2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#12 UCF vs. #7 Auburn
January 1, 2018 at 11:30 am CT
Atlanta, Georgia | Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Fifty Fascinating Facts About the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl:
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta will host both today’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and next week’s 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, January 8th at 7 pm (CT).
- The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl kicks off as the first game of a blockbuster bowl tripleheader on ESPN. UCF and Auburn get things started at 11:30 am, followed by the two CFP Semifinal Games: the Rose Bowl (Georgia vs. Oklahoma) and Sugar Bowl (Alabama vs. Clemson) at 4 pm and 7:45 pm.
- These three bowl games feature six Top Ten ranked teams, three SEC teams, two berths in the national championship game, one Heisman Trophy winner and the first game featuring new Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and his entire 2018 Huskers coaching staff, who collectively will be coaching their final football game for UCF.
- In 2015, UCF went 0-12. Head coach Scott Frost, his staff and his players got to work in January 2016, determined to turn the program around. Just two years later, the Knights are undefeated at 12-0 and ranked in the Top Ten. Since 1996 (when UCF entered FBS play), no other team has gone winless and then won 10+ games in under two years.
- Today’s B1G RED HUSKERS GAMEDAY question: What will happen when the unstoppable UCF force (No. 1 scoring offense) meets the immovable AU object (No. 10 scoring defense)? Might be tougher to predict than you think. After all, Auburn didn’t allow more than 28 points in a game this season and UCF never scored less than 31. Will it be a 51-48 shootout or a 28-27 nailbiter? Can the Unstoppable #UCFast Force finally be bottled up, or will the Immovable AU Object erect a stone wall along the line of scrimmage? Sure will be fascinating to find out.
- In Frost’s first season at the helm, UCF went 6-7 and earned a bid to the 2016 AutoNation Cure Bowl at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. It marked the first time a team had gone from winless to a bowl game since UCF went 0-11 in 2004 and then played in the 2005 Hawaii Bowl.
- No. 12 UCF has the highest ranking ever for ranked Group of Five program in the final regular-season CFP rankings. The Knights are ranked 10th in both the AP and Coaches Poll going into bowl season, matching the highest-ever ranking for UCF.
- Scott Frost earned numerous postseason accolades for his remarkable job turning around UCF, including Home Depot Coach of the Year, AAC Coach of the Year, AFCA Coach of the Year and AP Coach of the Year. Frost has also been named as a finalist for the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
- When the University of Central Florida first fielded a varsity football team in the fall of 1979 as a NCAA Division III program, the school was still commonly known as Florida Technological University.
- UCF and Auburn have only met three times before today’s Peach Bowl, with Auburn winning all three games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium between 1997 and 1999.
- The first three Peach Bowl contests took place at Georgia Tech’s Grant Field before shifting to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1971.
- In the 1995 Peach Bowl, Georgia Bulldog quarterback Hines Ward set the Peach Bowl record for most passing attempts (59) and most net yards total offense (469 yards). Ward completed 31 of 59 passes for 413 yards while setting Georgia bowl game records for pass attempts, pass completions, and passing yards that still stand today. The multi-talented Ward also starred at running back and wide receiver for Georgia, piling up 3,870 total all-purpose yards, which is good for second in Bulldogs history behind Herschel Walker.
- In his first season at the helm of UCF, Scott Frost guided a program that was winless in 2015 to six victories and a bowl berth. Only eight teams in NCAA FBS history have ever gone from winless to a bowl game in just one season.
- Auburn coach Guz Malzahn has directed Auburn to four New Year’s Day bowl games in five seasons.
- The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the ninth oldest bowl game in college football. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl made history by being selected to join the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls as the hosts for the new College Football Playoff that began in 2014.
- Auburn enters today’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl with a stingy, super salty defense under second-year coordinator Kevin Steele. Auburn boasts the nation’s No. 10 scoring defense, allowing just 17.3 points per game. Auburn’s defense led the SEC this season with 12 fumble recoveries.
- UCF ranks 1st nationally in scoring offense, 2nd in passing efficiency, 3rd in turnover margin and 5th in total offense. Hashtag #UCFast.
- UCF sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton finished the regular season ranked second in the country in passing efficiency (184.8) and among the top 10 for completion percentage (No. 2, 69.2%), passing touchdowns (No. 4, 35), passing yards (No. 6, 3,795), points responsible for (No. 5, 21.0 ppg) and total offense (No. 5, 357.7 ypg).
- The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with today’s game. The Peach Bowl has now sold out 19 of its last 21 games dating back to 1997.
