ATLANTA, GA. (WSFA) - The Auburn Tigers have returned to Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time since their loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
The No. 7 Tigers are looking to finish out the season with a bowl win against the undefeated No. 12 University of Central Florida Knights in the 50th annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
After a welcome banquet and festivities Tuesday night, the Tigers were ready to get back on the field. Players spent part of the day Wednesday practicing at nearby Georgia Tech.
Auburn head coach Coach Gus Malzahn later spoke to the media.
Malzahn said he thinks his team is in good shape at this point.
"Our guys are locked in. We are here with our game face on," calling the team's mindset for the game "more of a business trip probably than what it has been in the past with the bowl".
Despite beating rivals Alabama and Georgia in the regular season and pushing to become the first two-loss team into the College Football Playoffs, the Tigers' hopes of reaching the national championship were dashed in a rematch loss to the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship.
Not all is lost, though. Malzahn has a chance to cap off the season on a positive note by taking his players to an eleventh win, something Auburn has done six times in its history.
It won't be easy. UCF is the only undefeated Power Five team left standing in the nation and has the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation.
"Just turn the film on and you can see why they're undefeated," Malzahn said. "Very explosive on offense. They've got a lot of guys who can run on defense..."
There is good news for Auburn. RB Kerryon Johnson will play in the bowl game, Malzahn confirmed.
"Kerryon was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and anytime you have that guy on the field, it really gives you a boost," Malzahn explained. "Like I said, he's getting healthier and it's a good thing to have him out there."
Wednesday evening, the teams will take turns having fun at Andretti Indoor Karting.
The Tigers and Knights kickoff at 11:30 a.m. Central on New Year's Day.