The Franklin Mortgage Music City Bowl is one of three contests slated for Friday, Dec. 28. The game offers the Purdue Boilermakers against the Auburn Tigers. Kickoff is listed for 1:30 pm ET at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN. Although we’re headed into that phase of bowl play that features primarily nationally-ranked team, neither Auburn nor Purdue are ranked. Our 2018 Music City Bowl pick has the Auburn Tigers at -3.0. The over/under on this game is listed at 55.5.
The Auburn Tigers started promisingly, as they beat #6 Washington 21-16 in the first game of the season. They won their next three-of-four. But them faltered, going 3-3 over their final six games. They did beat #20 Texas A&M 28-24. However, they also lost big contests, as #5 Georgia beat them 27-10 and #1 Alabama humiliated the Tigers 52-21. It was a rollercoaster of a season.
The Purdue Boilermakers were a bit of an enigma this season. They lost their first three games to Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, and Missouri. They won their first game when they beat #23 Boston College 30-13. Three more wins followed, including a 49-20 upset of #2 Ohio State. A 23-13 loss to unranked Michigan State was followed by a 38-36 victory over #16 Iowa. Purdue went 1-2 over their final three games, which included a 47-44 OT loss to Wisconsin and a 28-21 win over Indiana.
Auburn – Analysis
The Tigers are averaging 283 YPG on offense. Their rush attack has been totaling up to 164.1 YPG, while they’ve been passing for 209.5 YPG. Junior QB Jarrett Studham (60.1 COMP%, 13 TDs, 5 INTs) has passed for 2,421 yards this season. WR Ryan Davis has the most catches on the team (64) but has not caught a TD pass. Freshman wideout Seth Williams has taken in five scoring tosses while making a total of 24 receptions. The Tigers will utilize three or four runners per game with JaTarvious Whitlow often getting the bulk of the carries. Whitlow has 143 rushing attempts for 777 yards and four TDs. He’s averaging 5.4 YPA.
The D is allowing on average merely 19.6 PPG. The Tigers are giving up 222.4 YPG in the air and 140.7 YPG on the ground. The Auburn secondary has 51 PD and 12 picks. They’ve recovered a half-dozen forced fumbles. Their 34 sacks and 88 TFL are most impressive and could spell trouble for the Boilermakers. However, star defensive player Nic Coe will not play due to a surgical procedure. Still the Auburn defense is deep.
Purdue – Analysis
The Boilermakers are putting up 31.9 PPG. They are a passing team that has been averaging 317.8 YPG in the air. Their rush attack has been garnering 141.2 YPG. The Boilermakers like to mix it up on offense. Senior QB David Blough has thrown for over 3,500 yards, completing 66.6% of his passes for 25 TDs. He’s thrown eight picks. Of the slew of receivers on this team, freshman Rondale Moore has by far been utilized the most. Moore has 103 receptions for 1,164 yards and a dozen TDs. He’s averaging 11.3 YPC. Look for senior RB D.J. Knox (150 ATT, 868 YDs, 5.8 YPA, 8 TDs) to get a lot of carries in this game. Markell Jones (98 ATT, 502 YDs, 5.1 YPA< 5 TDs), also a senior, should also see the ball quite a bit.
The Purdue defense is giving up 441.6 YPG, including 276.9 in passing and 164.6 in rushing. Teams are scoring on average 27.3 PPG against the Boilermakers. Purdue has defended 42 passes and grabbed 11 interceptions. That’s not bad. But their 26 sacks and 54 TFL are a bit light. As is their three FF and one recovery. Purdue will look to senior LB Markus Bailey (104 TKLs, 8.0 TFL, 6.5 SCKs) and sophomore LB Cornel Jones (67 TKLs, 12.5 TFL, 3.5 SCKs) to set the tone and lead.
Five Keys to the Game
- Purdue offense is especially dynamic
- Auburn offense needs to grind it out
- Boilermaker D can give up the big play
- Tigers D could win this game
- Auburn gets plenty of time to pass and room to run
Our 2018 Music City Bowl Pick
Our 2018 Music City Bowl pick does like the Tigers in this one. We do think their defense will come up big. We’re taking Auburn at -3.0. As far as the over/under goes, we like the over at 55.5. We do expect point to be scored. To find out what’s happening with Friday’s other two bowls, click on the appropriate links that follow – Camping World Bowl and Valero Alamo Bowl. Check out the 2018 bowl schedule right here.