Feb 17, 2019 (Akademos, Inc.)
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  Sugar Bowl Prediction

Auburn and Oklahoma are set to battle in the Sugar Bowl, Monday Jan. 2 at 7:30 pm CT on ESPN. The two teams have met just once, back in 1972 with Oklahoma winning 44-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

Oklahoma finished the regular season at 10-2, with losses to Houston and Ohio State. Auburn wrapped up the regular season at 8-4 after starting 1-2.

The Sooners struggled as a unit on defense, especially against the pass, allowing 279 yards per game, which ranked 119th in the country.

The defense performed better against the run, allowing 160.8 yards per game. Overall, Oklahoma's defense allowed opponents to rack up 439.8 total yards per game and 29.7 points per game.

Auburn's defense will be tested by the Sooners' explosive offense led by quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, threw for 3,669 yards with 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2016. His favorite target, Dede Westbrook hauled in 74 receptions for 1,465 yards with 16 scores. Westbrook was also one of the five finalists for the Heisman Trophy in 2016.

On the ground, Oklahoma has solid running backs with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine doing the most damage. Mixon led the team with 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns, while Perine added 974 yards on 179 carries with 11 touchdowns.

As a unit, the Sooners average 237.5 rushing yards per game, 319.8 yards per game through the air, 557.3 total yards and 44.7 points per game.

Auburn's defense saw a much improved unit in 2016 from a year ago. The Tigers allow 124.8 yards per game on the ground, 223.6 passing yards per game, 348.4 total yards and 15.6 points per game.

On offense, the Tigers should be healthy for the Sugar Bowl after several players were banged up late in season. Quarterback Sean White is back along with running back Kam Pettway. In 2016, White threw for 1,644 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Pettway rushed for 1,123 yards and seven touchdowns.

As a unit, Auburn's offense averages 278.5 rushing yards per game, 170.8 passing yards per game, 449.3 yards of total offense and 32.3 points per game.

Prediction: Oklahoma 27-21.


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