Today's game


Sugar Bowl

No. 3 Auburn (12-0) vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech (10-2)

Where: Superdome, New Orleans

Time, TV: 8 p.m., channels 2, 7

Key stats: Auburn is fifth in the nation in total defense (269.5 ypg). Virginia Tech is fourth (265.4 ypg).

About Auburn: The Tigers say they're finished complaining about the Bowl Championship Series and are focused on the Hokies, and that's good for Auburn fans. Tailbacks Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown have combined for 1,949 yards rushing and 20 TDs. Senior QB Jason Campbell had his best season, but he won't be able to win this with only his arm. The defense has been better than expected, allowing an NCAA-low four rushing TDs, but LB Antarrious Williams will miss the game with a wrist injury.

About Virginia Tech: The Hokies win with a stout defense and a strong running game. QB Bryan Randall was the Atlantic Coast Conference's Player of the Year, but he will struggle if he is forced to the air. Tailbacks Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes combined for 1,299 rushing yards. No receiver has more than 25 catches, but nearly one of every seven Tech completions goes for a TD. Tech held all but two foes to less than 146 rushing yards.

The buzz: Auburn has allowed 39 first-half points this season.

The line: Auburn by 5 1/2

The pick: Auburn, 24-20.

- Orlando Sentinel

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