Rapid Reaction: Louisville falls to No. 6 Auburn 31-24

By on September 5, 2015

By Sam Draut–

Louisville fell to sixth-ranked Auburn 31-24 on Saturday afternoon at the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half and held off Louisville’s feverish comeback in the second half.

QB 1– The long quarterback debate ended with Reggie Bonnafon walking out with the first team on Louisville’s opening possession. The sophomore completed 8 of 13 passes for 67 yards.

Poor start– On the opening play from scrimmage, freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson took a direct snap and was quickly forced out of the pocket. Pushed towards the sideline, Jackson threw the ball up into triple coverage, and it was picked off by safety Tray Matthews who returned the ball to the 26 yard line. Auburn marched into the end zone in five plays to go 7-0 with 12:49 in the first quarter.

Missed opportunity– After Auburn went up 7-0, Louisville drove to the 6 yard line, Bonnafon completed 4 of 6 passes for 46 yards, but the drive stalled with two false starts. John Wallace attempted a 36-yard field goal but missed wide left.

JHC– Josh Harvey-Clemons pulled in his first interception of the season early in the second quarter. The Cardinals couldn’t cash in on the turnover though, their drive stalling after they crossed over the 50-yard line. A possession later, the junior safety intercepted another pass thrown from Johnson to set a Chick-Fil-A kickoff game record. Playing from the star position of Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense, Harvey-Clemons finished with a game high 14 tackles.

Scoop and Score– After JHC’s second interception, Louisville drove the ball to the Auburn 16 yards, but Bonnafon fumbled the ball on the hand off and Justin Garrett picked the ball up, running in for an 82-yard touchdown putting Auburn ahead by two touchdowns.

Strong Boot– Daniel Carlson set a Chick-Fil-A game record with a 56-yard field goal before halftime.  The kick gave Auburn a 17-0 lead heading into halftime. It was the third longest field goal in Auburn history and the longest field goal in the sophomore’s career.

Behind the line– Auburn’s front four dominated the Louisville offensive line. In the first half, the Tigers had seven tackles for a loss. In the second half, Auburn added to their total with more tackles behind the line. Louisville’s offensive line couldn’t handle the interior pressure Auburn brought throughout the game. The Tigers will be one of best defensive lines the Cardinals go up against this year, but Louisville’s five-man front looked lost at some points during the game.

Early dagger– Auburn opened up the second half with an eight-play 75-yard drive capped off by a 33-yard touchdown pass by Johnson. The touchdown drive put the game out of reach before Louisville ever had the ball in the second half.

Lamar Jackson– After starting his collegiate career with a horrible interception, Jackson replaced Bonnafon in the second quarter for the remainder of the game. Jackson energized Louisville’s second half comeback and brought the score to 31-24 before Auburn recovered an onside kick with 2:58 left. The freshman had 16 carries for 106 yards and touchdown.  Jackson completed 9 of 20 passes for 100 yards.  His play kept Louisville alive in the second half. Jackson, in tandem with running back Brandon Radcliff, who finished with 76 yards and two touchdowns, could be a lethal pair this season.

What’s Next– Louisville will host Houston next Saturday at noon.



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