September 8, 2012

No. 3 Wesley stymies No. 6 Salisbury, 17-7, in Route 13 Rivalry

SALISBURY, Md. – Senior slot Ross Flanigan ran for 138 yards and senior quarterback Dan Griffin threw for 124 and a touchdown, but the sixth-ranked Salisbury University football team fell to No. 3 Wesley College, 17-7, at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday night.

Justin Sottilare threw for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and Askia Jahad ran for 98 yards and one score to lead the Wolverines.

Wesley (2-0) led, 10-0, late in the fourth quarter before Griffin hit classmate Juma Richards for a 17-yard touchdown strike that seemed to turn the momentum for the Sea Gulls with 6:14 remaining.

But the Wolverines used an eight-play, 79-yard scoring drive over 4:04 capped by a 15-yard Jahad run to seal their eighth straight win in the Route 13 Rivalry and snap SU's seven-game home winning streak, dating back to Wesley's 17-14 win at Salisbury on Oct. 30, 2010.

Salisbury (1-1) took the opening kickoff and drove to the Wesley 34-yard line before Brian Snell intercepted Griffin, who threw three picks on the night.

The Wolverines advanced to their own 44 in five plays prior to a 40-minute lightning delay halting the action. Wesley was not fazed, though, as coming out of the stoppage, Sottilare found Matt Barile on 3rd-and-9 for 25 yards to jumpstart the drive. Sottilare hooked up with Sean Hopkins on a 17-yard fade to the back corner of the end zone with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, junior safety Greg Stanton intercepted Sottilare at the Wesley 42, returning it 10 yards to give Salisbury good field position but four plays later, Dwayne Glass and Jordan Wescott sacked Griffin to turn the ball over on downs.

The Wolverines responded with a 12-play, eight-minute possession, but linebacker Matt McMurdo snagged his first career interception on the goal line to end the threat and the half.

Wesley extended its lead to 10-0 when Dan Tryon hit a 23-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the third, finishing a stretch where the Wolverines held the ball almost exclusively for over 15-and-a-half minutes.

Neither team could get anything going until Griffin connected with Richards for the Sea Gulls' score. The touchdown moved Griffin into a tie for fourth all-time on SU's scoring chart with 216 points with Jim Watson (1973-76). Griffin also moved past Ronnie Curley (2005-08) for ninth in career passing yards in Salisbury history with 1,833.

Wesley controlled the ball for over 34 minutes on the night to help limit the Salisbury ground game to 267 yards after going for 455 at Christopher Newport University a week ago. Senior superback Joe Benedetti, who rushed for 216 yards and four scores at CNU, was held to 44 yards.

Flanigan made three catches for 51 yards and Richards caught four balls for 40 and the touchdown. Barile made five catches for 95 yards to lead the Wolverines.

Stanton had a team-high eight total tackles, one interception and one of the SU's five tackles for loss. Westcott made seven total stops with half a sack and half a tackle for loss.

Salisbury remains home to host North Carolina Wesleyan College next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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