DURHAM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-4, 3-2 CIAA) gave a tremendous effort, but it was not enough as the team took a hard-fought 26-21 loss to the Shaw Bears (4-4, 3-2 CIAA), Saturday. After scoreless first half left the Rams trailing, 14-0, WSSU scored 21 second half points, but the effort was not enough as a late Shaw touchdown gave the Rams the hard-fought loss.
The Rams had a solid overall game in all three areas of the game. Offensively, the Rams totaled 381 yards of total offense to outgain the Bears. Defensively, the Rams held the Bears to just 243 yards of offense. Redshirt-senior quarterback Emiere Scaife led the way for the Rams, completing 10-of-14 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown. Senior running back Kerrion Moore led the WSSU rushing attack with 19 carries for 85 yards. Senior wide receiver Jaylan Barbour led the Rams' receiving corps with four catches for 57 yards while fellow senior William Walton caught three passes for 53 yards. Defensively, WSSU was led by senior linebacker Jayron Rankin with eight total tackles (five solo) in the game. Senior defensive lineman Jack Nimmons added six total tackles (four solo), including a sack.
The game took a while to get going as both teams struggled to get on the scoreboard early. It wasn't until the final minute of the first quarter before either team reached the endzone. The Rams allowed the Bears to strike first when the team allowed a six-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds left in the first quarter. Though the Rams' defense held up throughout the rest of the half, the WSSU offense did the team no favors when a WSSU pass was intercepted and returned 82 yards for a touchdown that left the Rams trailing, 14-0 at the half.
In the second half, the Rams continued their strong defensive effort while the team's offense soon kicked into gear. Junior running back Jahiz Linebarger got things started when he capped a 12-play, 73-yard opening drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Freshman kicker Riley Robbins would connect on his first of three PAT kicks to cut the WSSU deficit in half, 7-14 with 10:16 left in the third quarter. The Rams would go on to tie the game when redshirt-freshman running back Antwoin Pittman's one-yard touchdown run capped a six-play, 56-yard drive by the Rams as the team tied the game, 14-14 with 2:57 left in the third quarter. The Rams allowed the Bears to take the lead once again with a four-yard touchdown pass with 00:44 left in the third quarter. The Rams would claim their first lead of the game when Scaife threw an11-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end, Darren Dowdell. The Robbins PAT kick left the Rams on top, 21-20 with 5:30 left to play. The Rams would soon have their hearts broken when Shaw connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 4:12 left to play. The WSSU defense would stop the Bears to fall behind 26-21. From there, the Rams continued to push, but the team would not score again as the Rams ended the day with the loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in CIAA play. More importantly, the Rams fall to 3-1 in CIAA Southern Division play. 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.