Auburn (9-3, 5-3 SEC) and Minnesota (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) play in Tampa for the 34th annual Outback Bowl. Raymond James Stadium hosts the 2020 showdown.
This is the first meeting between the two programs.
Auburn is in its 44th bowl game in school history. It defeated Purdue, 63-14, in last season's Music City Bowl. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham led the Tigers to a new SEC record for points scored in a bowl game. Freshman Bo Nix leads Auburn this season.
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Minnesota is 8-12 in bowl games and collected three of those victories within the last four years.
Auburn vs. Minnesota: 2020 Outback Bowl time, TV channel
Where: Raymond James Stadium | Tampa, FL
How to watch: ESPN | Stream on Watch ESPN
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Auburn vs. Minnesota: Outback Bowl preview, prediction
Auburn ended the regular season upsetting Alabama 48-45 in the Iron Bowl to all but deny the Crimson Tide the chance of reaching the College Football Playoff. The high the Tigers are carrying isn't just because of the victory. Quarterback Bo Nix is a strong reason, too. He ended the regular season with 2,366 yards passing and 21 total touchdowns.
Son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, Bo completed 50 percent of his passes against then-No. 5 Alabama and threw for 173 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a score.
Nix rushed for seven rushing touchdowns — second-most on the team. He is fourth on the team in rushing yards (301).
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Minnesota exited November on a less positive note, losing 38-17 to Wisconsin in what was essentially the Big Ten West title game. The Gophers began the season 9-0. Their only losses came to conference opponents Iowa and Wisconsin.
Tanner Morgan has 13 more passing touchdowns than Nix, with 28 scores and just six interceptions. Rashod Bateman and running back Rodney Smith surpassed the 1,000-yard threshold and collectively accumulated 19 touchdowns.
|9-3 (5-3 SEC)||Record (Conference)||10-2 (7-2 Big Ten)|
|34.0||Points per game||34.33|
|18.6||Points allowed per game||22.42|
|421.1||Yards per game||426.8|
|323.9||Yards allowed per game||312.8|
|2,501||Passing yards allowed||2,219|
|1,386||Rushing yards allowed||1,535|
2,366 (15 TDs, 6 INTs)
|Passing yards leader||Tanner Morgan
2,975 (28 TDs, 6 INTs)
739, 9 TDs
|Rushing yards leader||Rodney Smith
1,094, 8 TDs
801, 8 TDs
|Receiving yards leader||Rashod Bateman
1,170, 11 TDs
79 total tackles, 4.5 tfl, 2.0 sacks
|Defensive leader||Antoine Winfield Jr.
83 total tackles, 3.5 tfl, 3.0 sacks
Alabama could not hold down Auburn's JaTarvious Whitlow as he rushed for 114 yards. He averaged five yards per carry in the regular season.
If Minnesota wants to keep the game close, the priority needs to be on stopping the run, especially Nix. His deception is a key fixture to the Auburn offense.
The Tigers' defensive line is strong, though lineman Nick Coe has opted to skip the bowl game and enter the NFL Draft. Tackle Derrick Brown was picked to the All-SEC first team and is a consensus All-American. Defensive end Marlon Davidson accounted for 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. The defense forced 22 turnovers.
Minnesota's losses to Iowa and Wisconsin are concerning, especially the Wisconsin game. The Badgers forced Morgan into tough throws, ultimately producing two turnovers that became 10 points.
The Gophers' best chance in this game if they are clicking on offense and if the Tigers' secondary starts slow.
The prediction: Auburn 27, Minnesota 17.