Minnesota closed out its dream season with a win in the 2019 Outback Bowl, defeating Auburn 31-24 Wednesday.
Receiver Tyler Johnson was the best player on the field with 12 catches for 204 yards at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, keying an offense that totaled 494 yards from scrimmage against the No. 14 scoring defense in the FBS. It was enough to give the Golden Gophers their 11th win of the year, the program's most since 1904, in 13 games.
It's only the team's second season of double-digit wins in the past 100 years.
Bo Nix totaled 176 passing yards in the loss for Auburn (9-4) as head coach Gus Malzahn fell to 2-5 in his bowl career, including 0-5 in January.
- Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota: 19-of-29, 278 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota: 20 carries, 140 rushing yards, 1 TD
- Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota: 12 catches, 204 receiving yards, 2 TDs
- Bo Nix, QB, Auburn: 17-of-26, 176 passing yards, 1 TD
- JaTarvious Whitlow, RB, Auburn: 9 carries, 24 rushing yards, 1 TD
- Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn: 6 catches, 49 receiving yards
Tyler Johnson Steals Show As Minnesota Torches Auburn Defense
Only once this year did Auburn allow more than 24 points in a game before Wednesday. The defensive line was known as one of the best in the country, led by All-American Derrick Brown. However, it was the Minnesota offensive line that won the battle in the trenches.
The unit sent a message early on with Mohamed Ibrahim and Rodney Smith picking up big chunks of yardage on the ground.
The Gophers outrushed Auburn 141-5 in the first half and finished with 215 yards on the ground.
This helped open things up for the passing attack, where Tyler Johnson did his damage.
The senior receiver first turned heads with his acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone.
He then gave the Gophers a fourth-quarter lead with a 73-yard touchdown.
Johnson had an incredible career at Minnesota and saved one of his best games last to help Minnesota rack up points against an elite opponent.
Freshman Bo Nix Flashes Ability But Can't Generate Enough Offense
Auburn couldn't do much offensively to start the game, only keeping up on the scoreboard thanks to a key special teams play.
The Tigers had 17 points at halftime despite just 110 yards from scrimmage.
Still, Bo Nix kept Auburn in the game with great individual plays.
In the second quarter, Nix found Sal Cannella for a 37-yard touchdown to convert a 4th-and-5 play.
The squad tied the game again in the third quarter after an extended drive led by Nix.
On a day when the run game provided little help (2.2 yards per carry), Nix was able to make key throws in and outside the pocket.
The problem was the lack of consistency and the inability to sustain drives. The offense finished 3-of-11 on third downs, forcing the team to spend the majority of the game on defense.
The defense also hurt its cause by allowing key conversions on fourth down.
Losing the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball led to problems throughout the game.
Nix flashed his potential in the Outback Bowl, but it wasn't enough to come away with a win.