|Grand Rapids, MI|
|#29 Rich Giordani - 122||Rushing||#1C Chris Watkins - 56|
|#15 Everett Pollard - 130||Passing||#14 Hunter Krause - 259|
|#87 Hans Lundberg - 80||Receiving||#19 Herman Brunis - 120|
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Taylor ran the ball 56 times behind a powerful offensive line and added a pair of defensive touchdowns to open its 2016 campaign with a 41-28 victory at Davenport on Saturday.
Ninth-year head coach Ron Korfmacher surpassed Jim Law on TU's all-time wins list with his 42nd head coaching victory to move to within six wins of matching Bob Davenport (1957-1968) for the most in program history.
The win extends TU's streak to five-straight victories dating back to the final four weeks of the 2015 season and improves the Trojans to 7-1 over their last eight outings. The five-game win streak matches TU's best stretch under Korfmacher. Taylor also continued its recent dominance on the road, where it has now won five-straight games with at least 34 points in each of those contests.
Saturday's win followed a different script however, as Taylor rode its ground attack and an opportunistic defense to the win. TU steadily wore down the Davenport (0-1) defense with three drives lasting over six minutes and two spanning at least 17 snaps, while methodically piling up 187 yards and four touchdowns in 56 carries.
Richardson Giordani did the majority of the work in the backfield for TU, setting career-highs with 27 carries for 122 yards and one score, while Tim Barrett, Spencer Crisp and Everett Pollard also rushed for a touchdown. Pollard completed 13-of-20 passes in the game, finding Hans Lundberg on a career-high eight catches for 80 yards to pace the passing game.
The defense joined in with touchdowns from Jeremy Ramirez and Tyler Gerig, as Ramirez scooped up a fumble and sprinted 32 yards for the go-ahead score and Gerig picked off a pass and raced 65 yards to the end zone for TU's final score of the day.
Matt Nguyen paced the Trojans with nine tackles on the afternoon, closing his first game in a Taylor uniform with six solo hits and two pass breakups from his strong safety position. Cameron Gray joined in with 1.5 stops for lost yardage among eight tackles, while Gerig logged seven stops, two tackles for a loss and the pick-six.
Brandon Haan anchored the special teams for Taylor, averaging 43.5 yards per punt, booming two over 50 yards and pinning DU inside its own 20-yard line once.
The Trojans wasted little time setting the tone, as Giordani and Barrett ran six times for 62 yards on the opening drive, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Giordani just 2:33 into the game.
Taylor later rattled off a streak of 21-straight points and eventually used a 34-7 spurt to take control of the game. The stretch started with a 17-play drive that spanned 7:54 of game time and ended with a one-yard touchdown from Barrett to draw TU even at 14-14. Ramirez put TU on top for good with a fumble return off the Jay Johnson strip to send Taylor to the break with a 21-14 edge.
Another rushing score, this time in the form of a one-yard keeper around the right side from Pollard extended the gap to 28-14 but back-to-back trips inside the red zone without a score from Taylor allowed the hosts to draw within 28-21 in the first minute of the fourth.
TU responded to the challenge by churning 8:56 off the clock with an 18-play, 82-yard drive to pay dirt that pushed the spread to 34-21. Crisp capped the drive with his first collegiate score, diving in from one yard out before Gerig's pick-six sealed the win for TU.
Taylor (1-0) will eye its first 2-0 start since 2012 and a sixth-straight victory, when it travels to NCAA Division II Malone on Saturday, September 3 for a 2:00 pm start.