In this SEC-Big Ten matchup, the bid by Northwestern (8-4) to win a bowl game for the first time in six decades is an intriguing story line. The Wildcats are 1-6 all time in the postseason, winning the 1949 Rose Bowl. This Northwestern group believes it can break that slump, but Auburn (7-5), whichhas as much speed and athleticism as the Wildcats have seen, enters having last played unbeaten Alabama toe-to-toe before losing late. Historically, Auburn has been one of college football's best bowl teams, going 19-13-2.
What to watch for ...
Northwestern's pass-happy offense, which averages 25.2 points per game, is led by QB Mike Kafka, who ranks second in the Big Ten in total offense (263.6 yards). His top targets, Andrew Brewer and Zeke Markshausen, have combined for nearly 1,600 receiving yards. Although the Wildcats have no player with more than 300 rushing yards, Northwestern often turns to the ground game — and Arby Fields (five TDs) — in the red zone. Auburn DE Antonio Coleman (23.5 career sacks) is among the nation's elite linemen.
Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer
Auburn vs. Northwestern