Daunte Culpepper is coming back to Orlando for a matchup between the Sacramento Mountain Lions and the Florida Tuskers tomorrow night. The former UCF star is going to be in a familiar place playing at the Citrus Bowl, a place where he starred from 1995 to ’98, passing for a total of 84 touchdowns compared to only 42 interceptions. Culpepper essentially rewrote the record books at Central Florida, even breaking the college football record for single season completion percentage (73.6%), which was held until Colt McCoy broke it in 2008 (77.6%). Even in the media skybox at the Citrus Bowl, there is an action shot of Culpepper in the middle of a 3-step drop dawning the UCF jersey and helmet of the ‘90s. Central Florida sure does love their Daunte.
But tomorrow night, the Central Florida area will be doing something it is not used to, cheering against their beloved quarterback of the 90s. The Florida Tuskers (2-2) come into the game at a crossroads in the middle of their season, trying to find same type of stability they had last year that won them all of their regular season games. The Mountain Lions (1-3) are clinging to life, coming off a game where Culpepper committed five turnovers in a 26-3 loss against the resurgent Las Vegas Locomotives. If Florida wins, they will be above .500, in the thick of the playoff hunt, and poised to make a run for “The Championship”. If they lose, they will fall to 2-3 and worse be tied with the Mountain Lions, with Sacramento holding the tiebreaker advantage due to Florida already losing the first matchup between the two just a couple of weeks ago.
A big thing besides the game that is still very important to the team’s success is the attendance numbers. How much will Culpepper’s return impact the ticket sales of tomorrow night’s game? After a dismal outing (tickets distributed was around 9,000 the first home game), how many people will the former UCF star attract? Tomorrow night will give us a good glimpse of how the Tuskers organization is gaining or failing to gain the attention of the central Florida market.
Kickoff is set at 7:30 at the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando.