Auburn runs past Memphis, 31-10, in Birmingham Bowl

Jason Smith runs in for a touchdown during Auburn's 31-10 win over Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Jeremy Johnson came off the bench to run and pass for a touchdown, lifting Auburn to a 31-10 victory over Memphis Wednesday in the Birmingham Bowl.

Johnson sparked a sputtering offense that suddenly 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.

A defense without a coordinator didn’t allow an offensive touchdown for Memphis (9-4) and star quarterback Paxton Lynch.

Johnson gave Auburn a 17-10 lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Smith. He ran 17 yards on his second play from scrimmage and opened the fourth quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run on his third.

Marcus Davis set up two of the touchdowns with punt returns of 28 and 56 yards.

Lynch could never get on track in what might be the final college game for projected top-five NFL draft pick.

Kerryon Johnson
Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson (21) catches a pass on a fake punt before he carried it for the first down during the first half of the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game against Memphis, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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