Auburn Opponent Preview: Louisville Cardinals

Auburn will open the 2015 football season in Atlanta vs. Louisville Cardinals, a team coached by former Auburn assistant Bobby Petrino.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of previews of Auburn’s 2015 football opponents.

Auburn enters the season with goals of winning the Southeastern Conference championship and advancing to the College Football Playoff. A good way to get off to a solid start towards making that happen would be to play well in what looks to be a challenging opener.

The Tigers will take on Coach Bobby Petrino’s Louisville Cardinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, an opponent from the ACC.

Will Gardner is shown in action last season vs. Virginia.

Although UL returns last year’s starting quarterback, Will Gardner, the junior is coming off an injury that may cause him to not be at full speed come Sept. 5th when the Cardinals open their season vs. Auburn.

The offense may rely heavily on junior running back Brandon Radcliff, who led the team in rushing last year with 737 yards and 12 touchdowns. There are not many other experienced players returning, but that might not be a big problem for Petrino as the former Auburn coordinator is adept at finding and developing offensive talent.

On defense former Georgia coordinator Todd Grantham finds himself coaching a couple of talented players he helped recruit for the Bulldogs. Ex-Bulldogs Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons are expected to suit up for the Cards’ secondary and be key performers.

A proven commodity on defense for Louisville is its inside linebackers group with the best of the bunch being James Burgess. He started 12 games last season and made 71 tackles, including 10 for losses, to go with three interceptions.

James Burgess makes a tackle for Louisville.

The tide is shifting for scheduling in college football with early season neutral site games becoming more common. This particular matchup should provide a good read for Coach Gus Malzahn and his Auburn team on what areas need work as the Tigers head into conference play two weeks after facing Louisville. For the Cardinals it is an opportunity to prove they can handle one of the top programs in the top conference for college football.

Top Offensive Player:Junior running back Brandon Radcliff

Top Defensive Player:Senior linebacker James Burgess

Quick Fact: UL’s Wiggins and Harvey-Clemons, along with Auburn’s Tray Matthews, make up 3/4s of the starting secondary for the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs.

2014 Results (9-4 overall, 5-3 ACC)

2015 Schedule:

Sept. 5–Louisville vs. Auburn (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)
Sept. 12–Houston at Louisville
Sept. 17–Clemson at Louisville
Sept. 26–Samford at Louisville
Oct. 3–Louisville at North Carolina State
Oct. 17–Louisville at Florida State
Oct. 24–Boston College at Louisville
Oct. 30–Louisville at Wake Forest
Nov. 7–Syracuse at Louisville
Nov. 14–Virginia at Louisville
Nov. 21–Louisville at Pittsburgh
Nov. 28–Louisville at Kentucky

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