SALISBURY, Md. – Both teams combined for 103 points and 1,051 yards but the sixth-ranked Salisbury University football team prevailed in an offensive slugfest over the No. 13 Union Dutchmen, 62-41, to advance to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Final Score: No. 6 Salisbury 62, No. 13 Union 41
Records: Salisbury (11-0) | Union (11-1)
Location: Sea Gull Stadium – Salisbury, Md.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Salisbury used the big play to get the scoring started early. Jack Lanham found a wide-open Lenard Prue for a 60-yard touchdown pass three plays into the game to give Salisbury the early 7-0 lead.
- Union responded with a long pass of their own when Will Bellamy found Andre Ross Jr. for a 52-yard touchdown.
- Salisbury regained the lead, 14-7 in the middle of the first quarter, three plays after a Mike-Ryan Mofor 45-yard run to get inside the Union red zone. Lanham converted a 3rd-and-1 and found Chad Gleason on a swing pass for a five-yard touchdown reception.
- Union once again responded fast with a two-play, 81-yard drive which was capped off by a Bellamy 21-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Crystal.
- The back-and-forth scoring continued on Salisbury's ensuing drive. A Damien King 28-yard kick return set up Salisbury near midfield. Four plays later, Michael Fowler took a pitch 29 yards for a touchdown.
- Marc Zazzaro returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the Salisbury 38-yard line. A play later, Bellamy connected with Finn Duran for 38 yards to tie the game at 21 with 3:58 left in the quarter.
- Right before the second quarter started, Lanham found Hunter Cleaver on the sideline for a 31-yard pass to put Salisbury on the edge of the Union red zone. Four plays later, Mofor bulldozed his way into the end zone from eight yards out.
- After Gleason returned a punt 50 yards to the Union 20, Salisbury was able to go up two scores, 35-21 when Fowler scored his second touchdown of the day on a 20-yard run.
- The Salisbury defense forced an errant Bellamy throw into the waiting arms of Sean Carroll.
- The offense moved down the field in eight plays and the near five-minute drive was bookended by a Shamar Gray eight-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left in the half.
- Needing to score before the half, Union used the quick-strike ability to convert a two-minute drill and cut the Salisbury lead to 42-28 right before halftime on a Bellamy to Ross 18-yard touchdown.
- Union got the ball to start the second half and trimmed the Salisbury lead to 42-34, two minutes into the half.
- Salisbury got their passing game going on its first drive of the second half with Lanham finding Fowler on the seams for a 30-yard touchdown catch to put Salisbury up 48-34.
- Both teams' defense starting buckling down as the teams traded turnovers. Union looked to score with three minutes left in the quarter but Carroll jumped the route in the end zone for his second interception of the day.
- Union made it a one-score game, 48-41 on an Ike Irabor one-yard touchdown run to cap off a 14-play drive.
- Salisbury answered with a long drive of their own with a Mofor 13-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes left in the game.
- The Salisbury defense forced a four-and-out on Union's next possession to allow Salisbury to take over deep into Union territory.
- A play after Lanham converted a 3rd-and-9 play with a 17-yard keeper to put the Sea Gulls in a goal-to-go situation, Mofor added the insurance that Salisbury needed with a 10-yard run to pull ahead 62-41 on Union.
- Union outgained Salisbury, 531-520.
- Salisbury showed off their balanced attack with 305 rushing yards and 215 passing yards in the game.
- Salisbury held on the ball for 34:22 compared to Union's 25:38.
- Jack Lanham went 9-for-15 in the air for 215 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, Lanham carried the ball nine times for 29 yards.
- Mike-Ryan Mofor tallied a game-high 144 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Mofor averaged 7.2 yards per tote.
- Michael Fowler notched 95 yards of total offense and combined for three touchdowns.
- Five different receivers caught a pass, led by Hunter Cleaver's trio of catches for 66 yards.
- Patrick Bernardo and Sean Carroll paced the defensive effort with eight and six tackles respectively.
- Carroll picked off two Will Bellamy passes and forced a fumble.
- Jamarkus Brumskin also recorded six tackles, a pass breakup and a tackle for loss.
- Harold Kwigova and Sam Pagella each registered five stops in the win.
- Josh Adewumi, Myles Christian and Troy Garrett each broke up two passes.
- Union's Will Bellamy went 28-for-51 for 456 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Andre Ross Jr. came down with eight catches for 219 yards for two scores.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Salisbury advances to their fifth Elite Eight in program history.
- Bernardo passed Mike Myrtle '05 for eighth all-time in career tackles with 271.
- Salisbury will take on No. 4 Muhlenberg in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 7.
- Game time is set for noon at Sea Gull Stadium.