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Music City Bowl preview: Maryland football vs. Auburn

Maryland football to close out 2023 season against Auburn in Music City Bowl on Saturday, with Auburn favored to win.

The University of Maryland football team is gearing up to close out its 2023 season in the Music City Bowl against Auburn. The game is scheduled to air on ABC and will take place at 2 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans. This gives Auburn a slight geographical advantage.

Maryland finished the regular season with a 7-5 record and has the chance to secure its second consecutive eight-win season for the first time since 2002-03. The Terps and Auburn are relatively unfamiliar with each other, with Maryland holding a 1-2 all-time record against the Tigers. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Auburn is a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 47 total points.

Auburn's head coach, Hugh Freeze, is nearing the end of his first season with the team. Despite a prestigious history, Auburn has hovered around six wins in recent seasons. However, a win on Saturday would cement their highest single-season win total since 2019.

The game will feature standout players such as Payton Thorne, junior quarterback, Jarquez Hunter, junior running back, Jaylin Simpson, senior safety, and Rivaldo Fairweather, junior tight end. Auburn's running game has been productive and consistent throughout the season, ranking third in the SEC with 198.4 rushing yards per game. However, the team has struggled with its passing attack, ranking last in the conference with 157.1 passing yards per game.

Maryland's starting quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, has elected not to play in the game, leaving redshirt sophomore Billy Edwards Jr. slated to make his first start of the season. Both teams will be missing key contributors, emphasizing the importance of depth and preparation.

For Maryland, Saturday presents the opportunity to secure its third bowl game victory in as many years, which would be a program first.

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