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Quick-starting Auburn rides big plays to win in opener
September 5, 2015
 
Auburn Tigers
 Game 1
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
-
 Louisville Cardinals
0
0
10
14
24
 (6) Auburn Tigers
7
3
7
7
31
 
 
 Quick Stats
AU
UL
 Total Plays
62
81
 1st Downs
21
27
     3rd down efficiency
4-10
8-16
     4th down efficiency
0-1
3-3
 Total Yards
327
405
 Passing Yards
137
167
     Comp-Att
11-21
17-33
     Yards per pass
12.5
9.8
 Rushing Yards
190
238
     Rushing attempts
41
48
     Yards per rush
4.6
5.0
 Penalties-Yards
8-80
5-35
 Turnovers
3
2
     Fumbles lost
0
1
     Interceptions thrown
3
1
 Time of Possession
29:10
30:50
 
 Stat Leaders
 Passing
C-Att
Yds
TD
Int
 AU - Johnson
11-21
190
1
3
 UL - Jackson
9-20
100
0
1
 Rushing
Car
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Barber
24
116
0
14
 UL - Jackson
16
111
1
19
 Receiving
Rec
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Louis
3
54
1
33
 UL - Peete
3
60
0
35
 
 2015 Schedule
09/05
W
 (6) Auburn 31, Louisville 24
09/12
-
 (6) Auburn vs. JSU
09/19
-
 (6) Auburn @ (14) LSU
09/26
-
 (6) Auburn vs. Miss. State
10/03
-
 (6) Auburn vs. San Jose State
10/15
-
 (6) Auburn @ Kentucky
10/24
-
 (6) Auburn @ (18) Arkansas
10/31
-
 (6) Auburn vs. (17) Ole Miss
11/07
-
 (6) Auburn @ Texas A&M
11/14
-
 (6) Auburn vs. (9) Georgia
11/21
-
 (6) Auburn vs. Idaho
11/28
-
 (6) Auburn vs. (3) Alabama
   
By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com
 
ATLANTA, Ga. Auburn's defense set the tone, scored some points and helped the Tigers to a cushy lead through the first half and beyond in the season-opener.
 
Good thing the defense played well early and Peyton Barber rushed for 115 yards, because the combo helped the Tigers to a 31-24 win Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
 
Auburn led 24-0 in the third quarter before Louisville made it interesting, cutting its deficit to seven with 2:18 to play. The Tigers played keep-away from there.

"We made some mistakes in all three phases, but we also did some good things," said coach Gus Malzahn. "We're young in a lot of other areas — on defense, and a lot of new guys touching the ball, and we found a way to win. I'm excited."
 
The Tigers happily showed off their new defense early, setting up an early touchdown following an interception, scoring again on an 82-yard fumble return by Justin Garrett and generally frustrating offensive-minded Louisville until the second half.
 
Will Muschamp, the former Auburn defensive coordinator who returned to his former job last December, was a complement to Gus Malzahn's offense, Barber, quarterback Jeremy Johnson and receiver Ricardo Louis' offensive exploits.
 
Johnson threw for a touchdown and ran for another, Louis caught a touchdown pass and ran for another and Barber came off the bench, replacing the injured Roc Thomas, to break through the 100-yard barrier, gaining 95 of those in the second half when Auburn needed him most.
 
"He has waited his turn. He's had a great attitude," Malzahn said. "He has a chance to be a very good running back. I'm very pleased."
 
Auburn led 24-0 midway through the third quarter and everything seemed to be in fine shape.
 
"We were harassing the quarterback in the first half," Malzahn said. "The defense played very good in the first half."
 
The latter half of the game was more of a challenge, and losing defensive end Carl Lawson to an injury didn't help.
 
"Carl Lawson is an impact player. With him being out, obviously, there's a difference," Malzahn said.
 
Lawson wasn't the only one who missed time after being hurt.
 
"We do have some guys banged up. I don't know the extent of all the injuries," Malzahn said.
 
Auburn played on.
 
The rebuild offensive line helped Auburn to 190 rushing yards.
 
"We started running the football, and I think that was very important in the second and third quarter," Malzahn said. "We have a new right guard, we rotated our left guards. We have a chance to be a very good offensive line. I feel they just need to play together some more.
 
Johnson hit 11-of-21 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown and three interceptions.
 
"I think he was trying to force a few things, trying to make some plays," Malzahn said. "He's going to be fine. He made some very good plays to help us win."

Auburn's defense showed the way this time in the first half, setting up a Johnson 1-yard touchdown run following a Tray Matthews interception on Louisville's first play; and Garrett's 82-yard fumble return to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 6:54 left in the second quarter.
 
That was the longest fumble return since at least 1969 when Auburn began recording that stat.
 
Daniel Carlson then hit a career-best 56-yard field goal to make 17-0 with 34 seconds left in the half. That was the longest Auburn field goal since 2003 when Philip Yost hit a 57-yarder and the third longest in school history.
 
A 33-yard Johnson-to-Ricardo Louis touchdown pass made it 24-0 with 11:21 in the third quarter. Louisville finally scored on a 33-yard John Wallace field goal with 7:07 left in the third, then made it 24-10 on a 10-yard run by Lamar Jackson.
 
Louis' 8-yard touchdown on an end around gave Auburn a 31-10 lead with 10:04 remaining in the game. The Cardinals scored to make it 31-17 with 6:21 remaining. Louisville cut it to 31-24, but didn't get the ball back.
 
Auburn went young early, starting true freshmen Chandler Cox and Tim Irvin. They were the first true freshmen to start on opening day since Reese Dismukes in 2011.
 
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

 

 

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