No. 7 Salisbury throttles N.C. Wesleyan, 69-6, as defense shines
SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 7 Salisbury University football team forced five turnovers and limited North Carolina Wesleyan College to 204 yards of offense in a 69-6 win at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday.
Freshman slot Jerome Stanley led the Salisbury (2-1) rushing attack with 94 yards and one touchdown on eight carries while backup quarterback classmate John Dunbar rushed 12 times for 76 yards and three scores to help the Sea Gulls pile up 341 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
The Sea Gulls' defense recovered three fumbles – with senior linebacker Matt McMurdo running one back for a touchdown – picked off two passes, collected five sacks, 12 tackles for loss and blocked its second extra point of the season in dominating North Carolina Wesleyan (1-2).
Senior superback Joe Benedetti (31 yards, two touchdowns) punched the ball in from 4 yards just 2:26 in the game, finishing a five-play, 62-yard drive for a 7-0 lead and SU was off and running. Just 2:35 later senior quarterback Dan Griffin found classmate Juma Richards streaking down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass at the 9:59 mark to extend the lead. Stanley added a 14-yard touchdown run to put Salisbury up 21-0 with nearly three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Leading, 28-0, in the second quarter with the Battling Bishops driving, freshman linebacker Nick Anzallo forced a fumble by NCWC quarterback Laron Ellerbe, which McMurdo scooped and ran 28 yards to the end zone for a 35-0 lead and his second career touchdown with 10:24 left before halftime.
Stanley picked up his second touchdown of the day, a 6-yard catch from Griffin one minute before the break to put the Sea Gulls up, 42-0. Griffin was 3-for-4 passing for 66 yards and two scores and ran eight times for 47 before giving way to Dunbar.
After a 7-yard rushing touchdown from Joey Sutch early in the third quarter, North Carolina Wesleyan broke up the shutout bid. Running back Jacques Alston raced 75 yards to pay dirt with 7:33 left in the period. Junior safety Greg Stanton blocked the extra point, keeping it a 48-6 game.
Dunbar recorded touchdowns runs of 1, 2 and 6 yards, respectively in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
Salisbury had 439 yards of offense, holding the ball for 27:55 for the game.
Alston led NCWC with 126 yards and the touchdown on 10 carries while John Jackson was 10-of-16 for 60 yards and an interception passing. Timaine Moore made a game-high six receptions for 39 yards.
Stanton paced the SU defensive effort with eight tackles, one interception, two breakups and the blocked kick. McMurdo, junior Issa Diarra and sophomore Josh Danko each tallied six stops. Diarra also had two sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Danko had a tackle for loss, forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass broken up.
Ed Harrington led the Battling Bishops with nine tackles (six solo).
Following a bye, Salisbury starts Empire 8 Athletic Conference play at conference-newcomer Buffalo State College, Sept. 29 at noon.