No. 15 Northwestern (6-2, Big Ten) vs. Auburn (6-4, Southeastern Conference), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. EST
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida
Northwestern: Freshman running back Cam Porter has provided some punch in the ground game for the Wildcats late in the schedule. Porter ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois on Dec. 12, then ran for 61 yards and another score Saturday’s loss to No. 3 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
Auburn: Freshman running back Tank Bigsby closed the schedule by running 26 times for 192 yards in the Mississippi State win on Dec. 12, while he also had 100-yard rushing days against Arkansas, South Carolina and Mississippi.
Northwestern: The Wildcats won six times against a Big Ten-only schedule, with a Dec. 5 game at Minnesota canceled, under Pat Fitzgerald. In addition to the Ohio State loss, Northwestern lost at Michigan State on Nov. 28.
Auburn: The Tigers won six times in an SEC-only schedule, including four of their last six. The two losses came against top-ranked rival Alabama and No. 5 Texas A&M. And on Dec. 13, the Tigers fired Gus Malzahn as coach after eight seasons while designating defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as the interim coach.
The teams have met only once before, with the Tigers taking a 38-35 win in the Outback Bowl in January 2010.
Northwestern: This marks the Wildcats’ second appearance in the Citrus Bowl, with the other coming in January 1997 against a Peyton Manning-led Tennessee team. That also marked the last college game for Fitzgerald with Northwestern, which is 5-10 in bowl games.
Auburn: This will be Auburn’s 45th bowl game, with the Tigers appearing in a bowl for the 19th time in 21 seasons. The Tigers have 24 bowl wins, most recently in the Music City Bowl to close the 2018 season.
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