Defense notches first shutout since 2013 with 35-0 win at Southern Virginia

Defense notches first shutout since 2013 with 35-0 win at Southern Virginia

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The No. 15 Salisbury University football team remained perfect on the season and posted the program's first shutout since the 2013 season taking down Southern Virginia University on Saturday, 35-0, in New Jersey Athletic Conference play.

The Sea Gull defense allowed only 178 yards of total offense, all coming on the ground as Salisbury (3-0, 2-0 NJAC) rendered the Knights' aerial attack ineffective. Southern Virginia (1-2, 0-2 NJAC), now running an option offense, attempted just five passes, completing none, while the Sea Gull defense picked off three of the tries. The Knights could average only 3.6 yards per rush, getting into Salisbury territory on just four drives.

Freshman Andre Boone and junior Kenny Vercilien led the way defensively with Boone notching eight tackles and Vercilien getting seven while senior Jorry Matherson picked off two passes.

Neither team scored in the first quarter as Southern Virginia managed just three first downs in the quarter while the Sea Gulls advanced to Knights' territory twice, but saw both drives stall out just across midfield.

The scoring would not start until Salisbury put together a 71-yard drive and quarterback Ryan Jones found pay dirt on a 1-yard run with just over four minutes left in the first half. Two more scores would follow as Salisbury put up 21 points in 4:01.

The Sea Gull defense forced a three-and-out possession for the Knights following Jones' score then the Salisbury offense covered 69 yards in just 1:52 with senior Connor Canonico getting in the end zone on a 1-yard run.

A long run put the Knights into Salisbury territory for the first time in the game, but a sack by David Handy on fourth down ended the drive with eight seconds to play and Jones took advantage of the chance, connecting with Damien King for a 48-yard touchdown pass and the Alex Potocko point after gave the Gulls a 21-0 halftime lead.

The second half began with the Salisbury defense forcing another three and out, and Salisbury went 75 yards sparked by Ryan Kolb's 25-yard run and Canonico got in the end zone for the second time from a yard out for the 28-0 lead.

Dandre Dennis would score Salisbury's final touchdown of the day, on an 18-yard run, as the Sea Gulls rushed for 315 yards in the game led by Brady Curley's 60 yards while Malique Pratt went for 57 and Aarron Moore added 55. Jones completed 4-of-12 passes for 99 yards in the victory.

The win gives Salisbury its first 3-0 start to a season since 2011 when the Sea Gulls opened with seven-straight victories.

The Sea Gulls return home next Saturday, October 1 for Homecoming when they host The College of New Jersey at 1 p.m., at Sea Gull Stadium.

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