UCF Prepares To Take On NC State In Bitcoin Bowl
By Space Coast Daily // December 25, 2014
UCF knights hand out its team awards
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – The UCF Knights will take on North Carolina State in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl which will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Friday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.
The St. Petersburg Bowl is an NCAA-sanctioned post-season college football bowl game that has been played annually at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, since 2008. It was first known as themagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, after corporate sponsor magicJack.
When Beef O’Brady’s became the sponsor in 2009, the official name was changed to the St. Petersburg Bowl Presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and in 2010, the game became known as the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
The restaurant stopped sponsoring the bowl in 2014. On June 18, 2014, it was announced that Bitcoin payment service providerBitPay would become the new sponsor of the game under a two-year deal, renamed the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl.
Bitcoin, the digital currency, will be accepted for ticket and concession sales at the game as part of the sponsorship, and the sponsorship itself was also paid for using Bitcoin.
The bowl game features teams from the American Athletic Conference against either the Atlantic Coast Conference or Conference USA, unless one of the conferences does not have enough bowl eligibleteams, in which case the Mid-American or Sun Belt Conference are eligible to send a team.
The Knights held their annual team banquet at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg as part of the bowl game festivities.
Outstanding Offensive Wide Receiver – Breshad Perriman
Perriman was voted on to the All-AAC First Team this year with career-highs of 41 receptions, 906 yards and nine touchdowns. The junior has a reception in 30 straight games, which is the fifth-longest streak in UCF history, and he is the first Knight to have a touchdown catch in seven consecutive games since 1992. That included his Hail Mary reception at East Carolina.
Outstanding Offensive Back – William Stanback
The AAC’s First Team running back for 2014, Stanback collected career-highs with 177 carries for 659 yards and 10 touchdowns. He posted his first three 100-yard rushing games as a Knight when he did so against Bethune-Cookman, UConn and East Carolina. A sophomore, Stanback also has 11 receptions with two scores.
Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Torrian Wilson
Wilson is the only Knight to start all 12 games on the offensive line this year. He has started 20 straight games, and 41 overall in his UCF career. In 2014, he was voted on to the All-AAC Second Team by the league’s head coaches.
Most Improved Offensive Player – Jason Rae
Playing in seven games for the Knights’ defensive line in 2013, Rae switched over to the offensive line for 2014. He did not see action in UCF’s first three games of the year, but worked his way up to his first start in the Houston game. Since then the sophomore has started six games at center for the Black and Gold.
Most Dependable Offensive Player – Justin Tukes
After a freshman season where he earned time in five games, Tukes took off in 2012. The senior has started at least 10 games in his last three campaigns as a Knight, totaling 43 games played and 32 starts as UCF’s tight end. He has contributed four receptions in 2014, including a career-long 30-yard catch against Tulsa. In Black and Gold, Tukes has 29 career rectpions with 286 yards and three touchdowns.
Outstanding Offensive Player – Justin Holman
With a touchdown pass in all 12 games this year, Holman has 20 touchdowns in the air which are the fourth most ever by a UCF underclassman. A sophomore from Georgia, he ended the year with a combined 64.0 completion percentage in his last four games. Overall, Holman has thrown for 2,661 yards and rushed for three touchdowns. He was the league’s offensive player of the week for his performance vs. BYU.
Outstanding Defensive Back – Clayton Geathers
A senior captain, Geathers was named to the All-AAC First Team this year, posting 83 tackles with six tackles for loss, nine break-ups and one interception. He ranks third all-time at UCF with 369 career tackles and eighth with 30 break-ups. Geathers has started 51 straight games, and playing in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will tie him for the school record with 53 games played in a UCF career.
Outstanding Linebacker – Terrance Plummer
Plummer earns his third straight outstanding linebacker award at UCF. The senior captain also was named to the All-AAC First Team for the second consecutive season. He has 327 career tackles as a Knight, which rank as the eighth-most in UCF history. Plummer was a candidate for the nation’s Senior CLASS Award in 2014, and this year he was the Walter Camp and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after the win over BYU.
