CRAWFORD | 25 fun facts to pass the time before Louisville-Aubur - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | 25 fun facts to pass the time before Louisville-Auburn

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ATLANTA (WDRB) — What to do until Louisville kicks off at 3:30 today against Auburn in the Georgia Dome? Memorize the following facts about the programs:

1. Bobby Petrino is 10-0 in season-openers. Today's, however, is only the second in which he will not be favored. The first was in his first game as coach — his U of L team was a 6-point underdog to Rich Brooks’ first Kentucky team, but won 40-24.

2. Auburn has won eight of its past nine season-openers. The only loss in that span came to a No. 14-ranked Clemson team in the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

3. Auburn is 6-4 in the Georgia Dome, with three wins in the SEC Championship game, and three bowl wins. Auburn is 9-7-1 overall in domed stadiums. Louisville is 10-4 all-time in domed stadiums, including a 6-1 mark in the New Orleans Superdome. The Cardinals will be making their first appearance in the Georgia Dome, though the Louisville basketball team won its third national championship in this building in 2013.

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4. Petrino-coached teams have scored 30 or more points in their last five season-openers, averaging 41.8 points in those games. The last time a Petrino-coached team failed to score 30 was in a 28-24 win over Western Illinois in his Arkansas opener in 2008.

5. Today will be the first time in Louisville history that the Cardinals have opened the season at a neutral site. The last time they didn’t play their opener at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was 2005, when they opened at Kentucky. After that, Kentucky moved its games in the rivalry out of the season-opening spot. U of L will wear a special Adidas uniform for today’s game, with an “uncaged” theme.

6. Auburn had 44 players in NFL training camps this season. Louisville had 34. The Cardinals must replace 14 players who were drafted or signed as NFL free agents last season, including seven starters on defense and five on offense.

7. Auburn has a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last six seasons. Louisville has had one 1,000-yard rushers in that span, Bilal Powell, who ran for 1,405 yards in 2010.

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8. Brandon Radcliff’s 12 rushing touchdowns last season were the most for a Cardinal since Michael Bush ran for a school-record 23 in 2005.

9. After Teddy Bridgewater set a school record with 31 TD passes in 2013, Will Gardner led the Cardinals with 12 touchdown passes last season.

10. Auburn has failed to score at least 20 points only once in Gus Malzahn’s two seasons as head coach. Famous for his no-huddle attack and creative approach to the rushing game, Malzahn has had Auburn ranked in the top 20 in total offense in each of his two seasons there. The Tigers led the nation in rushing offense in 2013 and were ranked No. 14 in that category last season. They’ve averaged nearly six yards per carry in his tenure.

11. Louisville had the nation’s No. 1 defense in 2013, and despite a coaching change ranked sixth in total defense last season. The Cardinals have been in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense each of the past two seasons, and led the nation in rushing defense in 2013.

12. Louisville ranked second in the nation in sacks in 2013 and 11th nationally last season. Of their 40 sacks last season, the return players who accounted for 22.5, and add Texas Christian transfer Devonte Fields, who was the Big 12’s defensive player of the year in 2012, when he had 10 sacks.

13. The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game is the longest-running neutral site opener. The game is a sellout.

14. Louisville is 24-6 the past four seasons when attempting at least 35 rushes per game.

15. Petrino’s teams are 35-7 when scoring first and 49-5 when leading at halftime.

16. Louisville scored 20 or more points in a quarter four times in 2014 (vs. Murray State twice, Florida State and Kentucky.)

17. The expected starter at quarterback for Louisville today is Reggie Bonnafon. As a freshman, he mourned the unexpected death of his father, then came back a week later to lead the Cardinals to a win over Wake Forest. He also led them into Notre Dame stadium and ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in a 31-28 victory.

18. Louisville’s offense struggled without top target DeVante Parker last season. Now he’s lost to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, and the Cardinals turn to Louisville native James Quick. He’ll move to the slot position and wideout, and they’ll hope for good things from a trio of transfers: Jamari Staples and Ja’Quay Savage at wideout and Cole Hikutini at tight end. Staples transfered from UAB. Savage played one season at Texas A&M. Hikutini is a junior college transfer.

19. A fast start is essential for Louisville. Petrino’s Cardinal teams have scored first in 43 of his 63 games. They’ve scored 10 or more first-quarter points 24 times. In the first quarter, Petrino’s teams have a scoring edge of 531-309.

20. Auburn will start Jeremy Johnson at QB, his second straight opening-game start. A Montgomery, Ala., native, he threw of a career-high 243 yards and two TDs against Arkansas in last season’s opener. He was the first Auburn QB to throw for more than 200 yards in a half since Cam Newton in 2010. In the three games where he has seen a full half of action, he has completed 39 of 53 passes for 636 yards and 8 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. His efficiency ratings in those games has been 216.65.

21. Auburn has gained 200-plus yards in a single quarter in 10 of its 26 games under Malzahn, including four times last season. Seven of those instances have come against SEC teams. 

22. Since 2006, Louisville is 10-6 against nationally ranked opponents. Their last win over a team ranked in the AP Top 10 was a 33-23 win over No. 4 Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl. Petrino is 4-9 against ranked opponents at Louisville.

23. Only 15 teams in the nation have fewer seniors than the 14 on Louisville’s roster. At the start of training camp, only nine of those seniors were on scholarship. Only five teams have fewer than U of L’s five on offense (Nevada, Pitt and Wake Forest with 2 each, and Kentucky and Old Dominion with 3.)

24. This is only the second time in school history U of L will open against a ranked opponent. The first time was in 1992, when they dropped a 20-19 decision to No. 17-ranked Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

25. The pick: It seems to much to ask of an incredibly young offensive front to stand up to a Top 10 team in its very first game. Expect Louisville’s defense to represent itself well, but for Auburn to have a bit too much offense of its own. Final: Auburn 24, Louisville 17.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
 

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