It’s one of those plays that you’ll see on a highlight reel somewhere down the line. Matched up with one of the country’s top offensive talents, TCU sophomore safety Trevon Moehrig watched Rondale Moore corral the football, and then proceeded to rip it from his hands for an interception.
It’s a feat of strength and athleticism that you won’t see much from a college safety, especially not one in his second year. And not one defending an elite talent like Moore.
But for coach Gary Patterson, the play, and the start to his season, didn’t come as all that much of a surprise. “I’ve been saying that he’s a good player. He’s the fastest, most physical guy - and he’s just a sophomore. But every week, he gets better.”
Patterson has consistently talked Moehrig up; even going back to last season, when he was thrust into a starting role as injuries mounted, finishing with 16 tackles and an interception. Though Patterson made it clear that he would have rather the talented young player redshirt, Moehrig did nothing to dissuade the coach that he could be a factor in 2019. “One of the things that happened to him is he got thrown in the spotlight of having to play as a true freshman. We had to play without Niko 8 or 9 ball games last year,” Patterson said a season ago. “So, that was one of the things that was a big loss for us knowledge wise because you had to grow the other guys up. It would’ve been nice for Trevon to redshirt.” The youth then translates into experience now, though, and that’s paying dividends for the Horned Frogs early in 2019.
After dropping a few pounds this spring, Moehrig separated himself from a crop of talented safeties as the most talented of the bunch for TCU. That has carried over into his play so far this year. Through two games, Trevon has eight tackles, two interceptions, and four passes defended. Lined up next to Innis Gaines and Vernon Scott, with Jeff Gladney locking down the outside, he has more than held his own. To that regard, Patterson was clear on how he could beat use Moehrig heading into the second game of the season; in his words, “I tried not to screw him up.” That, and the fact that his defense seemed to “settle down a bit” over the course of the bye week, seemed to have helped the Horned Frogs in not just shutting down Moore, but in making the Purdue offense look pretty inept overall.
Moehrig was a big part of that, but you won’t hear him taking the credit. “[the game has] slowed down a lot, especially having some veterans beside me, Innis Gaines and Jeff Gladney and Vernon Scott. They’ve helped me along the way, teaching me and telling me some stuff to be ready for the game for us. Having that leadership is key.”
Moehrig and his teammates came to Indiana on a mission, well aware of the national perception when it comes to the conference he calls home. He was ready to dispel the rumors. “We’ve been hearing a lot of things, like the Big 12 doesn’t play defense, but I think we came out here tonight and put on a show.”
They did indeed. But the show has only just begun, according to the burgeoning star. “We can be great, we can be really great. We’ve got a word for it -- suffocate. That’s what we do. That’s what the defense prides itself on.”
Trevon Moehrig is a special person. You see that with his play on the field, by even more, you see it with his attitude off of it. This is a young man who plays with fire and passion, while emanating joy and respect after the game. In our first real chance to speak with him, I came away even more impressed with his character and personality than his play. I have a feeling he’s going to be a truly special Horned Frog.
Trevon is certainly doing his part to suffocate opponents, and he’s not doing it alone. The Frogs next face off with a surprisingly undefeated SMU team on Saturday, September 21st at 2:30pm.