OU to Face Auburn in Sugar Bowl

Mike Houck
By Mike Houck
Assistant A.D. / Strategic Communications

Big 12 champion Oklahoma, winner of its last nine games, will make its 50th bowl appearance when it faces Auburn in the 83rd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans. OU's bowl destination was announced early Sunday afternoon.

The Sugar Bowl, to be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN. This will mark OU's eighth appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners, who are No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings, are 10-2 overall and became the first team to ever go 9-0 in Big 12 Conference regular season play. They are coming off a 38-20 win over Oklahoma State yesterday to claim their 10th Big 12 title under 18th-year head coach Bob Stoops.

Auburn, No. 14 in the CFP rankings, is 8-4 overall and went 5-3 in the SEC (tied with LSU for second in West division). After a 1-2 start, the Tigers have won seven of their last nine games with the only losses coming at Georgia (13-7) and at No. 1 Alabama (30-12). They rank fifth nationally in scoring defense (15.6 points per game) and 20th in total defense (348.4 yards per game).

OU boasts one of the nation’s top offenses, ranking third in total offense (557.3 yards per game) and scoring offense (44.7 points per game). The Sooners lead the country in passing efficiency (194.9 rating; next highest by a Power 5 team is 179.3), and rank 11th in passing offense (319.8 ypg) and 21st in rushing offense (237.5 ypg).

Only undefeated teams Alabama and Western Michigan have a longer winning streak than OU. It has outscored its opponents by an average of 48-29 during its nine-game streak.

The Sooners are led by Heisman Trophy candidates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook. Mayfield, a redshirt junior quarterback who is one of three finalists for the Maxwell Award as the college player of the year, leads the nation in passing efficiency rating (197.8; the NCAA single-season record is 191.8), completion percentage (71.2) and yards per pass attempt (11.1; only one other player is above 10.0). He also ranks third nationally in points responsible for (22.3 per game) and yards per completion (15.6), and fourth in passing TDs (38). He accounted for at least four touchdowns in seven of OU's nine Big 12 games and accounted for three in each of the other two.

Westbrook, one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, this past week was rated by ESPN.com as the nation's top player. He recorded at least 100 receiving yards in eight of OU's nine league games (88 in the other) and set the Oklahoma single-season record with 16 receiving touchdowns. All 16 of those scores have come in the last nine outings and have averaged 48.8 yards, the highest average in the last 21 years among FBS players with at least 12 TDs in a season. Westbrook leads all Power 5 players in receiving TDs per game (1.33) while ranking second in receiving yards (1,354) and third in receiving yards per contest (123.1).

On the other side of the ball, OU ranks fifth in the Big 12 in total defense (439.8 yards per game) and second in rushing defense (160.8 ypg). In Big 12 play, it held opponents to a league-low 53.4 pass completion percentage.

The Sooners are making their 18th straight bowl appearance under Stoops. Only two schools entered this season with longer active consecutive streaks of bowl appearances recognized by the NCAA: Virginia Tech (23) and Georgia (19). The Sooners have an all-time bowl record of 28-20-1.

Oklahoma boasts a rich and successful Sugar Bowl history. OU is 5-2 in the event (see list of games below) and won its most recent appearance, 45-31 over Alabama on Jan. 2, 2014.

OU's lone meeting against Auburn actually came in the 1972 Sugar Bowl to cap the 1971 season. The Sooners, who led 31-0 at halftime, rushed for a then-school-record 439 yards in a 40-22 win. Quarterback Jack Mildren scored three times in his final collegiate game, and OU finished No. 2 in the polls.

Sooner Club members will be notified via email within 24 hours of the bowl announcement regarding the number of tickets they have qualified to receive, with a deadline of noon CT on Tuesday to cancel orders. Instructions for the bowl and the ability to cancel will be included on members' online accounts.

OU student football season ticket holders will be notified via email and social media regarding the process for student bowl ticket purchases within 24 hours of the bowl announcement. All student ticket charges will be applied to university bursar accounts. All student tickets will be placed at will call at the bowl site and students MUST have a valid OU student I.D. to pick up their tickets (no exceptions).

A limited amount of Sugar Bowl tickets will go on sale to the public at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday, Dec. 6, on SoonerSports.com. Watch SoonerSports.com and OU's social media outlets for additional information on Monday. All public purchase requests will be reviewed and approved by the University of Oklahoma prior to seats being allocated.