Jeremy Johnson with 4 TDs, leads Auburn over Idaho 56-34
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn's goal against Idaho was simple. Coming into the game with five wins, the Tigers wanted to gain bowl eligibility before heading into rivalry week, and Gus Malzahn's squad did just that.
Jeremy Johnson threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores to lead Auburn to a 56-34 victory over Idaho on Saturday night.
The Vandals (3-8) outgained the Tigers 479 to 460, but Auburn (6-5) converted all six of its red-zone opportunities and scored three touchdowns off of Idaho's three turnovers to pull away in the second half.
''It's always good to get bowl eligible,'' Malzahn said. ''That's a big deal. That's 15 more practices. That's a reward for your seniors, so that's big.''
The Tigers marched 66 yards on eight plays on its first drive of the game to take an early lead, but Idaho responded with a 40-second touchdown drive, which included a 71-yard pass from Matt Linehan to Callen Hightower on the Vandals' first play from scrimmage.
After the teams traded punts on their second possessions, Auburn scored on three consecutive drives.
Johnathan Ford's pick-6 stretched the lead to 35-10 midway through the first half.
Johnson threw a touchdown on Auburn's opening drive in the second half and recorded his second rushing touchdown of the day on the second drive.
''I thought (Johnson) did a good job through the air, and I thought he did a good job on the ground,'' Malzahn said. ''He managed the offense very well.''
Roc Thomas capped off Auburn's highest-scoring performance of the season with a 56-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Idaho quarterback Jake Luton fired two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but Auburn was able to hold on for its largest win of the season.
Auburn eclipsed 200 yards rushing for the third consecutive game, and the 297-yard output was the second-highest for the Tigers this season. Jovon Robinson led Auburn with 99 rushing yards, while Thomas pitched in 78 and Peyton Barber added 47.
Linehan and Luton combined for 356 yards on 29-of-47 passing. Receivers Trent Cowan and Callen Hightower combined for 279 yards on 18 receptions.
Auburn stays home for next Saturday's matchup against No. 3 Alabama (10-1), while Idaho will host Texas State (3-7) to conclude regular-season play.