The Auburn Tigers (9-3) have a chance to complete a double-digit 2019 season as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2) in the Outback Bowl.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Dominate on the D line
The Golden Gophers were a weird team this year. The beat up on plenty of bad teams, hung on against Penn State, then got torched by Wisconsin. The offense – and the offensive line in particular – is decent without being anything special, especially against defensive fronts that can get into the backfield and make plays. Auburn have most of the stars available here, with Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown ready to make a statement in their last college game. If Minnesota can’t move the ball then they don’t win the game.
Get to Tanner Morgan
Morgan is the reason that the Gophers offense works. He passed for more than 1o yards per thrown, hooking up with his weapons for 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He is going to bomb away all game long against the Auburn defensive backs, especially if he is able to have any time in the pocket. WRs Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman have 11 touchdowns each out wide, so doubling one of the stars isn’t exactly a good move. Getting to the QB has to be the key here.
Don’t make mistakes
The Gophers beat teams because they don’t mistakes. They have just 51 penalties against them all year long and are flagged 4.25 times per game. Auburn – by contrast – have been flagged at a rate of 7,4 times per game. If Auburn executes properly and doesn’t beat itself then they have more individual talent than Minnesota and they will win. If Bo Nix comes out and throws picks – he hasn’t in the last four games – and the team loses discipline, then they will keep the Gophers in a game that they can win.