First New Year’s Six Game of 2018 to feature top-12 matchup
ATLANTA (Dec. 3, 2017) – The first New Year’s Six bowl matchup of 2018 will see American Athletic Conference Champion (12) UCF take on (7) Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s 50th Anniversary Game as announced by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee today.
The 50th annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be played on New Year’s Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will be nationally televised by ESPN. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. ET leading into the College Football Playoff Semifinals. This marks the third time the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has been played on New Year’s Day and the first time the game has ever been played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
UCF will be making its first trip to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, while Auburn will make its sixth appearance. Auburn currently holds a 4-1 record in the game, with its last appearance resulting in a 43-24 victory over Virginia in 2011.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better matchup to celebrate our 50th Anniversary,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl CEO and president. “To have college football’s only undefeated team square off against the first-ever team to defeat two College Football Playoff No. 1-ranked teams in a season makes for an extremely compelling game.”
“Both Auburn and UCF have had remarkable seasons and we are thrilled to welcome them both to Atlanta,” said Percy Vaughn, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl chairman. “We look forward to ringing in the New Year and our first-ever Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Mercedes-Benz Stadium with this phenomenal matchup.”
UCF (12-0, 8-0 AAC) enters the game as champions of the American Athletic Conference. The Knights are the only undefeated FBS team in the nation, recording the program’s first-ever perfect regular season and currently hold the nation’s longest winning streak at 12 games. The Knights’ offense leads the nation in scoring (49.4 PPG) and UCF ranks top five in the nation in three additional categories: passing efficiency, total offense and turnover margin. The offensive side of the ball is full of playmakers, led by sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton, who holds UCF records for single season passing touchdowns (35) and passing yards (3,795). Milton also ranks No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency, and is in the top five in four additional categories: passing touchdowns, completion percentage, total offense and passing yards/completion. The Knights’ offense also features junior receiver Tre’Quan Smith, who is No. 4 in the nation in receiving touchdowns and ranks top 15 in receiving yards.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our incredible young men, our football program and our university on the stage that a game like the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl provides. This has been an incredible, magical season for us and we’re looking forward to adding one more chapter to our story,” said Troy Walters, UCF interim head coach. “The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is well known for being a wonderful experience for teams and fans. We’re looking forward to it and I know Knight Nation will be excited to get to Atlanta and cheer us on one more time this year.”
Auburn (10-3, 7-1 SEC) enters the game as SEC Western Division champions. The Tigers are the first-ever team to defeat two College Football Playoff No. 1-ranked teams in the same season. Auburn ranks in the top five in the SEC in passing, rushing, receiving, scoring, defense and ranks first in kicking. The Tigers are also top 10 in the nation in completion percentage, fewest penalty yards per game, fumbles recovered, scoring defense and team passing efficiency. Auburn is led by sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who ranks second in the nation in career passing efficiency and is second in the SEC in passing yards. The Tiger’s offense also features junior running back Kerryon Johnson, who leads the SEC in rushing yards and is second in scoring. Johnson also ranks top 10 in the nation in rushing touchdowns, scoring and total touchdowns.
“We’re very excited about playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against a very good Central Florida team. They have a very dynamic offense and are the only undefeated team in FBS, so it will be great challenge for our program,” said Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn. “We look forward to spending time in Atlanta, where we have a tremendous fan base and playing again in the incredible Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
Auburn leads the all-time series with UCF 3-0, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 28-10 Auburn victory in 1999.
This year, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is celebrating its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Prime location tickets are still available and are on sale now through the Bowl’s website. Visit www.Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com/tickets to purchase tickets. Fans can also purchase tickets in the team allotments through the university ticket offices. The official ticket resale marketplace for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is Ticketmaster. Visit www.ticketmaster.com for details.
Fans can also purchase VIP Packages – including tickets and hospitality – from the Bowl’s exclusive ticket package provider, PrimeSport. Visit http://www.chick-fil-apeachbowl.com/tickets or www.PrimeSport.com to access the PrimeSport ticket package offers.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has sold out 17 of the last 19 years and organizers encourage fans to purchase their tickets early to avoid missing out on tickets.
ABOUT THE CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. This season, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is celebrating its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization. The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 53 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $160 million in team payouts over its 50-year history. The Bowl also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $21 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also runs the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament and manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award. For more information, visit Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com or follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CFAPeachBowl.