SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University football team put up 555 yards of total offense against No. 23 Hampden-Sydney College on Saturday afternoon at Sea Gull Stadium, but ended up four points short, taking its first loss of the season, 32-28.
Salisbury got 178 rushing yards and 109 passing yards, both career-highs, from sophomore quarterback Dan Griffin. Griffin led the Sea Gulls down the field on the team's final possession, attempting a late score and a dramatic victory, but the drive stalled out at the 5-yard line on a Griffin pass attempt to senior wideout Alex Boseman that fell incomplete. The Sea Gulls (3-1) drove the ball 75 yards to get to the Tigers' 5. It was the fourth drive of the day for the Sea Gulls that went for more than 70 yards.
The Sea Gulls' longest drive of the day needed just one play and 12 seconds for completion as senior slot Bryan Woolson took a pitch to the right and was gone for an 86-yard score early in the first quarter. It marked the longest rush of Woolson's career, and tied the game 7-7.
Salisbury would have to battle from behind as the Tigers (4-0) put up a pair of David Prizzia field goals to take a 13-7 lead at the half and added a 3-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. After failing on a two-point attempt, Hampden-Sydney had opened up a 19-7 advantage.
But the Salisbury offense would respond. Midway through the third quarter Woolson scampered for his second touchdown of the day, this time a 43-yard run and sophomore A.J. Rosenthal's point after brought the Gulls within five, 19-14.
Griffin, who had a career-long rush of 40 yards entering the game, broke a pair of tackles on the second play of Salisbury's next possession and rumbled 70 yards to pay dirt giving the Sea Gulls their first lead of the day.
The Salisbury defense, which was dealing with the quick, pass-first offense of Hampden-Sydney, got a three-and-out on the next possession, keyed by senior linebacker Justin Chura's sack of quarterback Travis Lane. Chura finished with a team-high nine tackles, including the sack, and a quarterback hurry.
The Sea Gull offense took advantage of the quick return of possession and marched 53 yards on seven plays, before Griffin powered his way into the end zone for his second score of the day and a 28-19 lead with 13:04 to play in the game.
But Lane and the Tigers' passing game were too much in the fourth quarter. Lane was 4-of-6 passing in the final frame, for nearly 100 yards as he found Kyle Vance on a 25-yard strike with 11:34 remaining to get Hampden-Sydney within two, 28-26. Lane then engineered the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, covering 70 yards on eight plays in 3:43, capped by Evan King's 1-yard run with 1:12 showing on the clock.
Lane completed 28-of-44 passes in the game for 383 yards and two scores. He was sacked three times, as senior Riley Fritts and junior Chris Ross each recorded a quarterback takedown to go with Chura's sack.
Salisbury was paced by Griffin's 287 combined passing and rushing yards while Woolson added 147 rushing yards on just eight carries. He also caught one pass for 32 yards.
Salisbury will travel to Newport News, Va., next Saturday to open up Atlantic Central Football Conference play for the final time. They will take on the Apprentice School, beginning at 1:30 p.m.