By David Fong
TROY — Just three weeks into the season, it’s probably a bit premature to starting talking about chasing history … but file this away for later.
At the current rate he’s going, Troy quarterback Hayden Kotwica could very well end up chasing one of the oldest — and most revered — records in school history.
Through three games this season, Kotwica has completed 46 of 85 passes for 721 yards. Last week against Miamisburg, he completed 25 of 45 passes for 323 yards — just 53 yards off the school record set by Trojan legend Tom Myers in 1959.
If Kotwica has another game like that Friday against Wayne, he’ll top the 1,000-yard mark just four games into the season. At his current clip, Kotwica is on pace to throw for 2,430 yards this season.
The school record is 2,009 yards, set by Myers — who went on to become an All-American at Northwestern and play for the Detroit Lions — more than a half-century ago in 1960.
“We knew coming into the season our passing game could be an effective weapon for us,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said. “But so far, it’s been used on a week-to-week basis, depending on what the opposing defenses give us. Going into last week, we thought we could take advantage of some things Miamisburg did defensively and throw the ball a little more.
“Obviously individual statistics don’t matter to me as much as wins and losses, but if we need to throw the ball to win, that’s what we are going to do. Truthfully, I’d like to see us be more around 50-50 between the run and the pass, but it’s really going to depend on what defenses are giving us every week.”
Still, though, the numbers Kotwica has put up through three weeks have largely not been seen around Troy since Myers’ heyday. Since 1984, only five quarterbacks — Aaron Johnson, Tyler Wright, Cody May (twice) and Matt Barr — have thrown for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Kotwica, assuming he stays healthy and continues at his current pace, could pass all of them by sometime around midseason.
“Hayden has done an excellent job,” Burgbacher said. “How far he’s come since the first day we started working with him over the summer has been nothing short of amazing. Plus, obviously, we are throwing the ball a lot more than Troy probably has in the past. Are we going to throw it 46 times every game? I don’t know about that. But I can tell you we are probably going to be throwing it at least 20 times every game.”
And Here’s To You, Mr. Robinson: It’s probably not a coincidence that Kotwica’s ascendance has coincided directly with the emergence of a number of receiving threats.
Senior receiver Luke Robinson’s rise has been nothing short of phenomenal. Last season, Robinson caught exactly one pass for 13 yards.
Through three games this season, he leads the Trojans with 15 catches for 257 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“Luke has been awesome,” Burgbacher said. “He’s really stepped his game up. We knew he had all kinds of potential, but he’s really grabbed the bull by the horns this season. Luke has made plays for us all year.
“He’s proven he’s a high-end caliber receiver. He’s not just making the easy catches, he’s making some pretty impressive catches in traffic. He runs good routes. And he gives a physical presence out there, too. He’s 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 and 190 or 195 pounds — he’s bigger than most of the cornerbacks we’ll see this year.”
Where There’s a Will: If junior Will Brumfield is exhausted at the end of every game Friday night, he has no one to blame but himself.
He’s too good to take off the field.
“We’d like to get Will a rest — but we honestly can’t afford to have him leave the field,” Burgbacher said. “We try to get him a rest on special teams, but he’s too valuable there, too.”
Brumfield scarcely spend any time at all on the sidelines for the Trojans, starting at outside linebacker on defense, h-back on offense and all of Troy’s special teams units. On defensive, he leads the team in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss. On offense, he’s caught eight passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. On special teams, he’s blocked a pair of kicks.
“The way I look at Will, he’s an old-school, smash-mouth football player,” Burgbacher said. “He’s the kind of kid who will stick his nose in there and lead block for you on offense. He doesn’t shy away from contact, but he can also be a finesse guy who runs routes.
“Defensively, we ask our outside linebackers to do quite a bit for us. The best thing I can say about Will is that he’s a smart kid. I think he scored a 30 or 32 on his ACT test, but he’s also got great football intelligence. He’s the leader of our defense. Heck, he’s a leader all over the field for us.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong