SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University football team used another strong defensive performance and a stellar running game to claim its third straight win on Saturday afternoon, a 34-6 win against Buffalo State College.
The Salisbury defense came up with three interceptions, two from junior linebacker Steven Gamble and the other for senior safety Greg Stanton, limiting Buffalo State (2-4, 0-3 Empire 8 Athletic Conference) to its lowest point total and second-lowest offensive yardage output this season.
Offensively, the Sea Gulls (3-2, 2-0 Empire 8) were paced by junior quarterback Joey Jones, who ran for a game-high 121 yards and two touchdowns while sophomore Jerome Johnson added 110 rushing yards and a score.
Salisbury took Saturday's opening kickoff and drove 37 yards before stalling out at the Buffalo State 35-yard line. It would be one of just four SU drives which did not result in a touchdown. Salisbury did not punt once during the game.
The Bengals took the opportunity to get on the scoreboard, driving 65 yards, their longest march of the day, over 13 plays, capping things off with a 3-yard touchdown run by quarterback Casey Kacz. Salisbury senior Calvin Ford would block the point-after try, limiting Buffalo State's lead to 6-0.
That was all the scoring the Bengals would do on the day, getting into Salisbury territory only two more times in the contest, and never advancing further than the Sea Gull 12-yard line.
Salisbury came right back, needing just four plays to go 74 yards, finished off by junior Brandon Norwood's 35-yard scoring run. Norwood took a pitch to the left side, utilizing a block by junior wide receiver Frank Lanham to get to the outside and sprint down the sideline for the score. The point-after try by sophomore Jack Molloy gave Salisbury a lead it would not relinquish.
Gamble earned the first of his two interceptions on the Bengals' next possession, batting a ball in the air at the line of scrimmage and gaining possession for the pick.
Jones led the Gulls on their ensuing drive, covering 58 yards. Jones hit junior Desmond Sivels up the seam for a 19-yard gain on a third-and-nine play to keep the drive alive and ran the ball twice, including a 17-yard run, shaking Bengal defensive back Mitchell Thomas at the line of scrimmage to get a clear path to the end zone for a 13-6 lead.
Johnson gave Salisbury a 20-6 lead at the break, taking one of his six carries in the game 40 yards down the sideline, sprung by a block from senior wide receiver Michael Copenhaver, for his score in the game.
Buffalo State put together a long drive to open the third quarter. The Bengals drove 63 yards over 15 plays, pushing to the Salisbury 12-yard line, threatening to get back within one score before Gamble pulled down his second pick of the day, and third in the past two weeks, to end the drive.
Salisbury was good for two more scores, a 1-yard plunge by junior super back Tyler West, the first of his career, in the third quarter and Jones' second of the day, from 31 yards out, getting a key block from junior wide receiver Dave Albert.
Stanton grabbed his interception, the 10th of his career, moving him into a tie for eighth in program history, midway through the fourth quarter as Kacz launched a ball down field while avoiding pressure. Stanton and the Salisbury defense snapped a seven-game streak for Kacz in which he had thrown at least one touchdown pass in each game.
Kacz finished the game having completed 22-of-32 passes, but garnering just 153 yards through the air, as his longest completion gained just 17 yards. He found Mike Doherty six times for 64 yards and Caesarae Lewis six times for 36 yards.
Ford finished with eight tackles, six solo and one for a loss, to pace the Salisbury defense. Sophomore Michael Landry had six tackles while seniors Joey Buckley and Matt Banta each registered one sack.
Salisbury ran the ball for a season-high 404 yards and 455 yards of total offense is also the most this season. Johnson, Sivels and junior Isaiah Taylor each caught passes for the Gulls while senior Nick Aloi ran for 59 yards.
Salisbury will be back in action next Saturday, hosting St. John Fisher College as part of Family Weekend. The game at Sea Gull Stadium kicks off at 12 p.m.