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Offense has powered Salisbury football's three-game surge

Enjoying a three-game winning streak that has propelled the program into a tie for second place in the Empire 8 Athletic Conference, Salisbury can thank a resurgent offense for its recent good fortune.

In the team's first three games which included losses to No. 4 Wesley and Buffalo State, the offense scored 74 points, registered 1,018 yards, and gained 45 first downs.

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During the Sea Gulls' three-game surge which includes a 37-34 overtime upset of then-No. 6 St. John Fisher, the unit has scored 132 points, posted 1,518 yards, and recorded 63 first downs.

Coach Sherman Wood credited the reversal to the team's improving health.

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"We've always had the capability to put points up on the board," he said Wednesday morning. "The first two weeks, there were a couple injuries. [Junior slotback] Jerome Johnson, for example, didn't play the first two weeks because of his hamstring. We had a receiver out, we had an offensive lineman out, we had some injuries early in the season that may have contributed to a decent start.

"We started off against [Christopher Newport] putting up 41 points and we made some plays on special teams. And then we ran into a brick wall against Wesley. I would say that's just Wesley. If you research their defense, no one has done much against them. Buffalo State, I though we were sort of hit and miss. We had the potential to do some things and made a few plays here and there, but we didn't finish. I think after we had a long talk, our kids accepted the fact that what we have offensively can't work until everybody is on the same page and doing their jobs. I think since that St. John Fisher game, the confidence has just skyrocketed."

Salisbury (4-2 overall and 3-1 in the league) has relied on its ground game to do most of the work. The offense's triple-option scheme has accounted for 1,228 yards and 15 of 18 touchdowns in the past three games.

Quarterback John Dunbar has attempted just 25 passes over that same span, but Wood joked that the junior might not drop back Saturday at Ithaca (4-2, 3-2).

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"I'm fine with that as long as we just play based on what the defense is giving us," he said. "If we feel that our running game based on the triple option is going, then we're going to continue to wear people down, and that's our goal. We want to continue to do what we need to do, but if the passing lanes are available and it's there for taking, then we're going to make sure that happens as well. We tend to be a big-play passing type of team. We stretch the field as much as we can, and we have nice, tall receivers that can help us in that cause as well. But we take pretty much what the defense gives us. It's a triple-option offense. So we're going to have that kind of ratio. The bottom line is, we're winning football games, and that's the biggest deal right now."

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