- The highest ranked Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl matchup to date featured No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama in the 2016 College Football Playoff Semifinal. It was the third most-watched cable television program of 2016, with a total live audience of 19.8 million viewers on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2020 and a national semifinal game of the College Football Playoffs in 2019, 2022 and 2025.
- In the 22 seasons that UCF has been a member of the NCAA FBS, no other team has gone from winless to an undefeated regular season.
- The Knights are ranked 10th in both the AP and Coaches Poll going into bowl season, matching the highest ever ranking for UCF. After defeating Baylor in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, the Knights were ranked 10th in the AP Poll.
- UCF (12-0) will be the third undefeated team Auburn will play in a span of five games to end the 2017 season. Auburn played (and defeated) No. 1 Georgia on November 11 and No. 1 Alabama on November 25.
- The UCF Knights sold their entire 12,500 ticket block for the matchup with seventh-ranked Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in only three days. It was the fastest ticket sellout in UCF football history.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium features the first-of-its-kind Halo display board. The Halo display is 360-degree wraparound scoreboard inside the stadium which is the largest screen in U.S sports. It measures 1,075-feet long by 58-feet tall, making the Halo board taller than five stacked school busses or two Lincoln Memorial statues.
- A victory over Auburn today would give UCF four wins this season over teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
- The Knights are the only Group of Five team in the College Football Playoff era to sell out their entire ticket allotmment.
- UCF currently ranks No. 2 in the nation in Turnover Margin at +1.25 per game.
- Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has a 1-3 in bowl games, while Scott Frost is 0-1 in bowl games as UCF head coach. The SEC is 15-6 against current American Athletic Conference teams, including a 3-1 mark in bowl games.
- UCF boasts the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation (49.4 points per game) and is nicknamed “UCFast.” The Knights are the only team in the country that has scored more than 30 points in every single game.
- This season the #7 Auburn Tigers became the first team in college football history to defeat two number one teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings, defeating then #1 Georgia (40-7) and then #1 Alabama (26-14).
- UCF Junior defensive back Mike Hughes ranks third in the nation in kick returns averaging 34.1 yards per return, and he’s the first Knight to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same season since 1984. Hughes also ranks among the top three in the AAC for interceptions, and ranks No. 24 in the nation in passes defended.
- UCF moved up to Division I-AA in 1990, and completed their ascension to Division I–A (now known as the FBS) on September 1, 1996. At the time, the Knights were the first and only football program to play in four different NCAA divisions (III, II, I-AA and I-A)
- In five years as head coach at Auburn, Gus Malzahn has led the Tigers to a 45-21 record, including five consecutive bowl games, a Southeastern Conference Championship, two SEC West Division titles and an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game in 2013.
- Auburn junior back Kerryon Johnson, named the SEC offensive player of the year by the Associated Press, leads the SEC in rushing yards (1,320), rushing yards per game (120) and total touchdowns (19), despite missing two games early in the season due to injury.
- UCF has played in eight bowl games in their history, with an all-time record of 3-5.
- UCF holds a 1-1 record against current SEC teams in bowl games, defeating Georgia in the 2010 Liberty Bowl and falling to Mississippi State in the 2007 Liberty Bowl
- Auburn holds a 1-1 record against the AAC in bowl games, losing to Houston in the 1969 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl and defeating Memphis in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl
- Chick-fil-A became the first official Peach Bowl title sponsor in 1996.
- The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is one of the most competitive bowl games in the history of college football. Fifty-three percent of the games (26 of 49) have been decided by a touchdown or less.
- The ACC has the most all-time appearances in the Peach Bowl (37), while the SEC has the most all-time wins (18).
- Clemson has the most all-time appearances in the Bowl (8), while LSU has the most all-time wins (5).
- LSU won the inaugural Peach Bowl in 1968 against Florida State, 31-27.
- Atlanta’s Georgia Dome opened in 1992, allowing the Peach Bowl to be played in a climate-controlled, domed-environment for the first time.
- The Peach Bowl has traditionally had ties to the SEC and ACC. However, there are five current Big Ten teams that have played past Peach Bowls: Illinois (1985), Indiana (1988), Iowa (1982, 1988), Maryland (1973, 2002) and Purdue (1978, 1984).
- Maryland, of course, was a member of the ACC during their two memorable appearances.
- The record for most TD passes in Peach Bowl game is four, a feat achieved by Jeff Blake (East Carolina, 1991) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, 2013).
- Texas A&M holds the team record for most points scored (52) in a Peach Bowl in 2013.
- The 2013 Peach Bowl also featured a record 100 combined points scored between Texas A&M (52) and Duke (48), a total which could certainly be challenged today.