College Football around Alabama: Bowl Season is Here
The postseason is here as four of the Yellowhammer's State's five teams will appear in bowl games.
As top ranked Alabama gets ready for their semifinal contest against No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, UAB and Troy will face off against opponents from the Mid American in Northern Illinois and Buffalo and the Auburn Tigers head to Nashville for a Dec. 28 showdown with Purdue.
Boca Raton Bowl
Fresh off the program's first Conference USA title, UAB travels to Boca Raton to battle MAC champion Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton.
Two seasons following the shuttering of the program, the Blazers will be appearing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history..
With a 10-3 record, UAB already has matched their highest win total in school history. A big reason for their success has been the production of running back Spencer Brown. The sophomore running back has totaled 1,149 yards along with 16 touchdowns for UAB.
On the opposite sideline, the Northern Illinois Huskies will be making their 10th bowl appearance in 11 seasons.
The Huskies roared back from a 29-10 second half deficit thanks to 20 unanswered points to beat Buffalo 30-29. Marcus Childers tossed four touchdowns in the win including three in the second half.
On the season, Childers totaled almost 2,500 total yards but struggled with consistency in the passing game as he tossed 15 touchdowns but also threw 10 interceptions.
Kickoff from Boca Raton is at 6 PM on ESPN.
Dollar General Bowl
The Troy Trojans conclude the 2018 season Saturday night against the Buffalo Bulls in the Dollar General Bowl.
The trip to Mobile provides the Trojans an opportunity to end the season on a positive note after missing out on a Sun Belt Conference Championship Game appearances in a late November loss at Appalachian State.
Offensively, running back B.J. Smith rushed for almost 1,100 yards including five games of more than 100 yards.
With the exception of their late-game collapse against Northern Illinois, Buffalo has enjoyed their most successful season as an FBS member with a 10-3 record coming into the Dollar General Bowl.
The Bulls possess one of the top passing combinations in the MAC in quarterback Tyree Jackson and wide out Anthony Johnson. Jackson leads the conference with 2,857 yards passing and 27 touchdowns while Johnson is atop the MAC with 11 touchdown grabs and second in the conference with 944 receiving yards.
The Dollar General Bowl kicks off Saturday at 6 PM on ESPN.
Music City Bowl
On the eve of the College Football Playoff, Auburn faces Purdue in the 21st Music City Bowl.
The Tigers had high expectations coming into the year and got off to a 4-1 start but limped to the finish line losing four of their last seven games.
A big reason for the late season struggles involved a regressing defense. The Tigers struggled to stop the run against Georgia, but the pass defense proved to be the ultimate downfall.
Tennessee, Ole Miss and Alabama each threw for more than 300 yards on the Auburn secondary with the Tide racking up 377 yards in the Iron Bowl.
In an up-and-down season, Purdue has the chance to finish the season 7-6 and notch an SEC win. The Boilermakers upended three ranked teams including a 49-20 thrashing of Big Ten champion Ohio State but lost three games at home to open the year including a 20-19 loss to Akron.
Purdue relies on their offense as they scored nearly 32 points per game while surrendering over 27 points per game defensively.
At quarterback, fifth year senior David Blough ranks second in the Big Ten with 3,521 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. On the outside, freshman Rondale Moore exploded onto the scene by leading the conference with 103 catches, 1,164 receiving yards and 12 receiving scores.
The Music City Bowl kicks off Dec. 28 at 12:30 PM on ESPN.