Outstanding Defensive Lineman – Thomas Niles
A two-time winner of UCF’s outstanding defensive lineman award, Niles nabbed a spot on this year’s All-AAC Second Team. The junior has career-highs with 44 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. He opened the year with a sack in five straight games. Dating back to last year, Niles became the first player in school history to have a sack in six consecutive contests.
Most Improved Defensive Player – Jaryl Mamea
A senior from American Samoa, Mamea started just three games a year ago before busting out in 2014. Thanks to 32 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, the league’s head coaches voted him on to the All-AAC Second Team. His best performance was a three-sack night at Houston. Mamea finished the year with a sack at USF and at East Carolina.
Most Dependable Defensive Player – Brandon Alexander
A member of the 2014 All-AAC Second Team, Alexander was a two-time candidate for the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes out to the nation’s best player who started his career as a walk-on. The senior has started 37 straight games, and 42 overall in a Black and Gold uniform. Alexander has produced at least five break-ups all four seasons. In the record book, he ranks second all-time at UCF with seven fumble recoveries, and ninth with 28 break-ups.
Outstanding Defensive Player – Jacoby Glenn
UCF’s first Associated Press All-American since Kevin Smith in 2007, Glenn was voted as the 2014 AAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He also was on the All-AAC First Team in his first two full seasons as a Knight. Glenn has seven interceptions this year, which is one shy of the school’s single-season record. He ranks third in the nation in picks and passes defended (18).
Outstanding Special Teams Player – Michael Easton
Easton leads the entire roster in special teams tackles this year with 12, including eight on kickoffs and four on punts. He got the chance to return his first kickoff against SMU, and promptly ran it back 96 yards for a touchdown. It was the 19th kickoff return touchdown in school history, and the ninth-longest return by a Knight. He received the league’s special teams player of the week award for that performance.
Iron Man Award (best overall lifter in the weight room) – Joseph Puopolo
One of the hardest working student-athletes in the program, Puopolo has a 495 bench press, recorded 32 reps at 225 pounds and did 615 pounds on the squat. The junior’s efforts helped him eventually earn playing time as UCF’s fullback and H-back. Overall, he has seen time in 22 games in the last two seasons.
Kodak Award (scout team player of the year) – Tre’Quan Smith
Out of Delray Beach, the true freshman’s work on the scout team helped UCF’s defense get better each week with the Knights ranking third in the FBS in total defense and ninth in interceptions. He was selected as UCF’s scout of the week for the Bethune-Cookman game, and his work on the practice field earned him spots on the travel roster throughout the year.
The “UCF Way” Award – Rannell Hall, Troy Gray
Hall has played in 48 career games as a Knight, posting at least 35 receptions in each of the last three seasons. He has 138 catches at UCF with 1,973 yards and nine touchdowns. Hall has contributed 40 rushes for 262 yards and two touchdowns as well. The senior ranks third all-time with 2,083 kickoff returns yards. Hall is just 27 receiving yards shy of becoming just the second player in UCF history with at least 2,000 receiving yards and 1,000 kick return yards.
Gray has appeared in 51 games in a Black and Gold jersey, including at least 12 games in all four seasons. He has set a career-high with 8.0 tackles for loss this year as well as six break-ups. Gray also has at least two tackles in all 12 games, and at least four tackles in nine outings in 2014.
Academic Excellence Award – Sean Beckton
A senior from Orlando, Beckton picks up his second straight academic excellence award. He was selected as a semifinalist for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Beckton already has a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise science. He is currently working toward a second degree in interdisciplinary studies.
Most Valuable Player – Terrance Plummer
The Knights will now tuck themselves in and look forward to Christmas Day, where they will have a picnic in the park outside their hotel before going to Tropicana Field for a walk-thru. Gameday against NC State is Friday.
2014 Football Bowl Tickets: Fans can purchase Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl tickets through the game’s official website, StPetersburgBowl.com.