College Football
Central Florida vs Auburn
When: 12:30 PM ET, Monday, January 1, 2018
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia


1. Central Florida will try to complete an undefeated season and gain some respect for the American Athletic Conference when it takes on Auburn of the SEC in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1 in Atlanta. Scott Frost, who took over a UCF team that was winless in 2015 and turned them into a 12-0 team two years later, will coach the Knights before moving on to his new job at Nebraska. “It’s gonna take us being together every step of the way,” UCF senior linebacker Shaquem Griffin told the Orlando Sentinel. “Ups and down, we’re gonna have to be able to stick it out. Auburn is an amazing team, but we’re an amazing team also.”

2. The Tigers might be in the College Football Playoff if not for a shoulder injury to leading rusher Kerryon Johnson that limited the junior to 44 yards on 13 carries in the 28-7 loss to Georgia at the SEC championship game. Johnson has rushed for 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns this season and had 167 yards on the ground with 66 through the air against Georgia is the teams’ first meeting, which was won by Auburn 40-17. The junior reportedly has been practicing and his presence could take a lot of pressure off sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was only 16-of-32 with 145 yards in the SEC title game.

3. Sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton has put up some amazing numbers this season with 3,795 yards and 35 scoring strikes while running for another 497 and seven touchdowns. Milton, a 5-11, 177-pound gunslinger from Hawaii, will get the toughest test of his career against an Auburn defense that has allowed only 17.3 points per game to rank 10th in the country. Milton went 18-of-30 for 178 yards and one TD pass in a 38-10 victory against Maryland on Sept. 23 in his only matchup against a team from a top-five conference this season while the Tigers are yielding 177.8 yards per game through the air.

TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Auburn -9.5

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (12-0, 8-0 AAC): Milton, who threw for a career-high 494 yards in the 62-55 double-overtime victory over Memphis in the AAC championship game, has three receivers at his disposal with at least 30 catches. Junior wideout Tre’Quan Smith had four 100-yard receiving games and boasts 1,082 on 54 receptions with 13 touchdowns while sophomore Dredrick Snelson has 42 catches for 656 yards - career highs of nine and 145, respectively, in the last game. Junior linebacker Pat Jasinski (team-best 96 tackles) and edge-rusher Griffin (5.5 sacks) lead a Knights' defense that gives up 165.7 yards per game on the ground.

ABOUT AUBURN (10-3, 7-1 SEC): Stidham, a transfer from Baylor, has had a strong year overall with 2,827 yards and 17 touchdowns passing with four interceptions and a 66.7 percent completion rate. Junior wide receiver Ryan Davis is Stidham’s top threat with 76 catches for 768 yards and five scores, including 18 receptions for 204 in the last two contests, while sophomore Darius Slayton has caught 24 balls for 574 yards. Jeff Holland boasts a team-best nine sacks and fellow junior linebacker Deshaun Davis easily tops the Tigers with 75 tackles - 10 in the SEC title game.

PREDICTION: Central Florida 31, Auburn 28
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Central Florida 12-0 W12 49.4 25.2 7-0 5-0 8-0 0-0 9-0
Auburn 10-3 L1 34.4 17.3 7-1 3-2 8-3 0-0 7-2
Last Meeting
Central Florida Auburn
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/6/99 UCF 10 AUB 28 347 -27 374 368 98 270
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida N/A
Auburn N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Auburn N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Auburn N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida N/A
Auburn N/A
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida M. Milton 69.2 3795 35 9
Auburn J. Stidham 66.7 2827 17 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida A. Killins Jr. 113 762 6.7 10
Auburn K. Johnson 263 1320 5.0 17
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida T. Smith 54 1082 20.0 13
Auburn R. Davis 76 768 10.1 5
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida T. Smith 14
Auburn K. Johnson 19
Quickchart Matchup
Central Florida Central Florida Off vs  Auburn Auburn Def
Central Florida 540.9 yards
Auburn 317.3 yards
Central Florida 5.2 yards/rush
Auburn 3.6 yards/rush
Central Florida 10.5 yards/attempt
Auburn 6 yards/attempt
Auburn Auburn Off vs  Central Florida Central Florida Def
Auburn 454 yards
Central Florida 428.5 yards
Auburn 5 yards/rush
Central Florida 4.4 yards/rush
Auburn 8.7 yards/attempt
Central Florida 7.4 yards/attempt