Chick-Fil-A Bowl—December 31, 2011 @ 6:30 p.m.—Atlanta, Georgia
Auburn Tigers (7-5) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (8-4)
Line: Auburn -3.0 O/U 49.0
Auburn’s defense will contain a pedestrian Virginia offense. McCalebb and Dyer will combine for 160 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Virginia is a great story but Auburn is far more battle-tested and will overcome the absence of their offensive coordinator.
PREDICTED FINAL: Auburn 30 Virginia 21
PLAYS: Auburn -3.0 (two units) Over 49.0 (Honorable Mention Only)
Auburn finished the SEC schedule at .500 (4-4). Auburn has struggled on offense this year only averaging 24 points a game while giving up 29 points a game. The offense has been hampered by the ineffective passing game (154 yds per game). However, the rushing game is extremely potent behind Michael Dyer (1242 yds, 10 TD’s) and Onterio McCalebb (532 yds, 4TD’s). Either runner will need to avoid Virginia LB Steve Greer who finished the season with 103 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 TFL.
Auburn was 4-5 against bowl teams.
Virginia finished 5-3 in the ACC and had an opportunity to play in the ACC title game but were thumped by Virginia Tech 0-38 in the final week of the regular season. Virginia averages only 23 points a game but feature an offense that averages 397 yards per game. Virginia’s leading rusher is Perry Jones who finished the year with 883 yards and 5 touchdowns. QB Michael Rocco will try to exploit an Auburn defense that is giving up 211 yards per game by finding the reliable Kris Burd. Burd finished the year with 60 receptions for 810 yards but only one touchdown. Auburn will try to get pressure on Rocco with DL Corey Lemonier who racked up 44 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 4TFL this season.
Virginia was 2-4 against bowl teams.