Trojan football zips past Akron

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(PHOTO/ Rojan Maharjan)

Junior receiver Reggie Todd looks for open space after bringing down a pass in the loss against Southern Miss. Todd brought down one pass in the win over Akron.

 

Scott Shelton

Staff Writer

The Troy Trojans defeated the Akron Zips 35-7 on Saturday at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio, for the team’s first road game of the season. 

With the win, the Trojans move to 2-1 on the season before entering Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday. 

After the game, Troy head coach Chip Lindsey talked about the team’s effort in its first road game.

“First time we were traveling in an environment we’re not similar with,” Lindsey said. “I thought our guys handled it great. 

“They did an excellent job preparing all week. They came and really took care of business, and I am really proud of them.”

From the first drive of the game, the Trojans took control. A nine-play, 64-yard drive to open the game put the Trojans on the board. 

Akron tied the game at the end of the first quarter, but Troy scored 28 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. 

Throughout the game, the Trojans used ball control to keep its defense and the Akron offense off the field, putting together lengthy drives of as many as 15 plays and taking nearly seven minutes off the game clock. 

The offense used more than 41 minutes of the game clock compared to Akron’s 19 minutes.

Senior quarterback Kaleb Barker led the offense following his career night against Southern Miss. 

Barker threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns as well as 42 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown in the second quarter.

Barker threw completions to 10 different receivers on Saturday. Sophomore Luke Whittemore lead the team with seven catches for 64 yards.

Khalil McClain caught a touchdown pass while Bret Clark and A.J. Smiley caught their first touchdown passes of their careers. 

Troy entered the game down three running backs following the injury to B.J. Smith. 

The Trojans relied on D.K. Billingsley, who started his first game at running back, and the redshirt sophomore put up 100 yards and a touchdown to lead all rushers. 

The offense reached down its depth chart, giving carries to Trevon Woolfolk and Tanner Blatt, who both made their season debuts on Saturday. 

Woolfolk played one game last season before using his redshirt. He took 15 carries for 84 yards. 

Blatt left the team in 2018 after two seasons due to injury. He rejoined the team six days before the game against Akron, and on Saturday, he had 11 carries for 44 yards.

Troy’s defense bounced back after allowing over 600 yards to Southern Miss last Saturday. 

The Trojans held the Zips to 203 yards through the air and just 39 yards on the ground. 

The game marked the second time this season the Trojans held their opponent to under 50 rushing yards.

Troy ranks eighth nationally in rush defense, allowing 67 yards per game on the ground.

Spear T.J. Harris lead the team in tackles with six. Linebacker Carlton Martial recorded five tackles and led the team with three solo tackles. 

After a botched snap from Akron, Troy forced its first turnover of the season. It was also Sophomore Orlando Lacey’s first interception of his career.

Saturday, the Trojans begin Sun Belt Conference play against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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