DUDLEY, Mass. – Junior quarterback Steven Wilken (Ringwood, N.J.) completed 16 of 26 passes for a season-high 217 yards to lead the Salve Regina football team to a 32-0 rout of Nichols on Saturday afternoon in New England Football Conference action.
The Seahawks' (3-1, 2-0 NEFC) offense exploded for a season-high 482 total yards of offense while the defense was equally as dominate, holding the Bison offense (1-3, 0-2 NEFC) to just 93 yards.
"To go on the road, especially against a homecoming crowd, is always a challenge for this team to rise to," said head coach Kevin Gilmartin. "It was another solid performance by this defense, giving up just 25 rushing yards and less than 100 yards of total offense is fantastic to see. Each week our team is getting better."
Senior Richie Edwards (Trumbull, Conn.) rushed for a game-high 133 yards on 16 carries to spark the Seahawks, who won their fourth-straight against Nichols. Of Wilken's 217 passing yards was a 62-yard connection with junior Matthew Traynor (Secaucus, N.J.) to give Salve Regina 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
The Bison were shut out for the first time since a 23-0 loss at MIT in 2011. Sophomore Qullian Respass (Huntington, N.Y.) rushed for 27 yards and completed 8-of-19 passes for 50 yards while senior captain Mario Pires (Malden, Mass.) caught a 23-yard pass on a fake punt in the first half.
Edwards hauled in a 10-yard scoring pass from Wilkins midway through the first half to give SRU a 7-0 lead. Wilkin's second TD pass of the afternoon – an eight-yard hookup with sophomore Alex Hulme (Hopkinton, Mass.) – capped a 13-play, 78-yard drive and doubled the Seahawks lead (14-0) with 7:47 to go in the second quarter.
Following Traynor's touchdown, Wilkin snuck in from one-yard out on fourth down to end the first half and send Salve Regina to the locker room with a 27-0 lead. A safety with 6:04 to go in the third pushed the lead to 29-0, and a 43-yard field goal by sophomore Christian Clark (Williamsport, Pa.) closed the scoring late in the third.
The Seahawks recorded their third shutout in their last 15 games (12-3 record). Junior Matt Conroy (Philadelphia, Pa.) led SRU with seven tackles (all solo) while sophomore Hayden Stanton (Wallingford, Conn.) recorded two of the Seahawks five sacks. Stanton leads Salve Regina with 5.0 sacks on the season and 10.0 in his career as a Seahawk. Nichols was led defensively by sophomore Connor Richard (Londonderry, N.H.) with a game-high 10 tackles (four solo) – including 2.5 tackles for loss. Junior Orlando Vega (Homestead, Fla.) tallied six tackles and the only Bison sack of the day.
The Bison return to action next Saturday when they host Endicott at 1 p.m. The Seahawks welcome Western New England to Gaudet Field at noon.