AKRON, Ohio – Kaleb Barker accounted for four touchdowns and the Troy defense limited Akron to just 242 yards as the Trojans defeated the Zips 35-7 Saturday afternoon at Akron’s InfoCision Stadium.
“First time we were traveling in an environment we're not similar with. I thought our guys handled it great,” Troy head coach Chip Lindsey said. “They did an excellent job preparing all week. They came and really took care of business and I am really proud of them.”
Troy (2-1) broke the game open in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns – a 2-yard pass from Barker to Khalil McClain and a 9-yard run by Barker – to start a run of 28-straight points by the Trojans to end the game.
Barker completed 27-of-37 passes for 214 yards with three touchdowns while rushing for 42 yards on eight carries and the touchdown.
Barker, a senior from Decatur, finished the game with three touchdown passes for his third straight multi-touchdown game to open the season. He now has multiple touchdown passes in six of his last nine games. It was the third time in Barker’s career that he has thrown three or more touchdowns in a game.
In his first game since taking over for B.J. Smith, DK Billingsley rushed for a career-high 100 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Trevon Woolfolk rushed for 84 yards and Tanner Blatt added 44 yards.
Blatt, a sophomore, was delivering food for Door Dash up until last Saturday when the Trojans lost three running backs to injury against Southern Miss. By Sunday, Blatt was at practice with the Trojans for the first time since December 2018.
The Trojans rolled up 485 yards of total offense on the Zips (0-4) and 32 first downs. Troy ran 95 plays compared to just 50 by Akron.
Meanwhile, the Troy defense bounced back in a big way limiting Akron to just 10 first downs, 39 yards on the ground and 203 yards through the air.
Overall, Troy held Akron to just 242 yards in the game marking the 31st time in Troy’s FBS history that the Trojans have held their opponent under the 250-yard mark. Troy is now 26-5 in such games.
Billingsley capped a 15-play scoring drive to open the second half with a 1-yard score to extend Troy’s lead to 28-7. The 1-yard TD run was Billingsley’s team-leading fourth touchdown of the season.
Bret Clark then pulled down an 11-yard strike from Barker in the closing seconds of the third quarter to ice the game for Troy.
The teams traded touchdowns in the opening quarter of play with A.J. Lewis scoring from 8 yards out for his first career touchdown on Troy’s opening drive of the game. Maverick Wolfley pulled down a 21-yard touchdown from Kato Nelson for the lone Zip score of the game which came with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Akron’s Nelson finished the day 15-of-29 for 200 yards.
Luke Whittemore and Kaylon Geiger both finished with a career-best seven receptions to pace the Trojans. Whittemore had 64 yards on his receptions and Geiger 55.
T.J. Harris led the Trojans with six tackles, while Opp native Orlando Lacey recorded his first career interception. Jaquez Dunmore recovered a fumble and Justin Whisenhunt caused a fumble.
The two turnovers earned by Troy came after not having one in the opening two games. Interestingly, the last time Troy went back-to-back games without a turnover it also forced multiple turnovers in the next game was also against Akron in 2016 (three turnovers).
Trojan punter Tyler Sumpter had a big day, averaging 52.7 yards off three punts.
Troy returns home to open Sun Belt Conference play next Saturday night against Arkansas State. Kickoff is 6 p.m.