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December 4, 2011

Tigers, Cavs face-off in Chick-fil-A Bowl

The Chick-fil-A Bowl announced on Sunday evening that they have selected Virginia (8-4) from the ACC to face Auburn (7-5) on New Year's Eve.

The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Georgia Dome and will be televised on ESPN.

"We're extremely excited to be traveling to Atlanta to play a very good Virginia team in the Chick-fil-A Bowl," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. "I know our players are excited for this opportunity and I look forward to our fans helping pack the Georgia Dome on New Year's Eve."

Virginia started the season 4-3, but finished 4-1 in their last five games. The Cavaliers faced four ranked teams this season, falling to Southern Miss and Virginia Tech, while beating Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Auburn was no stranger to ranked opponents either, as all five teams the Tigers lost to are ranked in the top 18 of the AP Poll, and a sixth ranked team, No. 10 South Carolina, Auburn defeated on the road.

All six ranked teams Auburn faced will finish with 10 or more wins this season.

"We are pleased to accept an invitation to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl," Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "The Chick-fil-A Bowl is a first-class organization, and Virginia is an outstanding program. This will be a very good test for our football team and a great opportunity for our fans to come support the Tigers in Atlanta, which is close and convenient for our alumni and fan base."

Virginia ranks 51st in the nation in total offense (396 ypg), 88th in scoring offense (23 ppg), 30th in total defense (343 ypg), and 32nd in scoring defense (23 ppg).

Auburn is 104th in total offense (328 ypg), 82nd in scoring offense (24 ppg), 78th in total defense (405 ypg), and 79th in scoring defense (29 ppg).

Auburn is 3-1 in the bowl game's history.

Auburn last played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl following the 2007 season, defeating Clemson 23-20 in overtime behind a Kodi Burns' short touchdown run. Tony Franklin was named offensive coordinator for the bowl game and helped lead Auburn to 423 total yards and 24 first downs.

Franklin, however, was fired mid-season 2008.

In 2001, Auburn lost to North Carolina 16-10. The Tigers only managed 179 yards of offense in the game without the services of then freshman running back Carnell Williams Auburn's offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, and defensive coordinator John Lovett at the time both resigned after the Peach Bowl loss.

It was the Tigers fourth loss in their last five games, and Auburn finished that season 7-5.

After the 1997 season, the season that began with a win over Virginia ended with a win over Clemson in the Peach Bowl. Auburn's first Peach Bowl win came in 1990, a 27-23 win over Indiana.

Auburn and Virginia have met twice before. The last meeting was in 1998, as the Tigers opened the season at home and lost 19-0 to Virginia. Auburn mustered only 179 yards of total offense in Ben Leard's first career start, while allowing future NFL quarterback Aaron Brooks to throw for 220 yards, and future NFL running back Thomas Jones to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown. That season was the last for Terry Bowden.

The first meeting between the two came in 1997, when Auburn opened on the road in Charlottesville, and Dameyune Craig led the Tigers to a 28-17 win. Craig threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, and Karsten Bailey caught four passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, as Auburn was on their way to an SEC West Championship season.

Tickets for the Chick-fil-A Bowl are $80 and may be purchased through the Auburn Ticket Office via aubtix.com or calling 1-855-AUB-2010. All seating assignments will be based on Tigers Unlimited Priority. For the best seats, fans are strongly encouraged to place orders through the Auburn Athletic Department. For additional information, visit www.auburntigers.com/bowltickets.html.

Auburn University students with an Auburn Ignited Card can purchase tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 8 a.m. CT at the satellite ticket office located on the north side of the Auburn Arena next to the AU Team Shop.

Official Bowl Packages are available through Total Sports Travel, the official Travel management company for Tigers Unlimited and the Auburn Alumni Association. Call 888-367-8781 for your reservation or visit totalsportstravel.com to pre-register.


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