Taylor Takes Season-Opener at IWU for Korfmacher’s 50th Win
MARION, Ind. – Taylor scored three second quarter touchdowns and closed on a 43-17 stretch over the final three quarters to overcome a slow start in Saturday’s 2018 opener, taking a 43-31 win at Indiana Wesleyan for head coach Ron Korfmacher’s 50th win on the sidelines.
The Trojans outscored the hosts by a 21-0 margin in a dominant second quarter for the Purple and Gold and added to the lead on the opening drive of the third quarter when Dalton Lowry blocked a punt into the end zone and Holden Hodge fell on the loose ball for a fourth-straight Taylor touchdown and a 27-14 lead.
The two sides traded scores throughout the rest of the contest, before TU won a pair of fourth-down plays deep into the fourth quarter to put the game away. The first came on the defensive side of the ball, with Jordan Jackson stuffing the IWU ball carrier one yard short of converting a fourth and nine near the Taylor 30-yard line.
TU took over with a five-point lead and 6:16 showing on the clock, moving the ball to the hosts’ 38-yard line. Facing a fourth and one, Zac Saltzgaber took the snap and raced down the IWU sideline for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:47 showing on the clock.
Another key special teams play sealed the victory for Taylor, as Matt Nguyen recovered a perfectly placed pooch kick from Austin Gunderson to allow TU to run out the majority of the clock and take the 43-31 win in the first-ever meeting on the gridiron between the two cross-county rivals.
The Trojans rushed for 206 yards in the win on 52 carries and used 81 plays to pile up 441 yards of total offense in their most prolific offensive showing on the road in a season opener since hanging 46 points on the board in a rout of Anderson to open the 2012 season.
Taylor controlled the ball for nearly 11 more minutes that the Wildcats and ran 23 more plays to turn the tide over the final three quarters. TU went four-of-five on fourth downs and was a perfect five-of-five in the red zone with four touchdowns.
Everett Pollard led the way in the hostile environment, completing 13-of-16 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 56 yards and one score. The senior quarterback became the third player in TU’s program history to surpass 6,000 passing yards in a career and moved to within four completions of setting a new Taylor record for career completions.
Zac Saltzgaber also played well under center, rushing for 65 yards and a touchdown and passing for 62 yards and a score. Spencer Crisp was Taylor’s third player to rush for over 50 yards in the contest, finishing with 59.
Grant Hohlbein, Daniel Boy and Ben Davis all caught touchdown passes, with Hohlbein leading the group with six receptions and Boy posting a team-leading 79 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jackson Bronkema led the Trojans with seven stops, while Brady Hill and Jackson each posted six. Ra Murray and TJ Swore joined Hill in recording a tackle for lost yardage.
Gunderson contributed with a 32-yard field goal and went four-of-four in point-after attempts to account for seven points in the win.
Taylor (1-0) will open its home slate on September 8, when it welcomes NCAA Division I FCS Butler (1-0) to Turner Stadium for a 6:00 pm start.