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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn to face Maryland in Music City Bowl

<p>Auburn players exit tunnel to fanfare at Jordan Hare Stadium on September 2nd, 2023.</p>

Auburn players exit tunnel to fanfare at Jordan Hare Stadium on September 2nd, 2023.

After missing the postseason in 2022, Auburn is back in bowl action for 2023. The Tigers will make a return trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to take part in the 25th Music City Bowl. The selection marks the 47th bowl appearance in Auburn history. Auburn’s opponent will be the Maryland Terrapins of the Big Ten.

Auburn’s selection marks the Tigers’ third appearance in the Music City Bowl, with Auburn winning both previous times. The three appearances place Auburn in a tie with Tennessee and Minnesota for the second-most Music City Bowl appearances. Only Kentucky, which has appeared in the bowl six times, has more.

In 2003, Auburn earned a 28-14 win over Wisconsin and in 2018, the Tigers routed Purdue 63-14. The 2018 victory set Music City Bowl records that stand today, such as the most points in a game and the largest margin of victory.

The trip marks the second time Auburn will visit Nashville this season. On Nov. 4, the Tigers earned a 31-15 win over Vanderbilt.

Auburn will face Maryland for the third time and first in a postseason game. The Tigers have faced the Terrapins three times in their history, with the last meeting coming in 1983. Auburn is 2-1 all-time against Maryland.

The Terrapins finished 7-5 in the 2023 season, with a 4-5 mark in the Big Ten to finish fourth in the Big Ten East. Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State were the three teams that finished ahead of Maryland in the division.

Maryland is led by head coach Mike Locksley, in his fifth year with the program. Locksley, who served as an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2016-18, has a record of 28-33 with the Terrapins. Another University of Alabama connection is the starting quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa leads the Big Ten with 3,016 passing yards and has thrown for 22 touchdowns this season.  The quarterback also ranks first in career passing yards for Maryland.

If Auburn wins the bowl game, it will be the 800th win in program history and will mark the first time the Tigers have finished with a winning record since 2020. To accomplish these feats, the Tigers will have to reverse a recent trend of bowl futility — Auburn is 2-7 in its last nine bowl games, with the last win coming in the 2018 Music City Bowl.

The Music City Bowl is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST. The game, which takes place at the Tennessee Titans’ Nissan Stadium, will be nationally televised on ABC.

Matthew Wallace | Assistant Sports Editor

Matthew is a senior from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in journalism. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2021.

Twitter: @mattwallaceAU

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