Johnson lifts Auburn past Memphis 31-10 in Birmingham Bowl

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, center, celebrates with his players after they defeated Memphis 31-10 in the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Jeremy Johnson and Auburn found a measure of redemption and, finally, something to celebrate in their season finale.

The Tigers’ former starting quarterback came off the bench to run and pass for touchdowns and the similarly maligned defense contained Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch throughout in Auburn’s 31-10 victory Wednesday in the Birmingham Bowl.

Johnson capped a disappointing season by sparking a sputtering offense that scored three touchdowns in a five-minute span starting late in the third quarter. Auburn (7-6) avoided the first losing season of Gus Malzahn’s 11-year college coaching career.

“We knew we had to start scoring touchdowns because we knew what kind of offense they were, even though the (Auburn) defense was playing great,” Johnson said. “In our mind, we were just thinking about getting in the end zone.”

He helped get them there a few times.

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