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This is becoming a habit for Canisius College.

The Golden Griffins rode another strong defensive performance to a 21-0 victory over Fairfield Saturday before 486 at Alumni Field.

Matching its best start in eight years, Canisius (5-0, 4-0) moves into a tie for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with Duquesne (6-0, 4-0), a 15-0 victor over Georgetown.

Canisius played without starting quarterback Paul Marvar, who was home in Syracuse attending his sister's wedding.

Marvar's replacement, Jon Ross, completed just 4 of 15 passes for 26 yards while battling heavy rain and high winds throughout the contest.

However, it didn't matter because the Griffs defense kept Fairfield (0-6, 0-5) under control.

The Stags won the total yardage battle, 215-143, but gave up two fourth-quarter touchdowns on interceptions by Marty Chuttey and Shane Hurd, whose 94-yard return set a school record.

Hurd had two interceptions on the day and has seven this season, one shy of the school record.

"This was a big win in very trying circumstances," said Canisius coach Chuck Williams. "Our defense continued to dominate today. I've said all year we have a very athletic secondary. And with our strong pass rush, we are always in position back there to make plays."

Canisius' only offense came from tailback Nick Adinolfi, who had his second 100-yard game with 120 on 39 carries.

His first-quarter touchdown that gave the Griffs a 7-0 lead was set up by a blocked punt by Scott Dochat. Adinolfi capped the 29-yard drive by scoring from a yard out.

Canisius was unable to mount much of an offense the rest of the game. Aaron Wysko had 11 punts, which is one shy of a school record.

However, his kicks kept Fairfield backed up in poor field position and the Stags were never able to put together a sustained drive.

"In bad-weather games like this, the team that scores first has a big advantage," Williams said. "We put them in some tough situations where they had to throw the ball. We put a lot of pressure on them and forced some turnovers.

"I'm very happy for our team. This gives up some momentum heading into the teeth of our schedule."

Canisius returns home next Saturday for a game against St. John's.

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