prior to kickoff.
UCF declared the weekend "Family Weekend," and extra promotions were in place to make the family experience enjoyable for fans of all ages. Bounces houses were just one part of the family zone located right outside Bright House Network Stadium in IOA Plaza.
Young children were even treated to an opportunity to interact with various student-athletes, including the men's soccer team and cheerleaders.
Families were able to spend Saturday together with the promise of a great day of UCF football. UCF alumna Cheryl Smith, who brought her 95-year-old father to Saturday's game, couldn't imagine a better way to spend her weekend.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for me to get my dad to come out and go to a great, great football game," she said. "It's the first home game and it's a big deal, and it gets the community together and having family day is fun for everybody."
While Smith was able to enjoy time with her father, many other fans were on campus for their very first game-day experience.
The smallest of Knights -- some as young as 8 months old -- were brought in tow with their parents, who took full advantage of the Family Weekend festivities.
Not even a brief rain storm early in the day stopped tailgaters and other loyal fans from spending their Saturday afternoon at UCF preparing for the game.
Decked out in black and gold, they were especially fired up for Saturday's game against UCF's new in-state rival. The matchup marked just the second meeting of these two programs, and some fans traveled 300 miles to Orlando to support the Knights.
"We drove up from South Florida to make it to this game," said one group of tailgaters. "We hope to make it as many games as possible. We don't want to regret not coming."
Lines piled up outside the stadium, and fans continued to file into the bleachers as the first quarter rolled on. If the crowd's energy and excitement is a sign of anything, it seems that UCF is in for an exciting season.