SALISBURY, Md. – A tough battle between two top-10 teams went against the eighth-ranked Salisbury University football as the Sea Gulls dropped their 2021 home opener to the third-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks, 31-14, on Saturday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Both teams exchanged special teams' miscues on their opening drives of the game. After a sack by Casey Counts on the SU eight-yard line on Whitewater's opening possession, a botched hold on a 25-yard field goal attempt by Nate Custer led to a turnover on downs and a defensive stand for Salisbury.
- The two teams jockeyed for position throughout the rest of the first quarter. Salisbury's offense got going late in the first with a Jack Lanham to Gabriel Mendez connection on a 36-yard seam up the middle.
- Salisbury marched down on the 10-play drive into Whitewater territory following the big play by Mendez but was stopped on the Whitewater 12-yard line on a 4th-and-1 play and ended the drive with no score.
- Whitewater responded with a 12-play, 88-yard drive following the turnover on downs, which was capped by a Max Meylor to Tyler Holte 12-yard touchdown pass for the opening score of the game midway through the second.
- After Salisbury was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, Whitewater answered quickly when a double move on the sideline by Ryan Wisniewski left him open for a 70-yard touchdown catch and run to double the UWW lead to 14-0 with just over two minutes left to go in the first half.
- Whitewater opened the second half with possession. The Salisbury defense forced a stop on third down when pressure forced Meylor to roll out to his left and Sam Pavlick chased him down. The Whitewater punt bounced in Salisbury's favor to start the drive on the Whitewater 46-yard line.
- Salisbury moved the ball down the field with efficiency in its opening drive of the half. After runs by Marcus Wilson and Chad Gleason put the Sea Gulls in the red zone, Lanham bulldozed his way through two defenders and crossed the goal line with a 14-yard scamper to cut the Whitewater lead in half, 14-7, six minutes into the half.
- Using the momentum to their advantage, the Sea Gulls looked like they forced another defensive stop but a neutral zone infraction on third down gave the Warhawks a first down a new life. Later in the drive, Whitewater capitalized with a 34-yard touchdown grab from Meylor to Wisniewski to put Whitewater back up two scores in the waning moments of the third.
- Whitewater started to pull away in the fourth quarter after a 25-yard run by Alex Peete and a pass interference call put the Warhawks in a goal-to-go situation. Meylor connected with Peete out of the backfield for a 10-yard touchdown to bookend a 17-point run for the Warhawks.
- Salisbury wouldn't go down without a fight. Midway through the fourth, Josh Adewumi forced a Jaylon Edmonson fumble which was scooped up by Sean Carroll and returned 45 yards for a touchdown for the final margin, 31-14.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Jack Lanham accounted for 149 yards of offense. Lanham went 9-of-19 for 125 yards and an interception. The senior quarterback scored on the ground and tallied 24 rushing yards.
- Hunter Cleaver caught three passes for 69 yards, including a 54-yard reception on the penultimate play of the game.
- Chad Gleason carried the ball five times for 34 yards.
- Casey Counts led the defensive effort with a career-high 11 stops. He made three sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
- Myles Christian totaled nine tackles on the day, including eight solo tackles.
- Sam Pagella and Jimmy Celentano each collected eight tackles.
- Sam Pavlick recorded seven tackles, including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
- As a team, Salisbury sacked Max Meylor four times.
WHITEWATER GAME NOTES
- The Warhawks held the total offense and time of possession advantage. UWW totaled 360 yards of total offense compared to SU's 247 and held on the ball for 33:14.
- Max Meylor went 16-for-23 for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
- Alex Peete rushed for 86 yards on 18 attempts.
- Ryan Wisniewski caught five passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
- Jaden Hendrickson secured six tackles.
- After a bye week, Salisbury will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 25 against the Western New England Golden Bears.
- Kickoff from Sea Gull Stadium is set for noon with the pregame show on the Sea Gull Sports Network starting at 11:40 p.m.