College Football: Troy Torrence proving to be quite a catch for St. Francis
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media October 3, 2013 8:50PM
Troy Torrence is on his way to a record-setting season for St. Francis. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2013 6:16AM
Troy Torrence has turned a curse into a blessing that could be of record proportions.
After one season at St. Xavier, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior wide receiver separated his shoulder during the start of spring football in 2012 as a walk-on at Northern Illinois.
“It was my first year at Northern, the very first series of our first spring game, I separated my shoulder,” Torrence said. “I had major shoulder surgery when I left NIU.”
Northern’s loss was the Saints’ gain. Heading into Saturday’s Mid-States Football Association Mideast opener against Concordia in Ypsilanti, Mich., Torrence ranks second in the NAIA in receptions per game (7.8), third in receiving yards per game (121.5), fourth in total receiving yards (486) and sixth in catches (31).
At this pace, Torrence will be the team’s single-season record holder for receptions (86), yards (1,337) and touchdowns (14). St. Francis has yet to have a 1,000-yard receiver.
“The key to my start has been a lot of hard work in the offseason,” Torrence said. “Just about every day until I went to sleep, I spent a lot of time in the weight room and playing basketball, to keep my conditioning up.”
It came after the De La Salle graduate caught 12 passes for 160 yards in six games during his first year as a Saint in 2012. He surpassed both totals last week in a 37-25 loss to St. Xavier. Torrence caught 12 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. His receiving yardage total established a school record and was just eight yards shy of the NAIA game high this season.
“I really did feel unstoppable because they were leaving so many holes deep down the field,” said Torrence, whose one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter could have been among ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day. “They were taking the hitch away from us, which allowed me to find open holes down the field.
“I really feel confident how our offense is working and the way (quarterback) E.J. (White) puts the ball on the money all the time.”
Despite the record-setting evening, Torrence thinks he still can improve his game.
“I really want to be consistent,” Torrence said. “I really want to make everything look the same, and that will make me unstoppable if I do that. I want to have the same demeanor every snap.”
Torrence also thinks the Saints’ have yet to play a complete game in all aspects. That could come Saturday against the Cardinals, who have one win in three years of NAIA football.
“We have to cut down the physical and mental mistakes we’ve made heading into the next couple of games and we’ll be there,” said Torrence, who was MFSA All-Academic last year. “We have the talent; now we have to put it all together.
“This is a great opportunity for us against Concordia to get on the right track and get going from there. We have to take the two losses this year as a learning experience because we’re a great team.”