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Football Comes Up Short at Salisbury, 17-15

Salisbury, MD – Salisbury University scored twice off turnovers early as the Sea Gulls handed Montclair State its first loss of the season 17-15 at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Safety JAIER GARRETT had 18 tackles for MSU (5-1, 4-1 NJAC), which could not overcome six turnovers in the game. Maura Altamura had 14 tackles, a sack, forced fumble and blocked kick as Montclair kept the Sea Gulls vaunted offense in check allowing just 200 yards total, 179 on the ground. Salisbury got on the board first as it executed one of its best drives of the afternoon on its opening possession. Khadarrius Campbell rushed for 33 yards on the drive before Jack Navitsky found Khari Chase from 13 yards out giving the Sea Gulls a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest. Montclair's ZAHIR WILDER gave the Red Hawks great field position on the ensuing kickoff returning it 56 yards to the Salisbury 39. But two plays later, Maurice Harris intercepted a pass returning it 39 yards to the MSU 41. Salisbury took full advantage as Campbell barreled in from a yard out putting the hosts up 14-0 with 4:43 in the first. Things got worse for Montclair State as it fumbled on its next touch with Salisbury recovering the ball at the Sea Gulls 39 with an additional penalty giving the hosts the ball at the MSU 29. The turnover turned into a 36-yard field goal by Trevor Skoglund increasing the Salisbury lead to 17-0 with 2:26 left. MSU got another great return from Wilder, this one 73 yards and were set up at the Salisbury 26. But the Red Hawks could not get anything out of it and turned it over on downs. After being shutout in the first half, Montclair began to turn things around thanks to a special teams play as Altamura blocked a punt with MSU recovering at the Sea Gulls 25. Two plays later, JA'QUILL BURCH hit STEPP OZIEGBE 18 yards for a touchdown as MSU drew within 17-6 after failed extra point. The touchdown gave Montclair State some momentum that grew more when Garrett forced and recovered a fumble at the Salisbury 34. After moving the ball to the run, Burch sneaked in the end zone for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed leaving the Red Hawks at 17-12 deficit with 2:55 remaining in the period. Trailing by five heading into the fourth, special teams came up with another big play as LLOYD TERRY blocked a punt at the Salisbury 20. But in the exchange, the Red Hawks fumbled away the football and instead of taking over the Sea Gulls 13, Salisbury regained possession with a new set of downs. MSU held on that possession and after a short punt, took over at the Salisbury 37 with 9:52 to go. The drive stalled there and Montclair settled for a career-best 49-yard field goal by HUNTER DALY slicing the deficit to 17-15 with 8:29 to play. The Red Hawks had two chances to take the lead in the closing moment however each time it couldn't come up with a game-winning drive. An interception thwarted the first with 5:06 remaining and the second with 3:41 to play ended on downs at the MSU 30. Rookie BRENNAN RAY had 12 tackles and a forced fumble for Montclair while SEAMUS NELSON totaled 10 tackles. The Red Hawks will look to bounced back next week when it hosts third-ranked Frostburg State at Sprague Field in a Noon kickoff.


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