McKenzie Milton Dominant as UCF Beats Auburn in 2018 Peach Bowl

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn ranks 13th allowing 312.3 yards and ninth allowing 17.3 points per game.

UCF finished the season as the only unbeaten team in FBS after surviving a shaky first half to defeat Auburn 34-27 on Monday in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Under a different playoff system UCF might have been given a shot to play for the actual national title, but the College Football Playoff committee didn't seriously consider the Knights for a spot in the four-team playoff. Southeastern Conference runner-up Auburn was seventh. I think we were sacked five times on offense.

"We should not have lost this game", Williams said. "I think we had a thousand sacks today, so, I mean, I guess we did something right".

Draftanalyst.com projects Stidham, a redshirt-sophomore, as a second or third round pick.

UCF's six sacks of Jarrett Stidham were the Knights' most all season. Now, Auburn must return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for its 2018 opener against Washington in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on September 1. The Tigers got the ball to the UCF 21-yard line with 33 seconds left, but Stidham threw a brutal INT under pressure to end the game. There's a reason Scott Frost is coaching this game and hasn't left early to get a head start on his Nebraska job. "In both games, we ended the game with a turnover which is - it's kind of two-fold", defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. "But it wasn't right". It doesn't matter if this team was winless just two seasons ago.

The first half was all defense. He finished 16 of 35. "I was very impressed".

"It was a miscommunication", said Stidham of his final interception. "We just tried to bounce back from it the best way we could, and it didn't go our way". Auburn went 2-2 against playoff teams and ran to the wire against Clemson in a 14-6 loss.

The Tigers scored again on their next drive, taking a 20-13 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Johnson with 7:55 left in the third quarter. It's an enticing matchup, too: The Knights rank 111th nationally surrendering 262.8 passing yards per game.

It was a slow-starting game, with only an Auburn field goal in the first quarter. The margin could have been wider had UCF kicker Matthew Wright not missed a pair of field goals.

The injury kept Johnson from being that player against Georgia on December 2, when he set season-lows with 13 carries and 44 yards while also losing a crucial fumble.

"I'm hurting for our seniors", Malzahn said.

"One good thing about playing the position, and Jarrett has a really good understanding of, is you can't live and die on every throw, every snap and every game", Chip Lindsey said earlier this month. Davis suffered a concussion in the Tigers' loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship. The last bowl game the Knights won was the Fiesta Bowl in 2014, defeating Baylor University.

Parise had surgery on October 24 to address a disk problem in his lower back that caused leg pain and weakness.

Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

AP PREVIEW: The Auburn Tigers hoped that the SEC Championship Game would be the first of two trips to Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season.

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