Minnesota, Auburn meet for 1st time in Outback Bowl
Outback Bowl: No. 16 Minnesota (10-2, 7-2 Big 10) vs. No. 9 Auburn (9-3, 5-3 SEC), Wednesday, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN).
Line: Auburn by 7.
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The last time Minnesota finished the season in the AP Top 25 was 2003, when it beat Oregon in the Sun Bowl and wound up No. 20 in the final poll . The Golden Gophers are 8-8-1 all-time against Southeastern Conference teams and are looking for their first win over a SEC opponent since beating Alabama 20-16 in the 2004 Music City Bowl. Auburn played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation and is trying to get its fourth win over a ranked team this season.
Minnesota’s high-powered offense, led by sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan, against SEC defensive player of the year Derrick Brown and the stingy Tigers defense. Morgan set single-season school records for passing yards (2,975) and touchdowns (28). Auburn has 90 tackles for loss, including 12 1/2 by Brown.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: Tyler Johnson has consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards. He needs 19 yards to break the school career yards record held by Eric Decker (3,119).
Auburn: Freshman quarterback Bo Nix threw for 2,366 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also rushing for 301 yards and seven TDs.
FACTS & FIGURES
Auburn is the only team to have played five of the top 13 teams in the final CFP rankings. ... Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck is familiar with Raymond James Stadium. He was the wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. ... It’s coach Gus Malzahn’s 93rd game at Auburn, 42nd against a ranked opponent (19-22). ... This is the first time Minnesota has been ranked and faced a ranked opponent in a bowl game since the Gophers played Washington in the 1961 Rose Bowl.
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