Birmingham Bowl Capsule
Memphis (9-3, American) vs. Auburn (6-6, SEC), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Auburn by 3.
Series Record: Memphis leads 2-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Auburn is trying to avoid finishing with a losing record two years after making the national championship game. Memphis can reach double-digit wins and is shooting for a second victory over a Southeastern Conference team this season.
Auburn's defense against the Memphis passing game led by QB Paxton Lynch. Auburn ranks 73rd nationally against the pass, giving up 232.2 yards a game through the air. Lynch is a potential No. 1 NFL draft pick who's likely the best passer Auburn has faced this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Memphis: Lynch has passed for a school-record 3,670 yards and 28 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He accounted for seven TDs – four passing, three rushing – to match an NCAA bowl record in last season's Miami Beach Bowl. Lynch had seven first-half TD throws in the regular season finale against SMU, a 63-0 win.
Auburn: RB Jovon Robinson became the offense's best weapon late in the season, helping make up for the season-long shaky play at quarterback. Robinson has 513 yards while workhorse Peyton Barber has run for 976 yards and 13 touchdowns. Memphis is allowing just 3.4 yards a carry.
FACTS & FIGURES
Memphis is led by interim coach Darrell Dickey. Auburn is relying on interim defensive coordinator Lance Thompson, and both teams have graduate assistants or interns coaching positions or special teams. … Memphis has beaten two teams from Power 5 conferences – Kansas and Mississippi – for the first time since 1996. … Auburn placekicker Daniel Carlson and Memphis's Jake Elliott were among the finalists for the Lou Groza Award. Both have made 22 of 26 attempts. … Memphis defensive end Ricky Hunter grew up in Auburn. … Memphis is playing in a second straight bowl game for the first time since 2008.
AP College Football website: collegefootball.ap.org