TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Ninth-ranked Auburn will face No. 16 Minnesota on January 1st in the Outback Bowl.
“We are very excited to extend an invitation to Auburn University and the University of Minnesota to play in this year’s Outback Bowl,” said Outback Bowl Chairman Tim Love. “These are two quality ten-win teams that should produce a great match-up fans are really going to enjoy watching on New Year’s Day. We look forward to hosting the teams and their fans, and ensure them they will have an amazing experience enjoying fun in the sun in the Tampa Bay area.”
It will be the first trip to Tampa for the Gophers, who shocked the nation by starting 9-0 before stumbles against Iowa and Wisconsin cost them the Big Ten West.
“We are extremely honored to be selected to play in the prestigious Outback Bowl against a tremendous opponent in Auburn,” said head coach P.J. Fleck. “This has been a historic and elite season at Minnesota, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate it in beautiful Tampa, Fla., with a New Year’s Day bowl game. I know our players, staff and fans are excited for this opportunity and to get to Florida. I want to thank Chairman of the Board Tim Love, President/CEO of the Outback Bowl Jim McVay, Team Selection Chair Troy Atlas and the entire Outback Bowl staff for the invitation.”
The Tigers finished 9-3 in the regular season, one capped by a wild 48-45 win over rival Alabama.
“We are excited about returning to the Outback Bowl for the first time in five years to face a very good Minnesota team out of the Big Ten Conference” said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. “I’ve been fortunate to make two previous trips to the Outback Bowl. Jim McVay and everyone associated with the bowl make it a first-class experience for our players and fans. We have the best fans in college football and I look forward to them joining us on New Year’s Day as we try to win our tenth game of the season and send our seniors out on a high note.”
The Outback Bowl will also be the first meeting between Auburn and Minnesota. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster online.
No. 9 Auburn (9-3, SEC) vs. No. 16 Minnesota (10-2, Big Ten), Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
Auburn: QB Bo Nix, 2,366 yards passing, 15 TDs.
Minnesota: WR Rashod Bateman, 1,170 yards receiving, 11 TDs.
Auburn: The Tigers knocked rival Alabama out of the playoff with a 48-45 win in the Iron Bowl. Auburn’s only losses came to ranked opponents; Florida, Georgia and LSU.
Minnesota: The Gophers started 9-0 before losing to Iowa on the road, and Wisconsin throttled them 38-10 to steal the Big Ten West title on the last day of the regular season.
Auburn: This will be the Tigers’ 44th bowl trip. They had dropped three straight before pummeling Purdue 63-14 in last year’s Music City Bowl.
Minnesota: The Gophers are 8-12 in bowl games. But they’ve won three of them since 2015.