Taylor Trojans Open Home Slate with 17-7 Win
UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor notched its second-straight win with a familiar blueprint, using a strong rushing attack and an stingy defense to score a 17-7 win over Missouri Baptist in its first home game of the 2019 campaign.
On the heels of a 17-14 win at NCAA Division I FCS Butler one week ago, Taylor dominated the trenches once again, this time rushing for 199 yards on 45 carries and limiting the visiting Spartans (0-4) to just 62 yards on the ground.
Spencer Crisp carried the load this time, averaging 5.8 yards per touch on the home turf and finishing with 145 yards and one touchdown on 25 tries. Crisp ripped off four runs of over 10 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown and a 36-yard streak that led to another TU score.
Zac Saltzgaber and Trey Burdine hooked up for that second Taylor touchdown, dialing it up for a 20-yard strike to pay dirt that gave TU a 17-0 lead late in the third quarter.
The Trojan defense held the guests to 2.7 yards per carry and forced the MBU passing game into 26 incompletions in 44 attempts. TU picked up three sacks, five hits for lost yardage, six quarterback hurries, one interception and one forced fumble in the contest.
Tyler Hasbrook led the way with two sacks among his five hits, with Jordan Jackson ending with a team-best seven stops and TJ Swore closing with five tackles and an interception on the final play of the game.
TU was especially dominant in the first half, outpacing the Spartans by a 170 to 55 clip in total yardage over the first 30 minutes and limiting MBU to 25 yards of offense after its opening possession.
Taylor wasted no time jumping in front, using a 97-yard march on its first drive to pull ahead. Crisp shredded the Missouri Baptist defense for runs of 13, eight and seven yards in TU’s first three snaps and ended with 70 yards on eight carries during the 13-play drive that spanned 8:14 of game action. Crisp capped the possession with a 16-yard touchdown burst for the 7-0 lead at the 3:03 mark of the first quarter.
A pair of poor snaps on TU’s second drive stalled the Trojans and led to MBU taking over on the Taylor 29-yard line, before reaching the three. The Trojan defense was up to the task however, stuffing three-straight run plays, including a pair of stops for lost yardage from Jackson to force an errant field goal try.
Garrett Russell connected on a 36-yard field goal attempt of his own for Taylor later in the half, to send the Purple and Gold to the break with a 10-0 cushion.
Both defenses continued to get stops throughout a quiet third quarter, until Crisp struck again, this time breaking free for a 36-yard sprint that set TU up on the visitor’s 20-yard line. The lead swelled to 17-0 one play later, with Saltzgaber floating a perfect toss into the arms of Burdine in the end zone.
Missouri Baptist finally broke up the shutout with 12:02 to play and later converted a fake punt to keep a drive alive with under seven minutes remaining, but the Taylor defense ended the threat three plays later and later closed the victory with the Swore pick as time expired.
Taylor (2-1) will take a week off before opening Mid-States Football Association Mideast League play against Indiana Wesleyan (1-1) on October 5. TU will host the Wildcats on the gridiron for the first time ever, after topping IWU by a 43-31 margin in Marion to open the 2018 season. Kick is set for 7:00 pm inside Turner Stadium.