SALISBURY, MD – Alfred University freshman placekicker Trevor Monk booted a 22-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Saxons a 23-21 Empire 8 Conference victory at Salisbury Saturday afternoon.
Monk's late-game heroics made up for his blocked extra point early in the fourth quarter, which would have tied the game at 21-21. With the win, AU improves to 5-3 overall and evens the Saxons' Empire 8 mark at 3-3.
Alfred's winning drive came after the Saxons recovered a Salisbury fumble at the AU 24-yard line with 8:37 left in regulation and Alfred trailing 21-20. The Saxons marched 72 yards in 16 plays, consuming all but three seconds of remaining game clock before Monk was sent out to attempt the game-winning kick.
It was the third of three long Saxon drives. The first came with 2:21 left in the first half, after Salisbury had taken a 7-0 lead on a two-yard scoring run by Jerome Johnson. AU responded on its next drive, when sophomore quarterback Tyler Johnson tossed a 10-yard TD pass to sophomore wide receiver Rodney Etienne to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 7:50 And knotted the contest at 7-7.
The Saxons' lead was short-lived, as Salisbury took advantage of a fumbled punt at the AU 5-yard line with 1:02 left in the half. Two plays later, Salisbury quarterback Ryan Jones scored on a one-yard run with 27 seconds left and the Sea Gulls led 14-7.
Alfred tied the game at 14-14 late in the third quarter, as Johnson scored on a one-yard run to end a 13-play, 81-yard drive that took up 7:50. The Saxons' long drive came after Salisbury fumbled at the Alfred 9-yard line. Salisbury reclaimed the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 14-yard Johnson run. The touchdown came on Salisbury's first play after taking over at the AU 14-yard line after a five-yard punt.
Again, Alfred responded, this time in lightning quick fashion. After AU took over at its own 20-yard line following Salisbury's go-ahead score, Etienne threw a 76-yard TD pass to sophomore wideout Brendan Buisch on third-and-14. The PAT was blocked and Alfred trailed 21-20 with 13:57 left in regulation, setting the stage for Monk's late game-winner.
AU threw for 211 yards, with Johnson completing 18 of 25 passes for 135 yards and a score. He also ran for a game-high 86 yards on 19 carries. Buisch caught five passes for 119 yards and a TD and Etienne caught two for 16 yards and a score. Etienne's TD pass was his second of the season. Senior tight end Isiah Young caught four passes for 18 yards.
Salisbury (4-4, 3-3 E8) came into the game averaging 307 yards rushing per and 75 passing per game, but were held to 253 on the ground and none through the air. Johnson had 68 yards rushing, while Jones added 63 and Connor Canonico 53.
Freshman linebacker A.J. Licata had six tackles (two for loss) and forced two fumbles, and junior middle linebacker Corry Wallace had a game-high 11 tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the AU defense. Senior linebacker Justin Liberta had nine tackles; sophomore end Zack Bacon had five tackles (one for loss); and junior free safety Mike Berardi had five stops.
Shane Marvel had nine tackles to lead Salisbury. Nick Anzallo had seven (one for loss) and James Bryant had eight.
AU is in action next on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. at Utica.