Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Auburn Tigers' Chris Todd closing career at Outback Bowl on a strong note

A big game against Alabama helps Chris Todd rank third in SEC passer rating (146.5).

Associated Press

A big game against Alabama helps Chris Todd rank third in SEC passer rating (146.5).

TAMPA — Auburn QB Chris Todd, somewhat maligned last year during a 5-7 season, has closed his career in style.

When Todd, a senior from Elizabethtown, Ky., threw two touchdowns in a 26-21 loss to Alabama in the regular-season finale, he set Auburn's season mark for touchdown passes with 21. And he has 2,377 passing yards and a passer rating (146.5) that ranks as the third best in the SEC and 20th overall in college football.

That's not too bad for a guy who battled shoulder problems as a junior while finishing with 903 passing yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions.

Making his 2009 success more impressive is the fact Todd had offseason surgery, missed spring practice and didn't begin working with first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn until the start of fall workouts.

"I'm really proud of him," coach Gene Chizik said. "He's overcome a lot of adversity. He's a leader. He's got everybody's respect in the locker room."

Sunshine presence: Three Floridians are on the Northwestern roster — DB Hunter Bates (Ponte Vedra Beach Nease), DT Marshall Thomas (Miami Belen Jesuit) and TE John Plasencia of Jesuit.

Bates, a redshirt freshman who has played plenty on special teams, has two interesting ties.

The first: His father, Bill, spent 15 seasons as a safety with the Dallas Cowboys. Before that, he was a star at Tennessee.

The second: Bates played two years (2004-05) at Nease with QB Tim Tebow, who would later win the Heisman Trophy at Florida.

"My father is excited (about attending the Outback Bowl)," Bates said Monday.

Bates expects to have 15 to 20 family/friends at the game.

A lengthy drought: Landing in the Outback Bowl was a big deal for Northwestern, but just getting to the game probably isn't enough.

The Wildcats are only 1-6 in bowls.

Their last win?

That came at the 1949 Rose Bowl, when Northwestern defeated Cal 20-14. Last season, Missouri beat the Wildcats 30-23 in overtime in the Alamo Bowl.

Of the six bowl losses, all of which have come since the 1996 Rose Bowl, Northwestern led in five of them.

NU's special fan: Tammy Walker, widow of former Wildcats coach Randy Walker, will attend the game, which isn't a surprise. She's at most Northwestern games.

Walker's husband died in 2006 of an apparent heart attack at age 52, leaving behind Tammy and two grown children.

Walker is heavily involved in Northwestern athletics; she works in the athletic department as a development associate.

Odds and ends: Northwestern is stout on the field and solid in the classroom. The team had an overall GPA above 3.0 in the 2009 spring quarter for the first time. … Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is expected at the game. He attended law school at Northwestern.

Fast facts

Outback Bowl

Auburn vs. Northwestern, 11 a.m. Friday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa


Line: Auburn by 7

Tickets: Ticketmaster outlets, or call toll-free 1-800-745-3000. Prices start at $70.

Today's events

• Debartolo Team Luncheon at Tampa Convention Center, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Team Night at Gameworks at Centro Ybor, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Auburn Tigers' Chris Todd closing career at Outback Bowl on a strong note 12/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 8:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.