Big Plays Lift Rams in 42-14 Win at Livingstone

SALISBURY, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (5-3, 3-2 CIAA) broke out for one of the biggest wins of the season when the team took a 42-14 win over the Livingstone College Blue Bears (0-8, 0-5 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams took the win behind on of their best offensive performances of the season with their second highest scoring effort of the season.

"It was a much needed win for the Rams. After last week, the key was to not let that one game beat us twice," WSSU head football Kienus Boulware said after the win. "We've got a little doubt in ourselves with what we're capable of doing and maybe last week was the spark that we needed to wake everybody up…and show that we can't take any of these games for granted."

As a team, the Rams took the win behind a stellar overall performance with big plays in all three facets of the game. Offensively, the Rams compiled 368 yards of total offense with five touchdowns scored. The Rams were especially effective on the ground with five different running backs getting carries and compiling 308 rushing yards to go along with four rushing touchdowns. Winston-Salem State redshirt-junior running back Kerrion Moore led the Rams' rushing attack with 110 yards on six carries, including a 66-yard touchdown run while sophomore running back Farell Murchinson added 96 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. "Our main focus during the offseason was the offensive line," Boulware added. "We knew what we had in Kerrion coming back, a preseason All-CIAA running back. It's just a matter of getting him a hole to step to. We've got the linemen up front that can open up holes pretty easily." Redshirt-junior quarterback Rod Tinsley had a solid passing day, completing four of six passes for 48 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Quincy Jackson.

Defensively, the Rams had a tremendous effort as well, holding the Blue Bears to 173 yards of total offense and just one scoring drive. Junior defensive end Jack Nimmons led the way for the Rams with seven total tackles (three solo), including two tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Redshirt-junior linebacker Kyrell Williamson added six total tackles (three solo) while sophomore linebacker Jayron Rankins added an interception that he returned 35 yards to set up a Rams score.

The Rams and the Blue Bears played a tough defensive game early with neither team morving the ball well early, but Moore would soon change that when he broke open for a 66-yard touchdown run to put the Rams on the scoreboard, 7-0, with 8:44 left in the first quarter. Livingstone would answer later, returning a WSSU interception for a touchdown. However, the Rams would take over from there. Sophomore running back Jahiz Linebarger started things with a 45-yard touchdown run that put the Rams on top, 14-7 with 3:47 left in the second quarter before junior running back Farrell Murchinson added an 11-yard touchdown run with 3:19 left in the second quarter that left the Rams on top, 21-7. It was a lead that the Rams would take into the locker room at halftime.

The second half began with a bang and the Rams never looked back. Linebarger got things started when he took the opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown that left the Rams on top, 28-7 with 14:46 left in the third quarter. The rams would get their sole passing touchdown of the day when Tinsley connected with Jackson for a 36-yard touchdown strike to go ahead 35-7 with 9:57 left in the third quarter. Livingstone showed some life in the fourth quarter when they went on a 12-play 73-yard drive that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run to cut the WSSU lead down to 21 points, 35-14 with 14:51 left in the fourth quarter. The Rams would turn to their running game for the remainder of the game as senior fullback Andre Hodge plowed his way into the endzone on a seven-yard touchdown run for the final score of the game and left the Rams on top, 42-14 with  5:41 left in the game. From there, the Rams ran out the clock and held the Blue Bears scoreless to seal the key win.

With the win, the Rams improve to 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. More importantly, the win keeps the Rams in the hunt for the CIAA Southern Division title at 2-1 in division play. The Rams will return home for the next action when the host the Shaw Bears in a homecoming game, next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Bowman Gray Stadium.

For more information on Rams football, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.