EWING, N.J. – Salisbury University football stretched its winning streak to three with a 27-7 victory over host The College of New Jersey on Saturday afternoon scoring 27 unanswered points including 20 in the second half to earn the win.
TCNJ (0-4) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead just over 45 seconds into the game with an 11 yard touchdown pass from Thomas Koenig. The scoring drive took just two plays and covered 12 yards after a Brandon Lewis fumble gave the Lions great field position.
However, Salisbury (3-1) would not be deterred responding with a long touchdown drive of its own to tie the game seven all. After trading punts with each other the Sea Gulls got the back with 8:44 left to play in the first quarter and proceeded to march 87 yards in 6:24 on 13 plays capping the drive with a Brady Curley two yard touchdown run leveling the score at 7-7.
That score was all the excitement for the first half as both teams traded punts for the remainder of the first half. TCNJ would fumble with under a minute to play right before halftime but the Gulls decided to run out the clock and head to locker room with the game tied at 7-7.
TCNJ received the opening kickoff of the second half but the offense wasn't on the field for long as Keith Payne intercepted a Trevor Olser pass and returned it nine yards to the TCNJ 22 yard line.
Lewis and the Sea Gull offense went work going on a five play 22 yard drive capped off by a Lewis 10 yard touchdown run to take the lead for good at 14-7.
After another back and forth battle with neither offense gaining any traction Salisbury got the ball back with 3:17 left to play in the third quarter at TCNJ 48 yard line. Malique Pratt got the offense going with two runs of 19 and 15 yards to get the Gulls to the Lions 14 yard line. Lewis capped the drive once again taking it himself three yards for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon and a 21-7 lead for the Gulls with just one second left to play in the third quarter.
Blake Joppy, who finished the game with 53 yards rushing, sealed the win with his 18 yard scamper late in the four quarter pushing the Salisbury advantage to 27-7 with just under four minutes left to play in the game.
For the game Lewis completed all three of his passes for 42 yards while turning in 12 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Pratt finished the game as the Gulls leading rusher gaining 90 yards with a long of 19.
As a team Salisbury rushed for 209 rushing yards on a combined 59 attempts. The Sea Gulls were 5-of-12 on third down and 1-of-1 on fourth while winning the time of possession battle holding the ball for 32:54.
Defensively the Gulls held TCNJ to just 182 total yards of offense and -21 yards rushing. The defense also forced three Lions turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble, while only turning the ball over once themselves.
Patrick Bernardo led the maroon and gold with seven total tackles, six solo, while also recording one sack. Dakarai Ellis finished second on the team with five tackles while positing a team-high one and a half sack.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, October 7, when it returns home for a homecoming showdown against the Captains of Christopher Newport University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.