Falcons fall, 43-8
After a disappointing loss to Palisades in week one, Northwestern put together an impressive performance against Salisbury that resulted in a 43-8 win over the Falcons to even their record at 1-1.
Tigers' coach Josh Snyder stressed to his team in the week leading up to their meeting with Salisbury that they needed offense, defense and special teams to all perform well.
He also stressed that the meeting with the Falcons was a key game even though it was so early in the season, because they needed to avoid starting with two straight losses.
"It was crucial," said Snyder. "We told the team all week that this was a must-win game if we wanted to reach our goals. We know what we're capable of. It's just a matter of getting the reps in practice and coming out and doing it on the field."
Special teams made a big play early with a blocked punt deep in Salisbury territory, giving Northwestern the ball at the Salisbury four-yard line. From there, the Tigers put the ball in the end zone when quarterback Frank Dangello went straight up the middle from the one-yard line.
The Tigers went for the two-point conversion and Cameron Richardson scampered around the left side to put Northwestern up 8-0 with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
"We stressed all three phases of the game, but our special teams really lifted us up with that blocked punt leading to that touchdown on the first possession and that was huge," stressed Snyder.
The defense limited Salisbury to just 158 total yards, while the offense compiled 247 yards. On Salisbury's second possession, the Tigers took advantage of the second bad snap of the night by the Falcons that left them with a third-and-seven. Quarterback Troy Parton dropped back to pass, but had no time thanks to Jacob Najarian, who sacked Parton at the Salisbury 29-yard line.
The offense really got on track late in the first quarter and put together a nine-play, 46-yard drive as Northwestern patiently pounded the ball on the ground.
Harry Hall picked up 30 yards rushing on the drive, including a one-yard dash into the end zone. Hall finished the night with 85 yards on 16 carries for the Tigers. Brandon Miller added his first of five extra points on the night as Northwestern stretched its lead to 15-0.
Northwestern scored three more times in the second quarter. Richardson came up big with a 52-yard catch from Dangello for one score and then a 59-yard run late in the second quarter to put Northwestern up 36-0 as the two teams headed for the locker room at the half.
Richardson finished the night with 147 yards of total offense on 11 carries for 82 yards and three catches for 65 yards.
"We picked up the intensity as a coaching staff this past week and the kids responded really well," said Snyder. "We came out fast and I think we were really ready to play football tonight."
The Tigers opened the second-half at their own 32-yard line and put together a 12-play, 68-yard drive capped by Richardson's two-yard run for a touchdown and a 43-0 lead.
At that point, Northwestern pulled most of its starting players off the field and Salisbury put together a 16-play, 85-yard drive stretching from late in the third quarter to well into the fourth quarter.
Tevon Weber, who rotated in and out at quarterback with Parton, played a big part in the drive, dashing for 30 yards on a second-and-eight keeper and then hitting Devin Irwin with a 25-yard pass three plays later. Weber struck again with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Hartzell for Salisbury's only score of the night.
The Tigers had one stalled drive and Salisbury took over with time running out. Weber threw one incomplete pass and then launched a hail Mary that was intercepted by Ryan Hippensteel at the Tigers 9-yard line as time ran out.
"We saw on tape that their quarterback was very good at hitting his receivers in the seems, so we tried to take away the gaps and we did a very good job at that tonight," said Snyder.
"Again, it was all three phases of the game that excelled for us and that's what we need to be successful. This is a win that we can build off, winning breeds more winning, so it was a good win for us."