Offense C-minus: Auburn starting running back Peyton Barber saves the offense from a failing grade. He ran for a career-high 115 yards on 24 carries, and caught a pass for 15 yards. The sophomore playing in his home state was a consistent source of production in the second half. The offensive line was a part of that as they improved their run blocking as the game went on.
The rest of the offense? Not so much.
Quarterback Jeremy Johnson threw three interceptions, and the line was called for five holding penalties. Johnson had a 56-yard touchdown to Jason Smith wiped out on one of the holding calls, and another late in the game almost gave Louisville the ball back for an opportunity to tie it.
Defense B: The early returns put the defense in line for a solid ‘A,’ but a second half let down dropped them down a bit. After halftime, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was dynamic under center leading four scoring drives. The Cardinals benefited from Auburn’s standout playmaker Carl Lawson not playing in the second half due to injury.
The Tigers finished with four sacks, and forced a pair of turnovers with linebacker Justin Garrett returning a fumble 82-yards for a touchdown.
One stat that shouldn’t go over looked is Louisville’s lack of explosion plays. The Cardinals longest gain was a 35-yard reception from Jackson to Devante Peete and that came in the final six minutes.
Special Teams A: The easiest of the grades. Sophomore kicker Daniel Carlson connected on a 56-yard field goal career-long that was also a Chick-fil-A Kickoff game record. It ties for the third-longest field goal in Auburn history. Carlson was also a perfect 6 for 6 on kickoffs with touchbacks. The Tigers’ special teams unit also recovered an onside kick, and averaged 47 yards on two punts.
Coaching B-minus: It wasn’t perfect, but as Auburn coach Gus Malzahn pointed out after the game, the Tigers are relying on a lot of young, inexperienced guys to play key roles this year. This is a team that’s going to make mistakes -- as evidenced by the eight penalties -- but one with significant upside. The offensive coaching staff made some nice adjustments to get the run game going, and help preserve the win.