UNION, N.J. – The Salisbury University football team battled to a 21-13 New Jersey Athletic Conference win on Saturday afternoon at Kean University.
After the game went to the half with the Sea Gulls ahead, 14-13, it became a defensive battle in the second half, with the teams combining for 81 yards of total offense in the third quarter before Salisbury went for a key 83-yard drive to push its lead to eight points.
The Sea Gulls used 11 plays to cover the distance early in the fourth quarter, including a Blake Joppy 4-yard run to convert the only third down of the drive, and finishing the possession when quarterback Brandon Lewis came to his right on a first-and-goal play from the Kean 5-yard line. He pitched to Brian Legue, who made one cut back to the left and got in the end zone untouched for his second score of the day with eight minutes left in the game.
The Salisbury defense, which had allowed minimal yards throughout the second half, held their line for the final two Kean possessions of the game, not allowing the Cougars to get past the Salisbury 18-yard line.
On their final drive, the Cougars converted two fourth downs, but the Sea Gull defense would not allow the potential tying score. After Kean advanced to the 18-yard line on a scramble from quarterback Charles App, the Cougars tried to set up a screen on the first-down play. Initially a fake went to the right, but the set up took too long, allowing Brandon Robeson to burst up the middle, planting App for a sack and a loss of 11 yards.
The initial play left too much ground for the Cougars to make up, and they faced a fourth-and-18 situation from the Salisbury 26. App lofted a ball down the left sideline for David Patterson, but defensive back Keith Payne was in position and elevated to intercept the pass, ending the drive.
One kneel down later, the Sea Gulls has collected their second win of the season.
In the first half, Salisbury made its way through the air offensively, with senior quarterback Brandon Lewis connecting on 8-of-10 pass attempts for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Cougars scored twice in the first half to take a 13-7 lead after missing one of the extra-point tries.
Lewis gave Salisbury the lead for good connecting with Legue for a five-yard scoring pass with just over four minutes left in the first half.
The Sea Gulls are on the road again next Saturday, September 23 when they head to The College of New Jersey for their next NJAC contest. That game will begin at 12 p.m.