No. 6/7 Trinity Football Stymies Berry for SAA Victory
|Game Statistics||Berry||Trinity University|
|Time of Poss.||26:17||33:43|
SAN ANTONIO – No. 6/7 Trinity University Football remained undefeated this season with a hard-fought 21-14 Southern Athletic Association victory over Berry College (GA) on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers held Berry to just 190 yards of total offense in the game, highlighted by an opponent season-low 72 yards passing. Trinity's defense also forced three turnovers and recorded four sacks in the game.
James Ogunrin (Katy, Texas / Episcopal) led the defensive effort with 11 total tackles, as well as forcing two second-half fumbles to keep Berry's offense from scoring any points in the second half of play.
Tucker Horn (Graham, Texas / Graham) completed 24-of-38 through the air for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His favorite targets were Ryan Merrifield (Austin, Texas / Vandergrift) and Caleb Crawford (Houston, Texas / Strake Jesuit), who combined for 11 catches and over 170 yards.
Trinity improves to 7-0 overall this season and 4-0 in SAA play, keeping its status as the lone undefeated team remaining in the conference standings. The Tigers are one game ahead of Centre College (KY), which is where Trinity will be next weekend for another SAA showdown.
The Tigers got off to a solid start with three straight completions by Horn of 10-plus yards including a 21-yard chunk gain to BJ Rainey (Cedar Hill, Texas / Cedar Hill) but just the fourth interception of the season for the senior quarterback in endzone cut the early momentum short.
A battle of field position ensued as the next three drives combined ended in punts until the three-minute mark of the first quarter. A return of 12 yards from Crawford set up Trinity in plus territory at the Vikings' 47.
Back-to-back chunk runs from Justin Carmouche (Cypress, Texas / Cy Ranch) led to the first score with just-over 90 seconds left in the first quarter. The senior running back notched a 17-yard gash, then immediately finished the drive with a 28-yard breakaway.
Berry responded with a scoring drive that ate up nearly five-and-a-half minutes, capped by a Brandon Cage plunge from a yard out to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:46 left in the opening half.
The game was not tied for long, though, as Trinity put together a quick scoring drive to reclaim the advantage. After converting on a short third down near midfield, Horn executed a play-action pass play down the right sideline, hitting Merrifield for a 54-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 lead.
The Vikings were on the move on their next drive, converting a pair of third downs to keep the offense on the field. The drive ended when Tiger corner Trey King (Round Rock, Texas / Round Rock) took advantage of an overthrown ball to make a sliding interception at the Trinity 29 yard line.
Both teams traded punts after that as the defenses continued to rule the day. Trinity took over for its last possession of the half with 1:16 remaining and moved the ball to the Berry 35 yard line with just 27 seconds left. Horn suffered his second interception of the game inside the 15 and the Vikings ran out the clock on the rest of the half.
Berry got the ball to start the second half, trailing 14-7 as the third quarter got underway. The drive last just one play, though, as Ogunrin forced a fumble deep in Berry territory and Isaac Agumadu (Dallas, Texas / Trinity Christian) came up with the recovery.
Trinity took over at the 33 yard line and drove into the red zone before having to settle for a 38-yard field goal attempt. The try was blocked and Berry's Nickolas Willis picked up the loose ball and returned it for a 54-yard touchdown to tie the game with less than three minutes elapsed in the third quarter.
The Tigers were stopped again on offense near midfield, but pinned Berry inside the 15 with a 39-yard punt from Eli Gehman (Cedar Park, Texas / Leander). Trinity's defense sabotaged the drive before it got started, ending with back-to-back tackles for loss. Charles Gilbert (Chandler, Ariz. / Basha) started the negative yardage plays by dropping running back Josh Rogers three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Ezra Gore (McKinney, Texas / North) then dropped quarterback Blake Hembree for a seven-yard sack on third down.
The field position game paid off as the Trinity offense took over at the Berry 45 on the ensuing drive. Horn needed just four plays to score the go-ahead touchdown, which came on his 12-yard strike to Crawford. The Tigers now led 21-14 just over halfway through the third quarter.
Both teams played field position on the next few drives, though Berry had the advantage after pinning Trinity at its own five in the final minute of the third quarter. The Tigers punted it away early in the fourth quarter and Berry took over in Trinity territory.
Ogunrin ruined another Vikings drive just three plays later, causing Berry to fumble after a 12-yard pass play, and Jarrett Phillips (Marshall, Texas / Marshall) came up with the loose ball to put Trinity's offense back on the field.
Trinity drove inside the Berry 30 yard line, but fell short on a fourth-and-four pass play to turn the ball over on downs. After gaining 16 yards on the first play of the drive, Berry was stuffed once again by the Tiger defense, which kept the visitors to just two more yards and an eventual punt.
Berry got a forced fumble of its own at the Trinity 15 yard line just two plays later, but Trinity was able to avoid disaster when Bayler Jordan (Buda, Texas / Hays) was there for the recovery. The Tigers eventually punted and Berry took over near midfield, but Trinity's defense continued to be immovable. Berry punted again after a three-and-out drive that needed just a single yard.
Trinity took over with 6:28 left in the game and was able to run out the clock to preserve the win. The Tigers got Berry to jump on fourth-and-two for an offsides penalty, which led to the Vikings having to use up their timeouts to keep the game alive. With less than two minutes left, BJ Rainey (Cedar Hill, Texas / Cedar Hill) made a diving catch on fourth-and-two for another Trinity conversion that sealed the win for good.
Numbers to Note
Merrifield posted his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and the third of his career for the Tigers.
Horn's 280 yards passing move him into the top five in school history in career passing yards, passing Austin Grauer (2015-17) on the all-time list.
Ogunrin reached double digits in tackles for the third time in his career and the first time this season, tying his career-best with 11 stops.
Trinity will face off against Centre in another battle for first place in the SAA standings. The Tigers hold a one-game lead over the Colonels (5-2, 3-1 SAA) in the standings after this week's games. Trinity is just 4-5 against Centre over the last nine meetings, though the Tigers have won the last two matchups.