UCF AD Danny White Declares Knights 'National Champions' After 13-0 Season

Auburn football Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Kevin Steele

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has his unit focused on ending 2017 with a bang

Auburn's offensive line didn't provide much push in the running game against UCF either.

Auburn is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games coming off a loss and is 5-2-1 against the number in its last eight games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. After guiding the Knights on Monday, Frost will depart as Nebraska's head coach. Johnson had the team's longest run (14) and the Tigers finished with just 90 yards rushing on 44 carries.

WHO WE LIKE: Auburn.

Central Florida. It may seem odd to include UCF as both a victor and loser - but it wasn't all great news for the Knights. That blowout loss to Georgia may not be at the forefront of their minds, but the Auburn players will be hungry and looking for a big win on the big stage.

There's no questioning Auburn's credentials, but that isn't necessarily the case with UCF.

While it was sad for Auburn, it was equally exciting for UCF, the underdogs going into the bowl game. The other teams are Alabama and Wisconsin. But it is much easier for UCF to be motivated for this game for that exact reason. Now, Auburn must return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for its 2018 opener against Washington in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on September 1.

New Year's Day is prime time for watching college football.

Auburn star cornerback Carlton Davis missed the game with an illness. Meanwhile, Auburn's loss should send the Tigers to a New Year's Six bowl. Of course, had Auburn won Saturday and made the Playoff, it's unlikely Arkansas could have waited around for his season to finish.

Georgia is going to the College Football Playoff after an impressive 28-7 victory against Auburn, reversing the Tigers' complete domination when they played three weeks ago. The Tigers and Knights will exchange blows early before Auburn pulls away and ultimately takes the game.

"I wanted to do it for them", Frost said of his decision to stay with UCF through the game. The Knights have a 3-5 bowl record.

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UCF played with discipline. The Knights lost to Mississippi State 10-3 on December 29, 2007, and defeated Georgia 10-6 on December 31, 2010.

Stidham will get another chance inside Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium in today's Peach Bowl against UCF. He went out and declared his 13-0 team national champions.

VITALE: Auburn 41, UCF 24. Tre'Quan Smith and Dredrick Snelson have combined for 1,638 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns while Jordan Akins has 30 receptions. They're a great team in one of the best leagues in the country. The Tigers defeated Virginia 43-24 in December 2011.

Stidham, a transfer from Baylor who ranks second in the nation in career passing efficiency, is second in the SEC in passing yards (2,827) and leads the SEC in completion percentage (66.7).

Auburn: The Tigers will return for their third straight game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when they play Washington on September 1 to open the 2018 season.

The first half was all defense. The Knights have scored 155 points in the first quarter and 185 points in the second quarter.

The Knights improved to 13-0 with a defense that sacked Auburn's Jarrett Stidham six times and intercepted him twice in the fourth quarter. They marched down the field 75 yards on their first possession, and seemed nearly certain to add onto their 7-0 lead on the third possession. That's part of a streak of 222 PATs made by Auburn, which hasn't had a missed extra-point attempt since November 9, 2013.

The Knights, who lead the nation with 49.4 points per game, continued their streak of scoring more than 30 points in every game this season.

Stidham answered that mistake by completing 21 of 28 passes, totaling 237 yards through the air and 51 on the ground, and scoring a touchdown in a 26-14 win that clinched the SEC West for Auburn. Johnson was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting for 2017.

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