Purdue to battle Auburn in Music City Bowl

The Purdue football team will play in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, Dec. 28.

Posted: Dec. 2, 2018 7:36 PM
Updated: Dec. 3, 2018 2:28 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue football team will play in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, Dec. 28.

The Boilermakers (6-6) will square off against Auburn (7-5) of the Southeastern Conference. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. local time), and the game will be televised by ESPN.

"We are excited to bring our team, all of Purdue University and our fans to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl," vice president and director of athletics Mike Bobinski said. "Nashville is one of the great cities in this county, one of the happening places to be, and we are looking forward to playing a great Auburn team and having a great time, which is what a bowl game is all about. We appreciate the invitation very much and will do our part to make it a terrific experience for everyone."

Purdue lost its first three games this season and then took on a more aggressive approach that led to six wins in its final nine games. Three victories came over ranked opponents: No. 2 Ohio State (49-20), No. 23 Boston College (30-13) and No. 19 Iowa (38-36).

The Boilermakers wound up tied for second place in the Big Ten Conference West Division (with Iowa and Wisconsin) with a 5-4 mark, their first winning conference campaign since 2006 and highest finish since divisional alignment began in 2013.

"To be headed to our second straight bowl game is awesome, and we appreciate the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl for inviting us to the wonderful city of Nashville," head coach Jeff Brohm said. "I know our players will enjoy the experience and the opportunity to play at Nissan Stadium, which is one of the top venues in the National Football League. Our team looks forward to getting back on the practice field this week and preparing to play a very good Auburn team."

Led by senior quarterback David Blough and sparked by freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, the Boilermakers are averaging 31.9 points per game - their most since 2007 - and 459.0 yards of total offense, which is just shy of the school record (462.0).

The Boilermakers' home attendance average of 51,120 - which included sellouts for two of the final three games - was the highest since the 2008 season. Over the last two years, Purdue's attendance has increased more than 16,600 fans per game.

Nashville is merely 350 miles from West Lafayette (five-and-a-half-hour drive), and there are 110,500 Purdue alumni in a 250-mile radius of the bowl site.

Junior tight end Brycen Hopkins hails from Music City, while two other Boilermakers come from the Volunteer State - redshirt freshman defensive end Giovanni Reviere (Chattanooga, 130 miles southeast) and senior wide receiver Terry Wright (Memphis, 210 miles southwest).

The Boilermakers will be playing in their second bowl game in as many seasons under Brohm, 14th in the last 22 years and 19th all-time (10-8 record).

As a head coach, Brohm has led each of his five teams to a bowl game - his three Western Kentucky squads from 2014 to 2016 and now both of his Purdue squads. The Boilermakers defeated Arizona 38-35 in the Foster Farms Bowl last season.

Purdue and Auburn have not met previously. The Tigers were 3-5 in the SEC, finishing fifth in the West Division.

The Boilermakers are 2-5 against SEC opponents (1-3 in the regular season and 1-2 in bowl games), including this season's 40-37 walkoff loss to Missouri at Ross-Ade. Purdue defeated Tennessee 27-22 in the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl and lost to Georgia in both the 2000 Outback Bowl (28-25 in overtime) and 2004 Capital One Bowl (34-27 in overtime).

Two Boilermakers are from The Heart of Dixie, freshmen defensive linemen Jeff Marks (Mobile, 225 miles southwest of Auburn) and KJ Stokes (Millbrook, 65 miles west).

The Music City Bowl dates to 1998, and a Big Ten team has played in the game six times previously, compiling a 3-3 record. Minnesota defeated Arkansas 29-14 in 2002, Auburn defeated Wisconsin 28-14 in 2003, Minnesota defeated Alabama 20-16 in 2004, Virginia defeated Minnesota 34-31 in 2005, Tennessee defeated Nebraska 38-24 in 2016 and Northwestern defeated Kentucky 24-23 in 2017.

The game is played at the home of the Tennessee Titans. Nissan Stadium is an open-air, natural-grass facility, with a capacity of 67,000, located on the east bank of the Cumberland River overlooking downtown Nashville.

Over the years, Nashville has grown from a pioneer settlement to a vibrant city, a place where historic landmarks blend with towering skyscrapers, where Southern cooking and haute cuisine go hand-in-hand, and where no matter how big the city gets, hospitality never goes out of style.

When it comes to Southern hospitality, Nashville pulls out all the stops. With first-class hotel accommodations, world-famous nightlife and dining venues to suit the palate, Music City hits the high notes when it comes to entertaining its guests. It is the heart of the country-music scene, with the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee.

Purdue has played in Nashville once previously, losing to Vanderbilt 26-0 at Dudley Field on Oct. 3, 1942. The Boilermakers will host the Commodores on Sept. 7, 2019, and play at Vanderbilt Stadium on Sept. 8, 2029.

Purdue defeated Missouri 28-25 in the 1980 Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

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