Auburn 31, Louisville 24
Sept. 5 – Auburn seemingly had the game well in hand up 24-0 in the third quarter, highlighted by an 82-yard fumble return for a score from Justin Garrett along with a 33-yard touchdown catch from Ricardo Louis. Louis added an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth, but Louisville clawed its way back with Brandon Radcliff running for two, two-yard touchdowns and Lamar Jackson running for a score, but the Auburn defense held late to get out with the win.
– This wasn’t the offensive explosion everyone was hoping for, but the Tiger faithful will trade that for a defense that rocks. The Tigers gave up over 400 yards, but they also forced two huge turnovers and managed to hang on. Jeremy Johnson and the offense had its moments, but it was uneven. That’s going to change – with a little more work and a few more games, the kinks will be worked out. The overall performance was better than the final score.
– Jeremy Johnson completed 11-of-21 passes for137 yards and a score with three picks. Peyton Barber ran 24 times for 115 yards
– The Cardinals kept on battling. They weren’t having any luck or success, and they could’ve just gone through the motions when down big in the second half, but they were right in it with two terrific late scoring drives and enough from Reggie Bonnafon and Lamar Jackson to get excited about what the offense can potentially do. The Auburn offense has a slew of weapons, but the Cardinals were able to hold it in check by not letting the passing game come up with the big plays. Jeremy Johnson was held in check.
– Lamar Jackson completed 9-of-20 passes for 100 yards with a pick, and ran 16 times for 106 yards and a score. Reggie Bonnafon completed 8-of-13 passes for 67 yards and ran eight times for 14 yards.
Auburn – Louisville Game Rating: B
Auburn Hangs On, Holds Off Louisville
Follow and/or Contact @RichCirminiello
Jeremy Johnson has a high ceiling. But he’s not the sure thing, slam-dunk so many expected him to be this season.
Johnson is a gifted quarterback, and he’ll put up big numbers as the triggerman of Gus Malzahn’s Auburn offense. Based on today’s performance, though, he still has a ton to learn before SEC play begins. Sure, Louisville has a quality defense, with multiple next-level players, but Johnson made many terrible throws and decisions. And those mistakes must be cleaned up before the trip to Baton Rouge in two weeks.
It’s a good thing for Auburn that Gus Malzahn hired Will Muschamp to coordinate the defense, because the D was the star before running out of gas in the final quarter. There are fissures, you bet, yet the Tigers have made strides after yielding at least 31 points to last year’s final six FBS opponents. They were aggressive, opportunistic and more reliable than at any point in 2014. And their confidence should grow off this effort.
After one week, the Auburn defense is already gaining some ground on the offense. And that’s cause for optimism on the Plains. Malzahn’s attack will be fine in time, especially considering the way sophomore Peyton Barber handled the rushing load. Defense was the biggest question mark entering 2015, and the Tigers got a few answers today on which they can build.
Auburn and Will Muschamp Hold off Louisville’s Late Rally
Follow and/or Contact @PhilHarrisonCFB
Let’s pump the brakes on the Will Muschamp gravy train shall we? Yeah, yeah the Auburn defense looked much better than last year, but how could it really be that much worse.
In the first half, the newly refurbished unit looked like it had a come to Jesus moment over the offseason. The pass rush was amazing, the secondary had better coverage than a Verizon cell-phone map, and everyone seemed to be on the same page.
But then shortly after everyone patted each other on the back, the Tiger defense had a hard time closing things out.
Some of it was dictated by playing with the lead, but the Cardinals ended the game with more yards, more possession time, and a better percentage on third and fourth downs than the vaunted Auburn offense.
Look, it’s just the first game, and a win is worth its weight in gold early on in a season against a quality opponent, but you have to wonder if the fast-paced offense that Gus Malzahn employs will ever work in heavenly harmony with any defensive-scheme.
The good news for Auburn fans is that the defense just has to be solid and not dominating like many folks are claiming we all witnessed today.