Gene Chizik is in his first season at Auburn and third overall with a record of 12-24 (.333). The Tigers’ offensive coordinator is Gus Malzahn and the defensive coordinator is Ted Roof.
Pat Fitzgerald is in his fourth season at Northwestern overall with a record of 27-22 (.551). The Wildcats’ offensive coordinator is Mick McCall and the defensive coordinator is Mike Hankwitz.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN AUBURN HAS THE BALL
Auburn running back Ben Tate ranks fourth in the SEC and 23rd nationally averaging 104.5 yards rushing per game. Tate, who was named to the All-SEC second team by the league’s media, has also added 20 catches for 105 yards and five kick returns for 139 yards (27.8 yards per return).
Auburn QB Chris Todd has thrown a school single-season record 21 touchdown passes. Darvin Adams leads the team in catches (48), receiving yards (855) and touchdown receptions (10), while Terrell Zachery has 24 grabs for 466 yards (19.4 ypc) and five touchdowns. Adams is tied for the SEC lead in TD reception with 10.
Northwestern Defensive end Corey Wootton has started 48 career games and has 19.5 career sacks and 38 career tackles for loss. Sherrick McManis leads the Wildcats with four interceptions on the year in nine games played. He returned from a leg injury early in the season to record a team-best 11 passes defended, a forced fumble and 34 tackles.
Brad Phillips paces Northwestern with 84 tackles on the year, forcing a team-high four fumbles and making three sacks while battling through several nagging injuries to play all 12 games.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN NORTHWESTERN HAS THE BALL
Auburn's Antonio Coleman, who was named First Team All-SEC following the season by the league’s media and coaches, leads the SEC with 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks. Coleman also has 45 total tackles, an interception which he returned for a touchdown against Mississippi State, a blocked kick, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Walter McFadden leads the team with four interceptions which is tied for fifth most in the SEC, and his 12 passes defended (four interceptions, eight pass break-ups) is tied for sixth best. Josh Bynes leads the team and is sixth in the SEC with 94 tackles, while
Craig Stevens is 11th with 89.
Northwestern ranks second in the Big Ten and 29th nationally in passing offense (266.1) behind quarterback Mike Kafka, whose 2,898 passing yards are third most in a a single season in school history. Kafka has thrown 116 consecutive attempts without an interception. Zeke Markshausen has caught 79 passes, which is second in the Big Ten and tied for fourth most in a season in Northwestern history.
Al Netter earned honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and the media. He has started every game at left tackle this year for Northwestern.
Junior Wes Byrum has excelled during his junior season, connecting on 14-of-15 field goals and all 49 extra point attempts for Auburn. Among kickers who have attempted at least 10 field goals, Byrum’s percentage of .933 ranks fifth nationally. Byrum has scored 91 points this season, which is seventh best in school history and just 11 shy of the school single-season record, and just three points shy of the most points ever scored by an Auburn kicker in a single season.
Also a consensus second-team All-Big Ten pick was Niorthwestern junior place-kicker Stefan Demos (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon), who was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week three separate times in 2009. Demos has made 18-of-23 field goal
attempts on the year, good for fourth-most makes in a single season and two shy of the school record. He twice hit four field goals in a game during Big Ten play and nailed last minute game winners against both Eastern Michigan and Indiana.
Record: First Meeting
Auburn makes its 35th bowl appearance when the Tigers meet Northwestern in the 2010 Outback Bowl... It will be the third trip to the Tampa-based bowl for Auburn but the first in 14 years... Auburn’s last visit was a 43-14 loss to Penn State on Jan. 1, 1996... It will also mark the first meeting between Auburn and Northwestern... Auburn’s needs 282 yards against Northwestern to break the school single-season record for total yards... Northwestern has never played in the Outback Bowl and will be making its first appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl since the 1997 Citrus Bowl.