Lousiville takes on Auburn in the Chik-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Auburn fans hope to be playing at the same stadium in December for the SEC Championship. Their chances hinge on the performance of quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Johnson was the backup for Nick Marshall over the past two season. While he is not expected to add as much of a rushing threat to the offense, his ability to throw the deep ball has Auburn fans excited.
According to College Press Box, the Cardinals only return three starters on offense. The position to watch is at receiver where Louisville lost a lot of their top players to either the NFL or graduation.
Here is what you need to know about the match-up:
Louisville vs. Auburn
Saturday, September 5th 3:30 PM
Georgia Dome; Atlanta, Georgia
Auburn by 10.5 (Line according to OddsShark and subject to change.)
The two teams have only faced each other one prior time. Auburn defeated Louisville 16-3 in 1974, and the game was played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
Two key things to watch with Auburn this year. One is how Jeremy Johnson affects the Tigers offense. Head Coach Gus Malzahn has traditionally had more of a dual threat quarterback. Johnson offers a more traditional pocket passer with the occasional quarterback run.
Secondly, Auburn hired Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator to breath life into a struggling defense. It will be interesting to watch how soon Muschamp can turn things around. The combination of a Muschamp defense with Johnson at quarterback could be the recipe to put Auburn back at the top.
Watch out for running back Brandon Radcliff. Radcliff averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season and may be the most reliable option the Cardinals have on offense. Louisville went 9-4 last season, but their only marquee win was against Notre Dame. The majority of their wins came against teams at the bottom of the ACC. We will see if Louisville coach Bobby Petrino can turn the teams youth into a strength.
Auburn 35, Louisville 21
All this is predicated on Jeremy Johnson being the type of quarterback that many expect him to be. Johnson combined with Auburn’s threats at receiver should lead to a lot of points against Louisville’s young defense. Also, expect a very pro-Auburn crowd for this neutral site game in Atlanta. Louisville’s hope lies in the ability to run against an Auburn defense that was very suspect last season.
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