AKRON, OHIO. (WSFA) The best way to wipe the taste of a tough loss at home out of your mouth? Dominate your next opponent. That’s what the Troy Trojans (2-1) did in their 35-7 win over Akron (0-4).
While it wasn’t a record-setting performance this time, Kaleb Barker still tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for another in the Troy’s first road game of the season.
Barker threw for over 200 yards yet again and the team rushed for nearly 300 yards as they completely stymied the Zips on both offense and defense.
The defense set the tone for the entire Trojans team on the first possession of the game. Not only did the defense force a three-and-out, but defensive lineman Will Choloh Jr. introduced himself to Akron quarterback Kato Nelson on the second play from scrimmage. Choloh sacked Nelson for a 7-yard loss and the defense followed his lead for the rest of the day, forcing two turnovers.
After forcing a punt from the Zips, the Trojans were in the end zone after a nine-play drive. Barker’s first touchdown pass of the day found AJ Lewis for eight yards on 2nd and goal.
The Trojans forced an interception next defensive possession, but Barker followed that with his only blemish of the day. He threw his first interception of the season. It was a pass that was picked off by Akron’s Shawn Featherstone and returned 40 yards.
After that, both teams traded punts before the Zips put together a touchdown drive of their own. It was eight plays long and spanned 3:18 of game time. It evened the score at 7 all but would be the final time they’d find the end zone.
Troy would score two more times before half to lead 21-7 at the break.
The Trojans opened the second half with a 15-play drive that ate up 6 minutes and 37 seconds. It was finished off by DK Billingsley who scored his only rushing touchdown of the game.
With the third quarter winding down, Barker tossed his third touchdown pass of the game, this one to Bret Clark for 11 yards.
With a season-ending injury biting running back BJ Smith, the question going forward for Troy was how would Chip Lindsey handle the running game? Billingsley got the bulk of the carries Saturday. He rushed the ball 21 times for 101 yards. Trevon Woolfolk rushed 14 times for 81 yards and Tanner Blatt rushed the ball 11 times for 44 yards. Barker carried it eight times for 42 yards as this was most of the team’s distribution.
Up next for Troy is their Sun Belt conference opener at home against Arkansas State. The Trojans and Red Wolves kick things off next Saturday from Veterans Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m.