No. 6 Football Continues Undefeated Run at Rhodes, Logs First Shutout, 45-0
MEMPHIS – No. 6 Trinity University Football put together its first shutout victory of the 2022 campaign Saturday afternoon at Rhodes College in Southern Athletic Association play, complimented by the team's third 40-plus point performance on offense.
The Tigers (6-0, 3-0 SAA) cruised by the Lynx (2-4, 0-3 SAA) allowing just 113 yards of total offense while the Trinity attack netted 395 yards in total, including 290 yards through the air.
Senior quarterback Tucker Horn (Graham, Texas / Graham) collected 240 of those yards in the pass game on a 21-for-31 line with three touchdowns, all of 20-plus yards, to no interceptions. Horn captured all but 20 of his yards for the game in the first half.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Merrifield (Austin, Texas / Vandegrift) brought in five catches for 89 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Junior wide receiver Cole Monago (Houston, Texas / Klein Cain) captured another 62 receiving yards on five snags that featured the first score of the game, from 20 yards out.
Junior running back Legend Grigsby (Houston, Texas / Cypress Creek) collected 60 of Trinity's 105 rushing yards on the day, 35 of which came on his second-half score.
To blow the game open in the third, senior defensive back Ezra Gore (McKinney, Texas / North) notched his second career interception for a pick-six to create the 38-0 margin. Junior defensive lineman Carson Byrd (Waco, Texas / Midway) led the way up front with a pair of sacks.
No. 6 Trinity Football returns to San Antonio next Saturday (Oct. 22) to host Berry College for more SAA action. Halftime between the Tigers and Vikings, Trinity Athletics will induct its 2022 Hall of Fame Class.
The Tigers marched right down the field after they received the opening kickoff, which was delayed nearly two hours due to inclement weather in West Tennessee. Horn lofted a third-down strike to Monago to end the drive from 20 yards at when the sticks were just 10 yards away.
Trinity's defense allowed just one first down in the first 15 minutes and it came on just the Lynx's second play from scrimmage, but senior defensive lineman Harris Good (Ft. Worth, Texas / Paschal) put the brakes on Rhodes's opening possession with a five-yard tackle for loss on a third-and-12.
By the end of the first quarter, the aerial attack had already netted Horn 100 yards, split mostly between Monago's 42 yards and 39 for Merrifield.
The second quarter saw a stark change of pace by the offense as Horn connected on strikes of 33 and 41 yards to first-year receiver Will Taylor (Houston, Texas / Straie Jesuit) and Merrifield on either side of the lone Blake Lin (Tyler, Texas / All Saints) field goal of the afternoon. The Tigers ran just six plays combined on their two touchdown drives in the second half, while the 10-play drive that resulted in three points burned nearly five minutes of action.
Up 24-0 at half, Horn had already amassed 220 of his 240 yards through the air for the contest, including 80 of Merrifield's 89 receiving yards, and all of Monago's 62. The defense getting on and off the field quickly led to the Tigers leading the time of possession battle 19:16-10:44 at the break.
After allowing just the lone first down in the first half, with back-to-back three-and-outs in the second quarter, the Rhodes offense finally slipped into Trinity territory on the second-half's opening drive. After five minutes in possession, the Tigers turned over the Lynx on downs as senior linebacker Caleb Harmel (Burton, Texas / Burton) chased down the Rhodes quarterback on a fourth-down scramble.
The ground game finally broke free just past the halfway point of the third frame as Grigsby cut through the middle for a 35-yard house call. The Tigers had put up 33 yards on the turf in the first half, then showed their clock-killing prowess with 20 rushing yards prior to Grigsby's scamper.
Nearly 90 seconds later, the Trinity defense joined in on the scoring effort as Gore intercepted a third-and-11 checkdown for a 21-yard pick-six. The first touchdown of Gore's collegiate career also doubled up his career interception total one day ahead of the anniversary of his first career pick, in Trinity's last shutout victory at home against Millsaps College (MS).
As both sides rode on into the final frame, the Tigers put together one more touchdown drive to open the fourth, this time with sophomore Ryan Back (Austin, Texas / Vandegrift) behind center. Just as Horn had done twice in the second quarter, Back tossed a touchdown strike of over 30 yards, 32 to be exact, to senior wide receiver Caleb Crawford (Houston, Texas / Strake Jesuit) for the second-year quarterback's third touchdown of his career on 34 attempts, and the seventh receiving touchdown of Crawford's career, third of 2022.
The Tigers allowed just two first downs in garbage time over the remaining 11-and-a-half minutes of action and ended on a no-yardage three-and-out with three minutes to go.
While senior linebacker Mac Douglas (Fairhope, Ala. / Bayside Academy) only needed five tackles to pace the Trinity defense, 15 Tigers collected more than on stop, with only six assisted tackles recorded in the game.
Both tackles for Byrd came as sacks on the Lynx's quarterback which pulled him within a half-sack of this season's leader, senior linebacker Michael Jewett (Houston, Texas / Strake Jesuit) with five through six games this season.
Gore's pick-six was just the second interception on the season for the Tiger defense, the first came in Trinity's only other road game on the season, at Hendrix College, by junior defensive back Trey King (Round Rock, Texas / Round Rock)
No. 6 Trinity Football will host Berry for the second-to-last home matchup of the 2022 regular season. At halftime, the Athletics Department will be inducting its nine-member 2022 Hall of Fame Class, featuring Tiger Football's own Jeremy Boyce '03, Trinity's all-time leading rusher and key contributor to the 2002 Stagg Bowl team.
Back-to-back road SAA matchups at Centre College (KY) and Millsaps separate the Tigers from their season finale against University of the South on November 12.