Iron Bowl 2019

Derick Hall (29), Daquan Newkirk (44), and SMokey Monday (21) run through the tunnel before the Auburn vs. Alabama Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, 2019.

Auburn will meet Minnesota for the first time ever in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., the bowl announced Sunday afternoon.

The game is scheduled for Jan. 1 with a noon kickoff from Raymond James Stadium.

Auburn finished its regular season 9-3. Minnesota is 10-2 on the heels of a breakthrough regular season for the program.

Auburn and Minnesota have never met on the football field.

“We have the best fans in college football and I look forward to them joining us on New Year’s Day as we try to win our 10th game of the season and send our seniors out on a high note,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement Sunday.

“We can’t wait to invade Tampa Bay with blue and orange,” Auburn athletics director Allen Greene said as part of his own statement.

Auburn was ranked No. 12 in the final College Football Playoff rankings released Sunday. Minnesota was ranked No. 18.

Auburn tied for the No. 9 rank in the latest Associated Press rankings released Sunday, while Minnesota was ranked No. 16.

Minnesota climbed to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll in November after its 9-0 start and big win over Penn State. The Golden Gophers then lost two of their last three, falling to Iowa and Wisconsin.

The Golden Gophers are coached by P.J. Fleck.

“I know our players, staff and fans are excited for this opportunity and to get to Florida,” Fleck said in his statement, calling Auburn a “tremendous opponent.”

Minnesota launched into this season with a 34-10 win over Georgia Tech last postseason in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Auburn beat Minnesota’s Big Ten colleague Purdue 63-14 in last year’s Music City Bowl.

Auburn is 9-5 all-time in bowl games against programs currently affiliated with the Big Ten.

Auburn’s last two trips to the Outback Bowl have led to overtime games. At the end of the 2014 season, Wisconsin topped Auburn in Nick Marshall’s last game with the Tigers, winning 34-31 in overtime. At the end of the 2009 season, Auburn capped its first season under Gene Chizik with a 38-35 overtime win over Northwestern.

Malzahn was part of both games, serving as Chizik’s offensive coordinator in that game against Northwestern before he led the Tigers back for their game against Wisconsin as the team’s head coach.

“We are excited about returning to the Outback Bowl for the first time in five years to face a very good Minnesota team out of the Big Ten Conference,” Malzahn said. “I’ve been fortunate to make two previous trips to the Outback Bowl. (Bowl president) Jim McVay and everyone associated with the bowl make it a first-class experience for our players and fans.”

Raymond James Stadium is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Coach Malzahn and his team have had a great year and enter bowl season with a lot of momentum,” Greene said. “We look forward to seeing Raymond James Stadium filled with the Auburn Family on New Year’s Day.”

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