FILE - In this photo provided by Auburn Athletics, Bryan Harsin, Auburn's new college football coach, talks during a news conference in Auburn, Ala., in this Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, photo. It’s been a whirlwind three weeks for Auburn's football team, given longtime coach Gus Malzahn getting fired on Dec. 13, new coach Bryan Harsin being introduced 11 days later, several players opting out of the Citrus Bowl and the Tigers hurriedly trying to prepare for a showdown against a stout Northwestern defense. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics via AP)
FILE - In this photo provided by Auburn Athletics, Bryan Harsin, Auburn's new college football coach, talks during a news conference in Auburn, Ala., in this Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, photo. It’s been a whirlwind three weeks for Auburn's football team, given longtime coach Gus Malzahn getting fired on Dec. 13, new coach Bryan Harsin being introduced 11 days later, several players opting out of the Citrus Bowl and the Tigers hurriedly trying to prepare for a showdown against a stout Northwestern defense. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics via AP)
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Citrus Bowl: Northwestern (6-2, No. 14 CFP) against Auburn (6-4), Friday, 1 p.m. EST (ABC).

Line: Northwestern by 3 1/2.

Series record: Auburn leads 1-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

No. 15 Northwestern is looking to complete the season on a high note after losing to playoff-bound Ohio State 22-10 in the Big 10 championship game. Auburn players returning next season will hope to make a favorable impression on new coach Bryan Harsin, who was hired away from Boise State three days before Christmas. Former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was fired in mid-December and replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix against a Northwestern defense that ranks fifth nationally in fewest points allowed at 15.5 points a game. Nix has thrown 11 touchdown passes and run for seven more this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northwestern: Defensive back Brandon Joseph is tied for the lead in the nation with six interceptions.

Auburn: SEC Co-Freshman of the Year Tank Bigsby ranks second among FBS freshman with 834 rushing yards.

FACTS & FIGURES

It is the second meeting between the schools. Auburn beat Northwestern 38-35 in overtime at the 2010 Outback Bowl. ... This will be the second time Northwestern has played in the Citrus Bowl. The Wildcats lost to Tennessee 48-28 in 1997, which was current coach Pat Fitzgerald’s final game as a Northwestern player. ... Auburn linebacker Zakoby McClain has a team-best 102 tackles. ... Northwestern defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz was a finalist for the 2020 Broyles Award, which recognizes the nation’s top assistant coach. In his 51st and final college coaching season, Hankwitz is one win shy of 400 for his career.

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