Sea Gulls back home after tough loss at Ithaca

The Salisbury University football team saw its three-game winning streak snapped at Ithaca College on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Bombers, 32-7.

The Sea Gulls (4-3, 3-2 Empire 8 Athletic Conference) took the opening kickoff and were forced to punt before the Bombers moved into Salisbury territory. The Sea Gull defense would hold Ithaca to a fourth down at the SU 24-yard line, where kicker Max Rottenecker booted a 41-yard field goal for a 3-0 Ithaca lead.

It was the first of four field goals for the Bombers on the day, as the Salisbury defense would allow touchdowns on just two of the four red-zone chances Ithaca (5-2, 4-2 Empire 8) had on the day.

Ithaca’s next drive was halted quickly, with a three-and-out, thanks to sophomore linebacker Shane Marvel making a stop on Tristan Brown’s rush on third-and-1. It was one of eight stops on the day for Marvel, five of which were solo tackles.

But on the punt, the Bombers forced a fumble and got a quick scoring play to push the lead to 10-0.

Ithaca would score again early in the second quarter and add another Rottenecker field goal, this time from 45 yards, to take a 19-0 lead.

Taking control with 2:14 left in the first half, the Sea Gulls would answer with their longest drive of the day, covering 73 yards over 10 plays to get in the end zone. The big play was a third-down conversion when junior quarterback John Dunbar connected with sophomore Aarron Moore for a 31-yard pass play, to the Ithaca 1-yard line.

After Dunbar spiked the ball, he got stopped on a rushing play before sophomore Connor Canonico forced his way in for the touchdown. When classmate Zak Osborne’s point after was good, the Gulls had cut the lead to 19-7 heading to halftime.

The Salisbury defense would hold the Bombers to a quick three-and-out to open the second half, with a pair of incomplete passes and juniors Rahsaan Ellis and George Van Hove combining to stop Ben Cary short of a first down after receiving a pass from Tom Dempsey.

The Sea Gulls took over following the punt, but would turn the ball over, and the Bombers raced down the field to take a 26-7 lead.

Salisbury would get the ball into Ithaca territory just once in the second half, while the Bombers would score a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to push the final margin to 32-7.

Sophomore Christian Wilson recorded a game-high 12 tackles and forced a fumble to lead the Salisbury defense, while Dunbar threw for 67 yards and junior slot Jerome Johnson ran for 36 yards in the contest.

Salisbury returns home to Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday to take on Alfred University. The game is scheduled to kickoff at  noon.

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