The Auburn Tigers had a whale of a 2019. The Tigers tarted things off with a miracle win over the Oregon Ducks, but things were topsy-turvy after that. They picked up losses to the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers along the way, but finished strong with a W over the arch rival Alabama Crimson Tide.
Now, as 2020 has arrived, the Tigers look to simultaneously finish the season in style and start the new year off right. Auburn will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2020 edition of the Outback Bowl down in Tampa.
Minnesota had an incredible season in their own right. The Gophers started off the year undefeated and capped things off with a monumental home win over the Penn State Nittany Lions. The following week, they were sent from the ranks of the unbeaten by the Iowa Hawkeyes down in Iowa City. And they did lose their annual rivalry game to the hated Wisconsin Badgers, which meant that the chance to go to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game went up in smoke. But like Auburn, an opportunity sits in front of Minnesota for the Gophers to take. They can conclude a terrific season with a bowl win that would certainly keep the state’s spirits up high.
This game features two of the best teams in the nation in finishing drives. Auburn’s offense ranks 16th in the Finishing Drives category while Minnesota ranks 9th. Their defenses are sharp at preventing them as well, as Auburn’s sits at 7th while Minnesota stands at 34th. In addition to all that, Minnesota ranks 19th in the nation in Red Zone Scoring% with a mark of 90.57 percent, while Auburn checks in at 30th at 88.37 percent. So needless to say, it will not be how these teams start but rather how they finish. Keep your eye on how things work in this department. It’ll likely be the key to the game.
Auburn will also have to hope that they get the best out of their offense. It’s been skittish in a way, though rushing is definitely their bread and butter. Minnesota has been fine at stopping the run, while the Tigers have been very good at creating. But they aren’t quite known for big plays. They will, however, be facing a Minnesota team that’s just fine at limiting them, so perhaps they can rattle off some big chunk plays here. In other words, hopefully good Bo Nix shows up for Auburn, and not bad Bo Nix.
What will be intriguing is to see how things go the other way. Minnesota is a Top 10 team in Passing Success Rate and Passing Explosiveness this year. They rank 8th and 10th in the aforementioned categories, as Tanner Morgan has been terrific in making plays this year with his arm. Auburn hasn’t been susceptible to big plays and has one of the best pass defenses in the nation. Here, we have another department where the game will be won depending on who gets what breaks.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Auburn -7
Moneyline: Minnesota +210 | Auburn -265