The Auburn Tigers’ season did not end as it began.
In the 2020 Outback Bowl, Auburn was outmatched by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Big Ten West’s runner-up defeated the Tigers 31-24 to give them their 11th win of the year and, subsequently, Auburn’s fourth loss.
We had talked in the preview that RZ% and finishing drives was going to be a major factor in this game. And as it turned out, it kind of went like that. While Auburn was a perfect 2-for-2 in red zone tries, the Gophers had more attempts in the red zone (4) and more conversions (3). Auburn was aided by a kickoff return by Noah Igbinoghene in the first quarter, but could not come up with any other answers after that. Funny how things work sometimes.
While the deficit was merely seven, it arguably had almost no right to be. Minnesota outgained and outdid Auburn in nearly every category. Total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, first downs, third down conversions, fourth down conversions, total plays, yards per play, yards per completion, yards per carry... time of possession... okay, you get what I’m saying here. All were in favor of the Gophers. It makes the result all the more wild, so the fact that Auburn was even within a score is probably a bit of a miracle.
Nevertheless, hat tip to Minnesota. The Gophers have won 11 games for the first time in program history. It’s their most wins in the modern era, as the 13 and 14 they hit in 1903 and 1904 are, well. Yeah. So this was an historic season for the likes of Tanner Morgan and Rodney Smith and Rashod Bateman. Salute to them from us here at TSK.
For Auburn, this was simply a season of ups and downs. No more encapsulated in this one. Bo Nix played well, but probably not well enough. The run game was pretty grounded, as Minnesota held the Tigers to only 56 yards rushing on the day. The Tigers will have eto go back to the drawing board for the 2020 season, and with a couple new faces coming, i twill be interesting to see where Auburn goes from here.