AUBURN — The last time Auburn played Maryland in football, Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson was in the backfield for the Tigers and future All-Pro Boomer Esiason was at quarterback for the Terrapins.
In a Top 10 thriller at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1983, third-ranked Auburn of the Southeastern Conference claimed a 35-23 victory over No. 7 Maryland, then a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Auburn’s win was part of a 10-game winning streak that saw the Tigers finish 11-1 while beating three teams ranked in the Top 10 (Georgia, Florida, and the Terps, with the lone loss coming to Texas, which finished No. 5) as well as No. 15 Alabama.
Neither team has achieved those heights recently, but that matters little to first-year Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze. His Tigers (6-6), which did not play in a bowl following last season, will take on Maryland (7-5) of the Big Ten Conference in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville at Nissan Stadium Dec. 30 (1 p.m. ABC).
“The entire Auburn football program is excited to accept an invitation to the TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville,” Freeze said in a statement. “Nashville is a great destination, and the TransPerfect Music City Bowl is a great way to end our first season at Auburn. We have the best fans in college football and can’t wait for the Auburn Family to travel to Nashville and take over Broadway.
“We are thrilled for our players to have another opportunity to compete against a very good Maryland opponent.”
Auburn opened as a 2-point favorite by DraftKings.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Auburn and Maryland to our game this year,” Scott Ramsey, President & CEO of the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, said. “As we look forward to the unique matchup, we hope it will become another memorable chapter in the history of our bowl game and for Nashville as a whole, as we welcome back Auburn and introduce Maryland and its fans to our great city.”
The Terrapins are led by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, a transfer from Alabama and younger brother of Tua.
“The Music City Bowl elevates our program,” Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, a former Crimson Tide assistant, said. “It’s a December 30th bowl game, it’s one that I know our players are excited about getting down to Nashville, which is a great football city. … I know it’s a great bowl game and it’s a great opportunity against an SEC opponent.”