ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- While Larry Johnson clamored for the ball,
Ronnie Brown kept getting it.
Ronnie Brown provides the Tigers' offense with versatility.
Brown scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left and
outplayed the Heisman Trophy finalist as Auburn (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 Associated Press) beat No. 10
Penn State 13-9 Wednesday in the Capital One Bowl.
The final tally: Brown 184 yards, Johnson just 72.
Johnson, who ran for 2,015 regular-season yards, couldn't break
a long one among his 20 carries in his final Penn State game. The
Nittany Lions (9-4) fell to 1-4 when he failed to reach 100 yards.
Johnson groused that the offense was ''trying to be too cute''
instead of just giving it to him.
''You get 20 carries against a good defense, there's no way in
the world you're going to go over 100 against a good defense,''
said Johnson, who lost 6 yards on his first five carries. ''You
pound it and pound it and pound it, and that's the outcome.
''If we'd have done that, maybe the score would be reversed.''
Maybe not, the Tigers said.
''All week, the TV and the media were just talking about seeing
how far over 200 he's going to get,'' Auburn defensive end Reggie
Torbor said of Johnson. ''Like we're a joke. We feed off that. The
more they talk, the better we get.''
Auburn linebacker Mark Brown said Johnson was on the sidelines
begging for the ball.
''We heard him a couple of times after he made a run telling the
coach he could do that all day -- just give the ball to him,'' Brown
Instead, Ronnie Brown kept getting chances.
Brown ran 37 times and scored twice as the Tigers (9-4) won a
bowl game for the first time since 1998.
Brown, voted the game's most valuable player, was eager to prove himself against
''Personally, that gave me a lot of motivation to be going up
against someone like that, a Heisman candidate with so many
skills,'' the sophomore said. ''And for us to be an underdog, that
kind of gave us a lift as a team.''
Penn State quarterback Zack Mills was temporarily benched in the
second half and couldn't convert two late drives into points.
Mills threw two consecutive incompletions before getting
intercepted by Roderick Hood. That gave the Tigers the ball at Penn
State's 27 with 1:49 left, but four consecutive runs by Brown only
worked the clock down to 42 seconds.
With no timeouts left, Mills moved it to Auburn's 43 with a
14-yard scramble and two short passes to Matt Kranchick. His
shuffle pass under pressure fell short of a first down on fourth
''We just came together and said, 'They're not going to get into
the end zone,''' linebacker Dontarrious Thomas said. ''As long as
they kept getting field goals, we knew our offense was finally
going to break one into the end zone.''
Penn State's four defeats came by a total of 20 points, as coach
Joe Paterno failed to pad his NCAA record 20 bowl victories after a
two-year postseason absence.
The Tigers beat their third top 10 opponent of the season.
Brown passed the 1,000-yard mark despite starting only five
Down 9-7, the Tigers started their winning drive at Penn State's
40 with 5:05 left after Robbie Gould's 36-yard punt. Brown carried
on five of the six plays, but Jason Campbell's pass on the
two-point attempt fell short.
Mills finished 8-for-24 for 67 yards and was replaced on two
series by Michael Robinson. All-Big Ten receiver Bryant Johnson was
held without a catch.
''The thing about a game like this is you hope someone has a
good day,'' Paterno said. ''Larry didn't have a good game, Zach
didn't have a good game. They did a great job covering Bryant
Johnson. It was one of those days -- what am I going to tell you?''
The Nittany Lions' only points came on Gould's field goals of
21, 27 and 31 yards. He missed a 33-yarder in the first half.
The Tigers borrowed a chapter from Paterno's playbook to take a
7-6 lead with 3:52 left in the third quarter. They ran it 13
consecutive times and milked nearly seven minutes off the clock, with
Brown twisting into the end zone on fourth down from the goal line.
He carried on the first six plays and the last four, gaining 59
yards on the drive. The Nittany Lions had gone nearly 10 quarters
without giving up a point in the postseason.
The Tigers trailed 6-0 at halftime, losing two turnovers,
committing 74 yards in penalties and getting Damon Duval's 24-yard
field goal try blocked.
''We tried to shoot ourselves in the foot in the first half, but
we cut down on the penalties in the second half and we decided that
running the football was going to win the game for us,'' Auburn
coach Tommy Tuberville said.