By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
There are a lot of happy people in the state of Alabama following the playing of the 10th Annual Birmingham Bowl on Wednesday (Dec. 30).
The City of Birmingham was expecting an income of more than $20 million, ESPN had a near full Legion Field (which looked great for their television audience) and Auburn won its 23rd bowl game.
As entertaining as it was, the game was in doubt until AU quarterback Jeremy Johnson took over and guided the Tigers to three second half touchdowns en route to a 31-10 victory over Memphis.
The Tigers drew first blood with 8:35 to go in the first period on the strength of a 20-yard Daniel Carlson field goal.
The score was set up by a fake field goal.
Auburn found pay dirt again when Kerryon Johnson scored on an 8-yard run to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter, however, belonged to the Memphis Tigers, as costly Auburn turnovers set up two Memphis scores.
Following an Auburn turnover, Jake Elliott drilled a 53-yard field goal to cut the Auburn lead to 10-3 with 10:03 to go in the first half.
With 3:06 to go in the half, Reggis Ball intercepted a Sean White pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10.
The second half was a different story, as Auburn put together three scoring drives while limiting Memphis to only three yards on each of their next three possessions over the next 20 minutes of play.
Drives of 44, 76 and 6 yards would be the big difference in the game. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Auburn went up by 21 points.
The Auburn Tigers dominated the game statistics.
Auburn picked up 23 first downs to 13 for Memphis; Auburn gained 402 yards in total offense while holding Memphis to 205 yards; and Auburn rushed for 251 yards while holding Memphis to 97 yards.
Auburn was led by Memphis native Jovon Robinson’s 126 yards rushing on 27 carries. Robinson was named the game’s MVP.
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch was 16-of-37 passing for 108 yards with one interception.
Auburn finished the season with a 7-6 record, while Memphis fell to 9-4. Auburn now has a 23-15-2 bowl record.