Senior wide receiver Tyler Johnson had a career game in his final collegiate appearance and sophomore running back Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown as No. 18 Minnesota stunned No. 12 Auburn 31-24 on Wednesday in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
Johnson caught two touchdown passes, one on a spectacular one-handed catch in the back of the end zone, in setting single-game career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (204). In the process, he became Minnesota’s all-time leading receiving in yardage (3,305) and touchdown catches (33).
Johnson’s 73-yard scoring reception gave the underdog Gophers (11-2) their final lead with 10:26 remaining, and the Gophers then sealed the win by killing the final 8:38 with a 16-play drive.
The victory gave Minnesota its first 11-win season since the 1904 team finished 13-0.
Quarterback Bo Nix passed for only 176 yards for the Tigers (9-4), who gave up a season-high 215 rushing yards to the Gophers.
Auburn finally mounted some offense in the third quarter after the Gophers dominated the first half. The Tigers scored the quarter’s only points on running back JaTarvious Whitlow’s 3-yard burst that capped a 13-play, 83-yard drive and tied the game 24-24.
The Gophers dominated the first half with 291 yards in total offense to 110 for the Tigers but led only 24-17. Minnesota had a 15-4 advantage in first downs and ran off 43 plays to Auburn’s 22 to control the ball for nearly 21 of the first 30 minutes.
The Tigers rushed for only five net yards in the opening half while giving up 141, which was 5.5 more rushing yards than they usually surrender. The first of Auburn’s two touchdowns came on Noah Igbinoghene’s 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, which tied an Outback Bowl record.
—Field Level Media