CAPITAL ONE BOWL Auburn holds Johnson in check
The No. 19 Tigers upset No. 10 Penn State, 13-9.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Reggie Torbor figures Larry Johnson would be a linebacker if he played at Auburn.
That's surely an overstatement, but the nation's leading rusher was outplayed in his final college game by Ronnie Brown as the 19th-ranked Tigers beat No. 10 Penn State 13-9 on Wednesday in the Capital One Bowl.
Brown, who was only starting because of a midseason injury to Carnell Williams, rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries for Auburn (9-4).
Johnson, third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, never seemed to get on track and was limited to 72 yards on 20 runs.
"He can stay up there and be Penn State's savior if he wants," said Torbor, a defensive end. "At Auburn, he probably wouldn't play. He'd probably be on defense. Personally I don't think, with all my heart, he's better than Carnell or Ronnie."
Two late stands
Auburn sealed its first bowl victory since 1998 on Brown's 17-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left and two late defensive stands.
Brown accomplished two big goals: reaching 1,000 yards and outplaying Johnson.
"Personally, that gave me a lot of motivation," Brown said. "If you're going up against someone like that, it kind of gives you a lift going into the game."
Johnson rushed for 2,015 regular-season yards but failed to score for only the third time this season. The Nittany Lions (9-4) fell to 1-4 when he didn't reach 100 yards.
Johnson groused that the offense was "trying to be too cute." His strategy of choice: Give him the ball.
"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."
Penn State's other offensive stars fared no better.
Quarterback Zack Mills was 8-of-24 for 67 yards with an interception and was temporarily benched in the second half. All-Big Ten receiver Bryant Johnson was held without a catch.
Mills couldn't convert two late drives into points, throwing two straight incompletions before getting intercepted by Roderick Hood on the first try.
Auburn worked the clock down to 42 seconds.
With no timeouts left, the Nittany Lions couldn't get further than Auburn's 43.