By David Fong
RIVERSIDE — About the only thing that could slow down the Troy offense was the Troy defense.
In the Troy football team’s 62-0 win over Stebbins Friday, the Trojans piled up 533 yards in total offense — and impressive figure to be sure, but one that almost certainly would have been higher had the Trojans had more field with which to work. Stebbins’ defense had no answers for Troy; the Trojans didn’t punt the entire game.
Thanks to the Trojan defense and special teams, however, Troy never had to put together any long drives, either. Of Troy’s nine touchdown drives, five started on Stebbins’ side of the field after the Trojan defense had forced the Indians to punt from deep within their own territory. The four drives that started on Troy’s side of the field were at the Trojan 42, 32, 35 and 40.
Troy’s offense took advantage of the short field provided by the defense, as none of Troy’s scoring drives lasted more than six plays. The number of plays Troy needed on its nine touchdown drives were: four, two, six, two, two, six, four, one and one. The average Troy scoring drive went 50.9 yards in 3.1 plays.
On those nine scoring drives, Troy faced third down just two times. For the entire game, Troy saw just seven third downs, converting on five of them. Troy’s offense averaged 15.8 yards per passing play and 9.5 yards per rush. Troy’s defense, meanwhile, held Stebbins to just 74 yards in total offense, an average of 3.9 yards per pass play and 1.0 yards per rush. Stebbins was 1-of-11 on third-down conversions.
More number crunching
As one might expect, several Trojans are on pace to put together some milestone numbers this season.
Through four games, senior running back Jaydon Culp-Bishop has 78 carries for 660 yards. Should he continue at that pace, he should finish with somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500-1,600 yards. Culp-Bishop rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season. Should he rush for more than 1,000 yards again this season, he’ll be the first Troy running back to have back-to-back 1,000 yards seasons since Ryan Brewer did it from 1996-1998. Brewer, it bears mentioning, topped the 2,000-yard mark his junior and senior seasons.
Only eight running backs in school history have ever rushed for more than 1,000 yards in multiple seasons: Brewer (1996, 1997 and 1998), Bob Ferguson (1955, 1956 and 1957), Matt Dallman (1995, 1996 and 1997), Tom Vaughn (1959 and 1960), Gordon Bell (1970 and 1971), Larry Giangulio (1985 and 1986), Deon Metz (1990 and 1991) and Brad Clay (1992 and 1993).
Junior quarterback Brayden Siler has completed 40-of-59 passes for 654 yards. If he can continue at his current pace, he’d throw for roughly 1,500-1,600 yards, as well. Should Siler accomplish that, it would be the fourth season in a row a Troy quarterback has thrown for more than 1,000 yards in a season, as Hayden Kotwica did it in 2015 and 2016, while Sam Coleman did it in 2017. It would be the first time in school history Troy has had a 1,000-yard passer four years in a row.
Troy’s depth chart is dominated by seniors and juniors, but four sophomores have managed to earn significant playing time this season for the Trojans.
Sophomore linemen Jakob Moorman and Adam DeCerbo have been starters since the first game of the season. Moorman starts at guard on offense, while DeCerbo starts at noseguard on defense. Two other sophomores, Lucas Henderson and Austin Johnson, also are seeing varsity time this season.
The 6-foot-3, 306-pound Moorman has been a key part of the Trojan line that is opening up holes for Culp-Bishop and keeping Siler upright. So far this season, the 6-foot-2, 272-pound DeCerbo has 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and one quarterback pressure. Against Stebbins, he had seven tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss.
DeCerbo also got to see some time on the offensive line in the second half against Stebbins, while Moorman saw extended playing time at DeCerbo’s spot on defense. Against Stebbins, Moorman had one tackle for loss.
Henderson is playing both receiver and defensive back for the Trojans. Against Stebbins, his 25-yard reception to the Stebbins 7-yard line helped set up Troy’s fourth touchdown of the game. On defense, he finished with one tackle. For the season, he has three tackles. He also recovered on onside kick attempt against Xenia in Week 2.
Johnston is seeing time as a back-up linebacker and on special teams. Against Stebbins, he had three tackles.
Troy (4-0) returns home to face Miamisburg (4-0) in a battle of unbeaten teams at 7 p.m. Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium. This will be the 10th time in the past nine years the two teams have played, with the second meeting in 2016 being in the Division II playoffs.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong