Louisville v Auburn: Game Preview

Cardinal Authority provides a closer look at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff between Louisville v Auburn on Saturday afternoon in the Georgia Dome

Kickoff for the 2015 season is nearly upon us. Here's a preview of Louisville v Auburn at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Details
Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. #6/#7 Auburn (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 • 3:30 p.m.
Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia Dome (71,228)
Series History: Auburn 1-0

Play by Play: Verne Lundquist
Analyst: Gary Danielson
Sideline: Allie LaForce

About the Cardinals & Tigers

**Head coach Bobby Petrino is the winningest coach in school history, with his 50-13 career record entering his sixth season at the helm of the Cardinals. Petrino’s teams have posted five-straight nine-win seasons during his tenure, after posting a 9-4 overall record last season. Petrino’s teams have never won less than nine games during his first five seasons with the Cardinals.

**The Tigers are coming off an 8-5 record in the 2014 season, including a 4-4 mark in the SEC. Under the direction of third-year head coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers are 20-7 during his tenure, including a national championship appearance in 2013. Auburn enters the season with 13 starters returning and 42 letterwinners.

**This will be the first time the Cardinals haven’t opened the season at home since playing at Kentucky in 2005 — a 31-24 win over the Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium.

**Louisville and Auburn have met only one time in school history before the Chick-fil-A Classic on Sept. 5. Auburn defeated the Cardinals 16-3 at home in 1974. The Cardinals are 15-35-1 all-time against schools from the SEC, which included a 44-40 win over Kentucky and a 37-14 loss to Georgia in the Belk Bowl last season.

**Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is certainly familiar with the level of competition within the SEC. Petrino spent four seasons at Arkansas (2008-11), where his teams went 17-15 in league play.

**The Cardinals are 2-1 versus the SEC in neutral-site games, defeating Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl and Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl. UofL fell to Georgia last season in the 2014 Belk Bowl.

**Louisville, which has won its last four season openers, is 52-38-6 all-time in openers, including a 10-4 record since 2000. Louisville opened the 2014 season with a 31-13 win over Miami at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

**Auburn is 94-26-2 (.779) all-time in season openers. The Tigers have won eight of their past nine openers dating back to the 2006 season opener.

**Head coach Bobby Petrino has won 10-straight season openers as a head coach, including a 5-0 record at Louisville.

**Petrino’s teams have scored 30 or more points in the last five season openers, averaging 41.8 points per game during that span.

**Louisville had zero changing staff turnover following the 2014 season, while Auburn has a trio – defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and linebackers coach Lance Thompson – that are new to the staff in 2015.

How they match up

**Auburn, which is one of five schools in the nation to have at least one 1,000-yard rusher in every season since 2009, will be replacing its top three rushers from a season ago and will look to do so against a Louisville defensive front that finished among the nation's best last season.

**Tigers head coach Guz Malzahn employs a hurry-up, no huddle offense, which will force Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense to remain focused and active throughout.

**The Louisville offense, which entered fall camp at quarterback and offensive line, will need to generate yardage early to create confidence against a revamped Tigers defense.

**Auburn's secondary will look to limit wide receiver James Quick’s who had 10 of his 36 receptions go for at least 30 yards or more last season.

**The Louisville passing game will also look to a pair of transfers – Jamari Staples (UAB) and Ja'Quay Savage (Texas A&M) – to help bolster the receiving unit and stretch the field.

**Cardinals running back Brandon Radcliff averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season.

**Former U.S. Army All-American Jeremy Johnson will quarterback the Tigers offense. For his career, Johnson, a junior, has played in 13 games, making a pair of starts, and is 57-78 for 858 yards and nine touchdowns. He's completed 73 percent of his attempts with just two interceptions.

For Louisville to win

**The Cardinals offensive front must hold its own against the Tigers rush. Radcliff must have gaps to run through and the quarterback must have ample time to effectively manage the offense.

**The U of L defense must be a 'hand full' from the get-go. The Tigers fast paced offense will look to maintain its tradition of a strong ground game, but will also look to the air and test the Cardinals secondary.

**Turnovers. Louisville must limit its turnovers and be sure to take advantage of any gained. No wasted opportunities.

**The coaching staff has spent a lot of time on special teams and the Cardinals must improve upon its play a year ago to win marquee match-ups.

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