Sea Gulls break program single-game rushing record in win over William Paterson

Sea Gulls break program single-game rushing record in win over William Paterson

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 23 Salisbury University football team put together another record-setting performance in the team's 62-33 victory over William Paterson University on Saturday afternoon in New Jersey Athletic Conference action at Sea Gull Stadium.

The Sea Gulls broke the program record for single-game rushing yards with 651 yards on the day. They were led by senior Jerome Johnson's career-high 204 yards, which is the most by a single player since Joe Benedetti rushed for 216 against Christopher Newport University on September 1, 2012; Johnson also added two touchdowns.

With 744 yards of total offense, the Gulls accumulated the most yards since the team went for 672 yards on Sept. 18, 2010 against Husson University.

Both teams forced three and outs on the first two drives of the game, but Salisbury struck first on its second drive. Junior Connor Canonico took the ball 23 yards on the first play of the series, before rushes from junior Aarron Moore and Canonico set Salisbury up on the William Paterson 40-yard line.

Junior Ryan Jones rushed for a 40-yard score on the next play, and following the Alex Potocko kick, Salisbury led 7-0.

The Pioneers responded on their next drive, as Dwaine Dabney broke through for an 88-yard touchdown run to tie the score.

The teams each punted once more on their next drives, and Salisbury found itself on its 20-yard line with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Johnson began the drive with a 36-yard rush, before following that with a 21-yard run to get to the William Paterson 23.

Canonico took the next three handoffs for 13 total yards, setting up Johnson to score from 10-yards out; the Gulls took the 14-7 lead into the second quarter.

Salisbury forced another Pioneer punt, which senior Isaiah Taylor returned to the William Paterson 36, and it only took one play for Johnson to find pay dirt for the second time. The 36-yard rush went down the right sideline and gave the Sea Gulls a two-score advantage.

The score began a 27-point quarter for the Gulls, as Canonico rumbled for 29 yards on the team's following series for his first touchdown. Johnson again pulled off a big run in the drive, setting up the Sea Gulls at the Pioneer 24 on a 22-yard scamper. Canonico finished the game with a career-high 184 rushing yards and two scores.

Dabney cut the Gulls' lead back to two touchdowns with a 93-yard run, but Salisbury immediately responded, as the teams traded two scores each in the final four minutes of the first half.

Starting at its 44-yard line, Salisbury began its next drive with Jones finding Taylor deep down the left sideline for a 49-yard reception. It only took one more play for Jones to find the end zone from 7-yards out.

The Pioneers followed with their own two-play drive, scoring on a 74-yard run by Darius Kersey, but Salisbury again answered to take a 41-20 lead into the break.

Canonico began the series with a 16-yard run, before Johnson and Jones went for 10- and 9-yard runs, respectively. From the William Paterson 44, Jones found Taylor on a hitch on the left side. After making his defender miss, Taylor took off for the 44-yard score.

Taylor finished the game with 93 yards receiving, while Jones finished with 93 passing yards, 78 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns.

Salisbury started the second half with two-straight scoring drives, as Canonico notched his second score on a 2-yard run to start the third quarter.

Sophomore Dandre Dennis found the end zone for the first time on the following series on a 12-yard rush. Dennis later scored again on a 5-yard run to set a career high with two touchdowns in the game. His second came with 13:38 left in the fourth quarter to help put the game out of reach; Dennis finished the day with 67 yards rushing.

The Salisbury defense was led by senior Mike Hale and juniors Christian Wilson and Shane Marvel with six total tackles each. Wilson and Marvel also both forced fumbles in the game.

Salisbury takes to the road for its next game, traveling to Kean University on Saturday, October 24; the opening kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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