AU 31, Louisville 24: Game Notes & Quotes

A report on Auburn's season-opening football victory is featured as Coach Gus Malzahn's Tigers defeated Louisville at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Atlanta, Ga.--Safety/nickel Tim Irvin and fullback Chandler Cox broke into the starting lineup for the Auburn Tigers in their 31-24 football victory over Louisville on Saturday.

They were the first true freshmen to start the opening game of the season since 2014 Rimington Trophy winner Reese Dismukes did it in 2011 as a center.

“When I came out of the tunnel I was a bit nervous, but after the first play I just went out there and played ball,” said Irvin, an early high school graduate who participated in spring training as did Cox.

Asked what secondary coach Travaris Robinson told the defensive backs, Irvin replied, “T-Rob said we played pretty good, but we have to get back to business--keep fighting and keep getting better each and every day.”

Irvin said he was a bit nervous coming onto the field to play in front of 73,927 fans at the Georgia Dome.

“The crowd was really different,” he said. “Coming from where I played in high school there were around 100 people out there. Coming out there it was really different. I had to really lock in on my keys and play ball.”

In other news and notes:

*There was a lot for new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to like in the first half as his unit held the Cardinals scoreless. Prior to intermission the Cardinals were held to 164 yards while Auburn defenders came up with four sacks and a touchdown of their own on an 82-yard fumble return by Justin Garrett.

*Sophomore kicker Daniel Carlson broke the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic record for field goal distance with a personal-best 56-yard make near the end of the first half. The former record holder was Alabama’s Leigh Tiffin who hit a 54-yarder in 2008.

*Garrett’s fumble return for touchdown was the longest fumble return score for Auburn since 1969.

*Auburn improved its record at the Georgia Dome to 7-4.

*The Tigers shut out an opponent in the first half for the first time since 2012 against Alabama A&M.

*In their last four games in the Georgia Dome, Gus Malzahn’s offenses have averaged 47.3 points per game (59, 43, 56 and 31).

*Quarterback Jeremy Johnson’s interception count of three was the highest for an Auburn quarterback since Kiehl Frazier’s game against Mississippi State in 2012.

*Peyton Barber is the 62nd player in Auburn history to rush for 100 yards in a single game.

*Sophomore safety Tray Matthews intercepted a pass in his first snap playing for Auburn.

*Louisville struggled early in the game on offense, but finished on a charge. Louisville’s first seven drive endings: interception, missed field goal, punt, punt, fumble, punt and missed field goal. The team’s last four drive endings: field goal, touchdown, touchdown and touchdown.

*The two defensive players who were part of the tip on Ricardo Louis’s game-winning touchdown catch against Georgia in 2013 intercepted three passes in the game today: Tray Matthews with one and Louisville’s Josh Harvey-Clemons with two.

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