Auburn beats Memphis in Birmingham Bowl 31-10, finishes season 7-6
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WHNT) – Jeremy Johnson helped Auburn close out the season in fine fashion Wednesday when he came off the bench to lead the Tigers to a 31-10 victory over Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl.
Johnson threw the go-ahead touchdown pass in the third quarter, ran for another score early in the fourth and brought life to what had been a hard-fought game that was 10-10 before the dramatics begin in front of a Birmingham Bowl record crowd of 59,430 in Legion Field.
Auburn running back Jovon Robinson was named the game’s MVP. The junior running back finished the day with 25 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson’s play, coupled with an Auburn defense that allowed three points and Peyton Barber crossing the 1,000-yard rushing barrier for the season, allowed the Tigers to finish the season with a 7-6 record. Memphis fell to 9-4.
Johnson, subbing for starter Sean White, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Smith for the lead with 3:12 left in the third quarter. His 5-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 24-10.
Barber’s running allowed Auburn to have at least one 1,000-yard rusher in seven straight seasons.
Auburn showed a little trickery early in the game before pounding away at Memphis in the second half.
A fake punt set up a 20-yard Daniel Carlson for Auburn’s first score and Kerryon Johnson scored on an 8-yard run out of the Wildcat formation for a 10-0 first quarter lead.
A Memphis field goal and a Reggis Ball 56-yard interception return tied things up in the second quarter.
Carlson’s field goal was a record-setter. It gave him 23 on the season, a single-season Auburn record. Johnson’s TD run came with 1:58 left in the first quarter.
Auburn’s Blake Countess came through with another big play, blocking a Jake Elliott field goal try with 5:55 left in the second quarter.
Auburn Athletics contributed to this story.