NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Fueled by standout performances in all three facets of the game, the No. 11/14 Salisbury University football team overpowered the Christopher Newport Captains, 84-14, in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) action on Saturday. Salisbury's 84 points are tied for the second-most points scored in program history.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- CNU's opening drive stalled in Salisbury's half of the field. Ryan Castle's 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned to the endzone but an illegal block took the points off the board.
- Joey Bildstein put the first points on the board on a three-yard dive play. On the ensuing kickoff, Wylen Tompkins forced a fumble on the return and Carlton Johnson scooped up the ball and took it 14 yards for a touchdown to put Salisbury up 14-0 midway through the first.
- On the next drive, Matt Dzierski connected with Garrison Mayo down the sideline but Aaron Jahnke stripped Mayo before he stepped out of bounds. Myles Christian picked up the ball and returned it deep in CNU territory.
- Two plays later, Billy Gant found Gabriel Mendez on the seam for a 21-yard touchdown to give SU the 21-0 lead with just under five minutes left in the quarter.
- Salisbury capped off the scoring in the first quarter with a pick-six by A.J. Butler to push Salisbury's lead up to 28-0 at the end of the first.
- Three plays after a 29-yard completion from Gant to Hunter Cleaver, Gant ran a pitch play to Pierre Johnson who carried the ball 27 yards for a score.
- CNU responded to SU's 35 unanswered points with a long 10-play drive, which ended with a one-yard Aaron Williams touchdown to cut into Salisbury's lead, 35-7.
- Salisbury answered the CNU score with a nine-play, 90-yard drive. Gant galloped into the endzone on a quarterback keeper from a yard out to extend Salisbury's lead to 42-7 before halftime.
- Two long runs on Salisbury's first drive of the second half put the Sea Gulls on the CNU side of the field. Cleaver reeled in a 33-yard touchdown from Gant to push Salisbury's lead up to 49-7,
- Williams scored on the ensuing CNU drive to trim Salisbury's lead to 49-14.
- The Sea Gulls responded two plays following the kickoff with Chad Gleason's 58-yard touchdown run.
- CNU turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive and gave Salisbury the ball inside the 10. Andre Matthews stepped in for Gant and scored on a keeper from three yards out.
- Salisbury continued to capitalize on CNU turnovers as a fumble by Dzierski forced by Kevin Linden was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Sean Carroll to put SU up 70-13 with four and a half minutes left in the third.
- Hunter Hruz opened the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown scamper to extend Salisbury's lead to 77-14.
- Hruz found the endzone for the second time in the quarter from 11 yards out to give the final score margin, 84-14.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- It is the third time in the NJAC era that Salisbury has scored 80 or more points. Most recently against SUNY-Maritime in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Salisbury scored 91 points against Southern Virginia on Sept. 26, 2015.
- Salisbury scored on offense, defense and special teams in the victory.
- The defense forced four CNU turnovers and scored twice on defense.
- The Sea Gulls totaled 547 yards of offense with 24 first downs and 6-for-6 on third down.
- Billy Gant was a perfect 5-for-5 passing for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Gant also scored once on the ground with 54 yards.
- 11 different Sea Gulls carried the ball, led by Chad Gleason. Gleason tallied 82 rushing yards and a touchdown.
- Hunter Hruz notched his first multi-score game for the Sea Gulls with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. He toted the ball six times for 57 yards.
- Pierre Johnson, Joey Bildstein and Andre Matthews each registered rushing touchdowns.
- Hunter Cleaver reeled in three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Gabriel Mendez also caught a receiving touchdown.
- Sam Pagella led the defense with seven tackles.
- Aaron Jahnke, Kevin Linden, Wylen Tompkins and Matthew Harper forced four CNU fumbles.
- A.J. Butler intercepted a pass and returned 53 yards for a touchdown.
- Sean Carroll recovered a fumble and return it 51 yards for a score.
- Bert Schrecongost had a busy day, converting all 12 extra-point attempts.
CNU GAME NOTES
- Matt Dzierski completed 14-for-21 passes for 184 yards.
- Aaron Williams scored both of CNU's touchdowns.
- Garrison Mayo caught a game-high five passes for 99 yards.
- Logan Baker paced the defense with 11 tackles.
- Salisbury will finish the regular season with back-to-back home games, starting on Saturday, Nov. 6 against the TCNJ Lions.
- The game has been moved from a 6 p.m. start to a 2 p.m. kickoff at Sea Gull Stadium.
- The Sea Gulls have a chance to clinch at least a share of the NJAC Championship and the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a win over TCNJ.
Salisbury University is a proud member of NCAA Division III with primary membership in the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference, along with the New Jersey Athletic Conference for football and the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Conference for men's and women's swimming. With over 500 student-athletes in 21 varsity sports, SU is recognized as one of the most competitive intercollegiate athletics programs regardless of division, and dedicated coaches and staff that foster excellence on-and-off the field. The Sea Gulls have celebrated 22 team national championships, 24 individual national champions, 184 conference championships and 41 Academic All-Americans.
To learn more about the tradition of excellence with Sea Gull Athletics, visit www.SUSeaGulls.com or on social media @SUSeaGulls.