NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (CNU Athletics) – Christopher Newport University used a stifling defensive effort Saturday afternoon to hold off Salisbury University, 24-14. The victory, in front of a standing room only crowd of 4,167 at Kelchner Field at TowneBank Stadium, came in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener for both schools.
Paul Crowley’s Captains snapped a 21-game Salisbury winning streak in conference action dating back to 2018, and also ended a string of seven straight wins by the Sea Gulls over the Captains in the series.
“This means a lot to a lot of people associated with our program,” Crowley said following the victory. “It’s been about ten months since we lost a really tough game at Salisbury to end the year last year, and there are a number of our guys who decided to come back for a fifth year to get another opportunity against them.”
CNU’s defense held the Sea Gulls to just 2.7 yards per play, and forced four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions). The Captains held Salisbury scoreless in the first half, holding a 10-0 edge at the half, and then allowed just one offensive touchdown in the second stanza. SU’s other score came on an interception return.
Fifth-year senior Josh Uvodich led the defensive attack by intercepting two passes, breaking up two passes, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble, and making four tackles. His interception with just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter put the game on ice for the Captains. Senior linebacker Kindrick Braxton topped the team with nine tackles, and the Captains recorded five sacks, including two from fifth-year senior lineman Luke Nitowski, as the Captains applied relentless pressure on Salisbury quarterbacks all afternoon.
On offense, the Captains utilized both senior Matt Dzierski and freshman Connor Barry at quarterback. Dzierski threw just two passes, but a screen to sophomore Gunner White ended up going 65 yards for the Captains final score of the day. Barry started the scoring late in the opening quarter with a 25-yard TD pass to sophomore Trey Hayes, and later crossed the goal line on a four-yard run in the third quarter. He ended up 10-of-20 passing for 163 yards.
Salisbury, now 1-3, had not lost a conference game since falling at Frostburg State on November 10, 2018. Their 21-game winning streak included four straight NJAC titles, and the Gulls’ final victory in the streak proved to be last year’s 36-33 triumph over the Captains to end the regular season. Salisbury now leads the all-time series with the Captains, 16-6.
Christopher Newport will play its next two games on the road. The Captains return to action next Saturday, October 7th, playing the Red Devils of Dickinson University in Carlisle, Pa. It will be the first meeting ever of the two schools, who are both 3-1 to start the season. CNU will then play at Rowan University on October 14th, the first of five straight NJAC games over the second half of the season.