The Salem Seminoles' defense took a beating Friday night in Gainesville, surrendering 58 points to the Red Elephants on the road in a 58-8 drubbing at City Park Stadium.
Four plays in, Deshaun Watson led Gainesville to its first touchdown of the night, connecting with Orrin Ragland for a 5-yard score.
The following possession, Watson hit Rodney Lackey for an 8-yard touchdown, making the score 14-0.
After throwing an interception on a miscommunication with his receiver in the red zone, Watson rebounded and found Chastin Newman on a 15-yard score, giving Gainesville a 21-0 lead.
Michael Byrd added a first-half touchdown to give the Red Elephants a 28-0 lead, which was followed by a 39-yard field goal from Gage Turner and a Chandler Newman 37-yard interception return that made the score 38-0.
Newman’s interception was the first of three for the Gainesville defense. The Red Elephants intercepted passes on the first two Salem drives of the second half, both of which led to touchdowns.
After Byrd opened the half with a 3-yard touchdown run, Gainesville’s Lewis Cousins intercepted Seminoles quarterback Licash Lackey, who also fumbled in the first half.
Just a few plays later, Gonzalez found Chris Williamson on a 15-yard touchdown pass, the duo’s first of two scores on the night. Following an interception by Brenton Merritt, Gonzalez and Williamson connected on an 8-yard score.
Gainesville lost its shutout with just 65 seconds remaining when Salem backup quarterback Gerald Walker threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Robert Cyrus. The Seminoles converted the two-point conversion.
Salem has a bye next week and faces Apalachee at home Oct. 25.