Auburn is hoping to end the regular season in the Georgia Dome in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn is starting the season there as well and showing how valuable the addition of Will Muschamp has been to the defense. Muschamp’s defense has turned in three sacks, forced a turnover and returned a fumble for a touchdown while blanking Louisville in the first half of the Chichbk-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta. No. 6 Auburn leads Louisville 17-0 at the break.
Louisville could not have asked for a worse start in the Georgia Dome. Lamar Jackson’s pass on the first play of the game was picked off by Auburn’s Tray Matthews, and the Tigers offense went right to work from the Louisville 26-yard line. Jeremy Johnson completed two passes and finished off the short drive with a short touchdown run to give Auburn a fast 7-0 lead. That lead doubled midway through the second quarter when a promising drive by the Cardinals ended with a fumble returned for a touchdown the other way. Justin Garrett picked up a loose ball at the Auburn 20-yard line and went the distance for the score. Auburn added a 56-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson in the final minute of the half.
As for the offense, Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson has completed five of nine attempts for 60 yards, and he has been picked off twice by Louisville’s equally aggressive defense. Louisville’s defense has done well keeping the Tigers under wraps for the most part, holding Auburn to two third down conversions out of four attempts and just 64 rushing yards. Defense is not the question for the Cardinals this season. It is the offense, which must replace some key players. Early on, it suggests Louisville’s offense will be a bit of a work in progress, and going against a defense showing improvement like Auburn’s is a tough draw out of the gates.
Now let’s see if either offense can make adjustments to get something going in the second half. If not, things look to favor Auburn with the 14-point edge and the defense making plays the way it is.