Ricardo Louis (above) made a career-high 10 catches vs. Jacksonville State.
Auburn, Ala.--Expectations were extremely high for Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis going into his senior season. So far he’s living up to them.
In Saturday’s too-close-for-comfort 27-20 overtime football win over FCS opponent Jacksonville State, Louis had a career-high 10 pass receptions for 76 yards. He also added three yards rushing on one carry.
Those totals came on the heels of Auburn’s 31-24 win over Louisville the previous week when he had three catches for 54 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown reception, and one rush for a four-yard touchdown.
Auburn went into the Jax State game as the sixth-rated team in the country, but looked far from it. It took a touchdown pass with 39 seconds left to force overtime before the Tigers prevailed in overtime.
“We struggled a lot on both sides of the ball. We just have to go back and watch film and see what we need to work on for next week in Baton Rouge,” Louis said about the escape against the Gamecocks. “We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes, just like last week. You can’t have those types of mistakes. We’ve just got to be prepared.”
Junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson continued his early-season struggles with two interceptions against Jax State following a three-interception opener against Louisville. That’s the most interceptions in the first two games of the season by an SEC quarterback since 2009.
However, Louis isn’t losing confidence in his quarterback after Johnson threw two touchdown passes against Jax State, including the game-tying score in the final minute.
“I just know that when it’s time for him to make a play, he’s going to do it,” Louis added. “And going into next week against LSU, he’s going to do it. I have faith in him,” Louis said.
In other news and notes:
*Daniel Carlson is three-for-three on field goals this year after making kicks of 27 and 49 yards for all of Auburn’s first half points against Jax State. He nailed a 56-yarder in AU’s opening win over Louisville.
*Roc Thomas’ 51-yard touchdown reception from Jeremy Johnson was his first career TD catch and third career score. It was also his career-long reception. Thomas finished with a career-high 73 yards receiving on two catches.
*Cassanova McKinzy’s first-half quarterback sack was his first full sack since the Arkansas game to open the 2014 season. He added another sack and finished with 13 tackles--eight solos and three assists.
*Normal defensive starters Carl Lawson and Tray Matthews didn’t dress out against Jacksonville State after suffering injuries the previous week in Auburn’s win over Louisville at the Georgia Dome. Both are expected to be ready for the LSU game in Baton Rouge next week and could have probably played Saturday, but were held out as a precaution.
Lawson has a hip injury and Matthews a shoulder injury. Sophomore Nick Ruffin started at safety for Matthews and sophomore Raashed Kennion opened at defensive end for Lawson. Kennion recorded his first career tackle for a loss.
*Johnathan Ford’s third-quarter interception was his first of the season and the fourth of his career. Auburn has at least one interception in its last five games dating back to last season.
*Braden Smith, who started at right guard in Auburn’s opener, opened at right tackle Saturday in place of Avery Young, who dressed but didn’t play. He was injured in the Louisville game. Devonte Danzey started at right guard over Alex Kozan who had the start versus Louisville. Peyton Barber opened at running back ahead of last week’s starter Roc Thomas.
*Auburn captains were senior quarterback/receiver Johnathan Wallace and Carl Lawson, who was walking with small crutches, almost like canes. They are expected to serve as captains for the season. The Gamecocks won the toss and deferred until the second half with Auburn receiving to open the game.
*Saturday’s contest with Jacksonville State was only the second morning game for the Tigers with Gus Malzahn as head coach. The other was a 55-23 win at Tennessee in November 2013. Malzahn’s last morning game at Auburn prior to Saturday was a 41-34 win over Mississippi State in 2011 when he was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
*The Tigers improved to 98-15-3 in home openers after Saturday’s win over the Jacksonville State. Saturday’s contest was the first meeting between Auburn and the Gamecocks.
*The Tigers extended their non-conference home winning streak to 27 games Saturday and Malzahn improved to 22-7 as Auburn’s head coach.
*Auburn juniors Shon Coleman (offensive tackle) and Alex Kozan (offensive guard) are two of only nine seniors in college football this year that are working on graduate degrees. Kozan is pursuing an MBA and Coleman’s is in public administration.