/seasons/2012/contrib/201211035umvxr

No. 16 Salisbury earns Empire 8 automatic bid with 63-23 win over Utica

More news about: Salisbury

SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 16 Salisbury University football team rushed for a season-high 559 yards and nine touchdowns and claimed the Empire 8 Athletic Conference's automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament with a 63-23 victory over Utica College at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday.

Senior quarterback Dan Griffin ran for a game- and career-high five touchdowns with 137 yards and classmate superback Joe Benedetti added two scores and a game-best 153 yards on 19 carries on Senior Day.

The nine rushing TDs are the most for Salisbury (7-2, 5-1 Empire 8) since it matched the number in a 70-45 win at Utica last season. SU totaled 606 yards overall on the day; it was the first time Salisbury had over 600 yards of offense since the win against the Pioneers on Oct. 1, 2011.

Up, 7-3, on a with 3:01 left in the first quarter, Salisbury turned it on.

Griffin hit senior slot Ross Flanigan on a 47-yard pass play to the UC 10-yard line, and two plays later, sophomore slot Isaiah Taylor ran it in for a 6-yard touchdown with 1:42 left in the quarter.

After a three and out from the Pioneers, Griffin took the first snap of the second quarter 56 yards down the sideline for a 21-3 lead. Dakota Peel fumbled the ensuing kickoff to linebacker James White on the Utica 24, setting up a Benedetti 13-yard touchdown that made it 28-3 with 12:56 to play in the second.

Utica quarterback Andrew Benkwitt connected with Jeremy Meier on a 58-yard pass and a 9-yard TD strike later in the drive to Joseph Gerbino to cut into the SU lead to 28-10 with 11:46 left in the half, but the Gulls responded with 10-play 75-yard drive, chewing up five minutes, that ended with a 4-yard Griffin score.

Utica (6-3, 4-2) marched to the Salisbury 16 on its next possession but senior safety Chris Everett intercepted Benkwitt in the end zone with 3:31 left to keep the Pioneers off the board.

Leading, 42-10, early in the third junior slot Lonnie Liggins, a transfer for the United States Military Academy, scored a 9-yard touchdown for his first as a Sea Gull to make it 49-10 with 11:03 left in the quarter.

Griffin added two more touchdowns of 2 and 1 yard, respectively sandwiched by a 22-yard rushing TD by UC's Jesse Baldassare and a 15-yard fumble recovery for a score by James Lenahan for the final margin.

The 30 points scored by Griffin in the game move him into second place all-time on SU's points-scored list with 258, six behind Mike Coppa (1984-87). Griffin also has 2,325 passing yards, good for sixth in school history, and his 2,550 rushing yards are eighth best.

Benedetti and Griffin ran for 8.1 yards per carry while Flanigan also posted 81 yards on seven attempts (10.9-yard average). Taylor and Liggins chipped in with 70 and 54 yards, respectively.

Benkwitt was 26-for-37 for 225 yards, a touchdown and interception to lead Utica. Meier posted nine catches and 112 yards. Baldassare had 68 yards and a TD on 17 carries.

Greg Stanton and Sal Carfaro had seven tackles apiece for Salisbury with Stanton picking off his team-leading fifth pass of the season in the fourth quarter. Senior Paul Moore led a group of five with six stops each; he also had a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and three breakups.

Luke Manolescu paced five Pioneers with double-digit tackles with 15. Lenahan recovered two fumbles for Utica.

Salisbury travels to Frostburg State University next Saturday for the 14th annual Regents Cup beginning at 1 p.m.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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4th - 15:00
14 St. John Fisher
14 Hartwick
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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4th qtr; 11:27
23 Salve Regina
31 Western Connecticut
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2nd - 9:11
14 Adrian
21 UW-Stevens Point
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10 Tufts
0 Wesleyan
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6:00 PM
Methodist at Averett
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7 Centre
7 Berry
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2nd - 08:34
0 Waynesburg
14 Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
St. Vincent at Grove City
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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1st - 04:46
0 Lakeland
7 UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Carthage at Augustana
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7:00 PM
Chicago at Illinois College
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7:00 PM
McMurry at Sul Ross State
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7:30 PM
Capital at Wilmington
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8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Lawrence
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8:00 PM
Belhaven at East Texas Baptist
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Arizona Christian at Whittier
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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2nd - 08:34
0 Waynesburg
14 Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
North Park at Illinois Wesleyan
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1st - 04:46
0 Lakeland
7 UW-Platteville
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7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live stats Audio Audio