October 15, 2011

Defense stands tall as No. 12 Salisbury blanks No. 22 Alfred, 69-0

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ALFRED, N.Y. – The No. 12 Salisbury University defense forced five turnovers, blocked two punts and limited No. 22 Alfred University to just 155 yards of offense as the Sea Gulls shutout the Saxons, 69-0, at Merrill Field Saturday.

SU (6-0, 4-0 Empire 8), which earned its first six-game winning streak since 2007, also recorded its first shutout since topping Becker College, 63-0, on Oct. 25, 2008.

Salisbury received touchdowns from six different players and amassed 392 yards, sending preseason Empire 8 favorite Alfred (4-2, 2-2) to its second loss of the season.

The Gulls got on the scoreboard just 6:23 into the game on their second drive when Ross Flanigan took it in on an 8-yard rush to punctuate an 11-play, 64-yard march.

Salisbury recovered a muffed snap by AU punter Eric Rockwood on the Saxons' 11-yard line to setup one of Dan Griffin's career-high-tying four rushing touchdowns on the day. Griffin made it 14-0, capping a short drive with a 2-yard plunge five seconds into the second quarter.

Alex Akinseye pounced on his second fumble of the season after Austin Dwyer returned the kickoff to the Alfred 45.

With the ball sitting on the AU 37-yard line, Griffin hit Doug Ticse on a post route for the first of his two passing scores to put the Gulls up, 21-0, with 13:17 to play in the half.

The Gulls added to the lead thanks, in part, to their first blocked punt since the 2008 season. Brandon Lemon got a hand on Rockwood's kick from the Alfred 6 and it was returned to the 2-yard line prior to Griffin sneaking in to push the advantage to 28-0 with 3:48 left before the break.

Salisbury wasn't done, though, as Jamey McClendon scooped up another Saxons' fumble at the AU 24 and Griffin later scampered 8 yards to the end zone for the fifth score of the half.

Griffin added his final rushing touchdown of the day – his second from 1 yard – to move the lead to 42-0 with just 3:54 gone in the third.

Greg Stanton picked up Alfred's third fumble and Griffin made the Saxons pay with a 15-yard strike to Tyler Curley. Juma Richards rushed 38 yards to the Alfred 15 on the previous play.

From there, Salisbury scored three more times on a 35-yard pass from backup quarterback Joey Jones to James White, a 21-yard run by Michael Coppenhaver and a blocked punt and score by Cody Schecter.

Jonathan Briscoe rushed nine times for a game-high 51 yards while Griffin had 31 yards on 11 carries to go with the four touchdowns. He also was 3-for-7 for 95 yards with the two touchdowns through the air.

Ticse led the receiving corps with two catches for 80 yards.

Schecter and McClendon tallied eight tackles apiece, including five solo stops. Matt Leon recovered the last of AU's four fumbles and Curtis Ford picked off a pass at the Salisbury 2 to thwart the Saxons' only scoring threat early in the fourth quarter.

Alfred, which posted just 40 yards passing on the day, was led by Tyler DeRosa. DeRosa had 10 rushing attempts for 46 yards. Quarterback Tim Secky was 3-for-7 before giving way to T.J. Kilcarr, who went 0-for-3 with the interception.

Mike Raplee finished with a game-high 10 tackles for Alfred.

SU is back on the road Saturday at Hartwick College. Kickoff at Wright Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.

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