Purdue vs Auburn
When: 1:30 PM ET, Friday, December 28, 2018
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
FRANKLIN AMERICAN MORTGAGE MUSIC CITY BOWL STORYLINES
NASHVILLE – Purdue’s future appears secure after coach Jeff Brohm rebuffed his alma mater, and the Boilermakers hope to build off that positive energy when they meet Auburn in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on Dec. 28 in Nashville, Tenn. The former Louisville quarterback is on the verge of leading his current program to consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2006-07. Brohm received a raise after turning down the Cardinals and will reportedly make over $5 million per year.
One of Brohm’s motivations to remain with the Boilermakers could have been the opportunity to continue coaching all-purpose threat Rondale Moore. The dynamic 5-9, 175-pound freshman wasted little time making an impact, setting a school record for all-purpose yards in his first college game en route to finishing the regular season with 2,048 and winning the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player nationally. Moore enters bowl season with an FBS-best 103 receptions and a Big Ten-high 1,164 receiving yards.
Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham will play his final college game after declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft in early December. The Baylor transfer broke out as a sophomore in 2017 (66.5 completion percentage, 3,158 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions) but struggled to maintain that level in 2018 (60.1 percent, 2,421 yards, 13 TDs and five interceptions). “Jarrett has been a terrific player for us the last two years, leading us to an SEC West title and becoming one of the most prolific passers in Auburn history,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.
TV: 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Auburn -3.5.
ABOUT PURDUE (6-6, 5-4 Big Ten): While Moore was the only Boilermaker to be named to the All-Big Ten first team, senior David Blough (school-record 66.6 completion percentage, 3,521 passing yards, 25 TDs, eight interceptions) effectively guided the conference’s second-ranked offense (459 yards per game). Fellow third-team selection Brycen Hopkins finished second among Big Ten tight ends with 564 receiving yards and fourth with 32 receptions, while senior receiver Isaac Zico proved to be an effective complement to Moore with 43 catches for 712 yards and six TDs (all of which came in the final seven contests). Second-team all-conference linebacker Markus Bailey leads Purdue with 5.5 sacks and is the first Boilermaker with 100-plus tackles (104) since Landon Feichter tallied 105 in 2014.
ABOUT AUBURN (7-5, 3-5 SEC): Even as the Tigers find themselves dealing with the possibility of matching their worst season in six years under Malzahn, there is reason for hope as running back JaTarvious Whitlow and wide receiver Seth Williams were both named to the All-SEC freshman team. Whitlow ran, caught and threw for at least one touchdown during the regular season while also pacing Auburn with 777 yards rushing despite battling injuries for much of the year, while Williams averaged 20 yards per catch and led the team with five receiving TDs. First-team all-conference linebacker Deshaun Davis finished fifth in the SEC with 107 tackles – including a team-high 14 for loss.