Auburn coach Gus Malzahn (left) shakes hands with Minnesota's P.J. Fleck after the game. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Auburn loses, Alabama wins in bowl games

Tyler Johnson had 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns Wednesday to become Minnesota’s career receiving leader and propel the 16th-ranked Gophers to a 31-24 victory over No. 9 Auburn in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

Johnson broke Eric Decker's school record for receiving yards on his second catch of the day and became Minnesota’s all-time leader for scoring receptions on a one-handed, 2-yard TD catch that put the Gophers (11-2) up 24-17 at halftime. His 73-yard catch-and-run put his team ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota, which began the season with nine straight victories before losing two of its last three to Big Ten rivals Iowa and Wisconsin, finished with more than 10 wins for the first time since 1904. Auburn (9-4) concluded a season in which all four of its losses came against opponents ranked in the Top 25.

Tanner Morgan completed 19 of 29 passes for 278 yards, one interception and both of the TDs to Johnson, who finished with 3,305 receiving yards and 33 TD catches in his career. Receiver Seth Green tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Witham on fourth-and-inches midway through the second quarter.

Scores from bowl games

Noah Igbinoghene, who mother and father were both Olympic track and field athletes in Nigeria, returned a kickoff 96 yards for Auburn’s first touchdown. Bo Nix threw a 37-yard TD pass to Sal Cannella and JaTarvious Whitlow scored 3-yard run that made it 24-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Morgan broke the tie with his second TD throw to Johnson, who posted the 16th 100-yard game of his career and caught at least one TD pass for the seventh straight game, tying a another school record.

The Gophers dominated on the ground, too, outrushing Auburn 215 yards to 56. Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 140 yards on 20 carries, and Rodney Smith finished with 69 on 16 attempts.

Nix was 17 of 26 for 176 yards, one TD and no interceptions.

Najee Harris #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide heads for the end zone. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Alabama 35, Michigan 16: Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, Jerry Jeudy became the first Alabama player to top 200 receiving yards in a bowl game and the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide topped the No. 17 Wolverines in the Citrus Bowl.

Jones connected with Jeudy for an 85-yard score on Alabama’s first snap, DeVonta Smith and Miller Forristall added touchdown grabs in the second half for the Crimson Tide (11-2), which trailed 16-14 at the break. Najee Harris ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama.

Jeudy finished with six catches for 204 yards. His previous career-high for yards was 147 set last season against Missouri, and the Alabama bowl record had stood for more than a half-century — Ray Perkins had 178 yards against Nebraska in the 1967 Sugar Bowl.

Jones — who took over as Alabama’s starter when Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the season with an injury in November — completed 16 of 25 passes for 327 yards.

Shea Patterson completed 17 of 37 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown for Michigan (9-4), which dropped its fourth consecutive bowl game. Quinn Nordin kicked three field goals for the Wolverines, including a school-record-tying 57-yarder to end the first half and give Michigan the lead.

The Crimson Tide had two touchdown drives of 90 seconds or less — Jeudy’s score on Alabama’s first play and a long go-ahead touchdown grab by Smith early in the third quarter. They were quick-strike all season long, with 22 TD drives taking 1:30 or less and 38 TDs coming in 2:00 or less.

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