The sixth-ranked Salisbury University football team is headed to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after a convincing 83-0 victory over SUNY Maritime College.
Head coach Sherman Wood said he was pleased with his team's success in all phases.
"We played a complete game," Wood said. "We played pretty good team football ... Obviously, we'll take this win and see what happens next."
Salisbury entered yesterday's action with an undefeated record and the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship. The Gulls hold a top seed in the tournament.
SUNY Maritime earned the automatic bid from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, finishing the regular season at 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
The Sea Gulls (10-0, 7-0) started the fireworks early. Receiving the ball to start the game, Salisbury put together a seven-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Jack Lanham.
Lanham was named the NJAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year on Friday. He was also one of 13 Sea Gulls to be named to an All-NJAC team.
On the Privateers' first official offensive play, senior inside linebacker Patrick Bernardo forced a fumble that junior defensive back Joseph Manso would recover.
Salisbury found the end zone on its next offensive snap, an 18-yard touchdown run-in by junior slotback Chad Gleason, to put the home team up 14-0.
The Privateers (5-6, 3-2 ECFC) fumbled again on the first play of their next possession. Freshman defensive back Troy Garrett made the recovery for Salisbury.
Three plays later, Shamar Gray found pay-dirt on a two-yard run to grow the lead to three possessions for the Sea Gulls.
Salisbury scored on every offensive drive of the first half. Three more touchdowns from senior super-back Mike-Ryan Mofor, Gleason and Lanham put the Gulls up 42-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Mofor, Gray and Lanham would each take another touchdown in the second quarter, giving the Sea Gulls a 63-0 lead at the break.
Salisbury opted to pull the majority of the starters in the second half. Junior quarterback Jack Navitsky took over for Lanham on the first second-half drive for the maroon and gold.
Lanham finished the day with six rushes for 47 yards and three scores. He also went 2-3 through the air for 65 yards and surpassed 1,000 passing yards on the season.
Lanham said his success under center starts with the coaching staff and the offense they have built around him.
"The offensive coaches get the credit, honestly," Lanham said. "Every game we've played in, I felt like we've been in the best possible spot to succeed."
On the second possession of the third quarter, Navitsky took a keeper nine yards and into the end zone, putting Salisbury up 69-0 after a missed extra point from junior kicker Bert Schrecongost.
This would be the lone score of the third quarter as the Gulls began to wind the remaining clock down.
Junior slotback Damien King and freshman slotback Joey Bildstein would both rush for touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Billy Gant also saw some time on the field in the fourth.
Salisbury will face Union College of New York in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. The game will be played at Sea Gull Stadium, with the time to be determined.
By NICK LEWIS
Featured photo: Sports Information image.