Outplayed, Out-Coached, Outback
Twelve hours after the U.S. welcomed 2020 the Auburn Tigers traveled down to Tampa, Florida to play the 10-2 Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2020 Outback Bowl in Raymond James Stadium.
Outplayed (Game Recap):
Minnesota started the game with the ball and on 3rd and 2 at the Minnesota 33 Tanner Morgan’s pass was intercepted by Javaris Davis and returned to the Minn. 12 yard line. The Tigers were unable to punch it in for a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal which would begin the trend of a struggling Auburn offense that would remain prevalent though out most of the game. Minnesota would then drive down the field and answer the Tigers with a field goal to tie the game at three a piece. Noah Igbinoghene of Auburn would then return the Kickoff on the next play to give Auburn the lead and momentum back. The problem is the Auburn defense would have to go back on the field, another theme throughout the matchup. The Auburn defense would then rise up and force Minnesota to punt after a three and out. Christian Tutt would fumble the punt and give Minnesota the ball back at the Auburn 40. Then three plays later the Gophers would score a touchdown off of the Auburn mistake to tie back the game at ten all. After exchanging punts for a while the Golden Gophers would have one of their most impressive drives taking the ball 92 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown to take the lead at 17-10 with 5:52 left in the 1st half. Auburn would answer Minnesota and take advantage of good field position and score a touchdown on a 7 play, 64 yard drive to tie the game at 17. Auburn scored on a 37 yard pass to Sal Cannella on 4th and 5. Auburn seemed to leave to much time on the clock and Minnesota rowed the boat 75 yards down the field and scored a touchdown giving them the lead at the half 24-17.
Both Auburn and Minnesota would start the half punting back to each other until, Auburn had its best drive of the game taking the ball 86 yards down the field on 13 plays for a touchdown. Minnesota would get the ball back and go three and out to give the Tigers the ball back at the Auburn 20 yard line. Auburn would then seem to punt on a 4th down on the Auburn 49 but, would fake the punt and fail to convert. The Gophers would take the ball right down to the Auburn 28 yard line but, would be stopped on fourth down by the Auburn defense. After arguably the biggest stop of the day for the defense, the Auburn offense would take just over a minute off the clock and go three and out. Auburn would punt to Minnesota and on the next play Tanner Morgan would throw a 73 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Johnson to give the Gophers a 31-24 lead. Auburn would then punt right back to Minnesota after 5 plays and Minnesota would run out the clock and win the 2020 Outback Bowl 31-24.
As it seemed that the Auburn Tigers had turned a corner after their exciting Iron Bowl win many were very disappointed and upset to see the Tigers lay another egg in a major New Year’s Bowl Game. The Tigers failed to achieve a ten win season and the Gophers would gain their 11th win of the season. Now, Gus Malzahn had lost a least 4 games in each of the last six seasons. The shocking disappointment was the fact that the Auburn defense could not stop the Minnesota offense consistently. The other reason the Tigers could not win the ballgame was the lack to be able to run the football. Minnesota had 215 rushing yards to Auburn’s 56. Minnesota was able to get a huge advantage on the Auburn Tigers early in the ballgame as the Golden Gophers lead the Tigers 37:35 minutes to 22:25. Auburn also seemed to hold out Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson more than usual. Either way, the Minnesota Golden Gophers seemed like the walked in to Raymond James Stadium more prepared than Auburn and ended up winning the game.