Purdue: The second season under Jeff Brohm was a whirlwind. The Boilermakers started 0-3 with those losses coming by a combined eight points. From there, Purdue reeled off four consecutive wins, including the 49-20 triumph over then-No. 2 Ohio State. The rest of the season was up and down with a two-point win over No. 16 Iowa, a 31-point loss to Minnesota, a triple-overtime loss to Wisconsin and a 28-21 road win over Indiana to clinch a bowl berth. After the season ended, Brohm decided to stay at Purdue instead of taking the Louisville job.Auburn: Auburn, the preseason No. 9 team in the country, opened the season with what we thought could be a marquee win over No. 6 Washington. But both teams underperformed — Auburn, especially. The Tigers ended up going 7-5 with all five losses coming in SEC play to LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The offense struggled mightily along the way, and the loss to Tennessee — its first in the series since 1999 — was a low point.
Purdue (6-6) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Location: Nashville | When: Dec. 28 (1:30 p.m. ET) | TV: ESPN | Line: Auburn -4
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
Louisville’s attempt to hire Jeff Brohm was a pretty major storyline a few weeks ago, and Purdue received a big jolt of energy when he decided to stay in West Lafayette. On the other side, there’s been plenty of tumult around the job status of Gus Malzahn. Malzahn agreed to a $49 million extension last fall after winning the SEC title, but now has four seasons with at least five losses under his belt.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue: Moore, who went to the same high school as Brohm in Louisville, committed to Purdue after previously being committed to Texas. As a true freshman, Moore leads the country in receptions with 103 for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns. Along the way, Moore had nine games with at least eight receptions, including five with 11 or more. For his efforts, Moore won the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year and Receiver of the Year awards.
Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn: Auburn has a lot of talented players on its defense, but senior Deshaun Davis has been one of the unquestioned leaders. The senior was a first-team all-SEC selection. He leads Auburn with both 107 tackles and 14 tackles for loss, both career highs. For his career, Davis has 257 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and six sacks.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
Purdue: The Boilermakers won a combined nine games in the four years before Brohm arrived and have won 13 in the two years since. With a win, Purdue would win a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997 and 1998. It would also mean back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007.
Auburn: Auburn, in its long history, has never lost a bowl game in three consecutive seasons. A win over Purdue would stop that from coming to fruition while also sending QB Jarrett Stidham, who declared for the NFL draft, out with a win in his last college game. Including the 2014 BCS national title game, Auburn is 1-4 in bowl games under Gus Malzahn.
Nick Bromberg: Purdue 31, Auburn 27
Sam Cooper: Purdue 28, Auburn 24
Pat Forde: Auburn 27, Purdue 22