Rams Look To Move To 3-0 Overall; WSSU Travels To Face North Carolina Central

Sept. 7, 2010

Complete Game Notes

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The road gets no easier for the Winston-Salem State University football team as the Rams will play their third consecutive contest away from the friendly confines of Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday evening when they travel to Durham, N.C. to face the Eagles of North Carolina Central University at 6:00 p.m.

Week 3
The Rams head into week three of the 2010 season on a high after last Saturday's come-from-behind 21-14 victory over the rival Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. in the fifth-annual I-40 Showdown. The win marked the Rams' second straight victory and improved WSSU to a perfect 2-0 in 2010. WSSU will return to action on Saturday evening as they face yet another rival when they travel to Durham, N.C. to take on the Eagles of North Carolina Central University. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m.

Game Details
The contest is the third game of the season for the Rams while the Eagles will kickoff the second game of their 2010 campaign. The Rams and Eagles, separated by only 79 miles of interstate will renew a rivalry that has seen the two teams face one another 43 times in history.

The Event
Saturday's game will mark the 44th meeting in a series that occurs nearly annually between WSSU and NCCU. The matchup, from O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., will mark the Rams' attempt to tie the all-time series at 22 wins each since the series between the two historic programs began in 1945. The Rams look to snap a two-game losing streak to the Eagles as North Carolina Central has earned back-to-back wins over WSSU.

A Quick Look
The Rams sport an entirely new look. Under the leadership of first-year head coach Connell Maynor the Rams look nothing like the 2009 team that posted a disappointing 1-10 record. The Rams welcome the services of 14 first-class freshman recruits and an entirely new coaching staff with the exception of defensive line coach Mike Ketchum who is the only holdover from last season's staff.

With a stable of four exceptional quarterbacks, junior UMass transfer Octavius Hawkins' and U.S. Naval Academy transfer Kameron Smith have both seen considerable time at quarterback for WSSU. Hawkins, a big, strong pocket passer who can make all the throws, turned in a stellar performance versus Virginia Union as he completed 18 of 23 passes for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Kameron Smith performed superbly in a come-from-behind victory over North Carolina A&T in which he passed for 62 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 85 net yards and the game-winning score.

A bevy of talented wideouts led by junior Dominique Fitzgerald and freshman Tehvyn Brantley have recorded 110 and 114 yards receiving respectfully and have each caught a touchdown pass. Nic Cooper has tallied 130 rushing yards and a pair of scores and Kayvonne Spriggs has recorded 97 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown.

Television Coverage
There is no local, regional, or national television coverage for the Rams' contest versus the Eagles. Highlights of the game will be made available to the local media immediately following the game. To obtain footage and highlights, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations.

The Eagles will air a video broadcast of the contest on NCCUEaglePride.com featuring GameCentral by Stretch Internet on a pay-per-view basis for $8.95. The broadcast starts at 6:45 p.m.

The Rams On TV
Over the past seven seasons the WSSU football team has appeared on television 11 times and the Rams have posted a 6-5 mark while doing so. The Rams' were featured on television twice last season as WSSU dropped a 19-10 decision to North Carolina A&T on Sept. 5 in a contest shown on Time Warner Cable and WSSU dropped a 34-10 decision to Florida A&M on Sept. 10 on ESPNU.

This season the Rams will close the regular season with a televised contest at Shaw on Oct. 30 at 1:00 p.m.

WSSU Radio
There is no WSSU radio for the contest between the Rams and the Eagles.

North Carolina Central Radio
The Eagles will broadcast the game on the NCCU Sports Network on WRJD 1410 AM (Durham); WHNC 890 AM (Henderson); WELS 1010 AM (Kinston); WYRN 1480 AM (Louisburg); WCBQ 1340 AM (Oxford); WEED 1390 AM (Rocky Mount) and WXKL 1290 AM (Sanford) as well as online at NCCUEaglePride.com with Chris Hooks calling all of the play-by-play action, Sedrick Dickens and Joe Simmons serving as color analysts and Danielle Johnson-Webb covering sideline reporting duties.

Live Statistical Broadcast
A live statistical broadcast of the game, utilizing CBS College Sport's Gametracker statistical software will be available on the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at WSSURams.com. Fans may access the live stats by visiting the WSSU football schedule page and clicking on the Gametracker link.

Weather Forecast
Saturday's contest is slated to be played in fair weather as the forecast calls for high temperatures of 82° with a low of 63° with a 30 percent chance of precipitation under partly cloudy skies. Humidity is slated to be 77 percent with winds out of the east-southeast at one to four miles per hour with a UV index of eight (very high). Sunrise will take place at 6:51 a.m. ET and will set at 7:29 p.m. ET.

The Series
Saturday's contest will be the 44th meeting between the two programs all-time in a series that the Eagles lead 22-21.

North Carolina Central has won the last two meetings between the two teams (in 2008 and 2009) with the Rams winning in 2007.

The largest WSSU win over N.C. Central was by 47 points in a 47-0 blanking that came live on national television on BET in 2003. The largest N.C. Central victory in the series was by a 57-point margin in a 63-6 victory that came in the 1969 season.

WSSU's longest win streak was a six-game span that came from 1989-94. N.C. Central has the distinction of owning a 10-game win streak over the Rams which spanned the years 1945-76.

The Rams have won only one of the last four meetings between the two teams but WSSU has won seven of the last two of the last 10 meetings.

The Last Meeting
The Rams' last meeting with the Eagles came on Nov. 14, 2009 in Winston-Salem, N.C. North Carolina Central held the Rams to only 10 points in a hard-fought 18-10 victory over WSSU at Bowman Gray Stadium.

North Carolina Central forced two fumbles which the Rams lost and intercepted WSSU quarterbacks twice en route to 15 second-quarter points to put the Rams into a hole from which they would not recover.

The Coaches
The Rams are coached by first-year man Connell Maynor, a veteran of more than 20 years of football experience both as a player and coach - and most recently as the offensive architect of the 2009 CIAA Champion Fayetteville State University Broncos offense, serving as both Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach - who was named the eighth head football coach at Winston-Salem State University on Dec. 15, 2009. Maynor won his second game as a college head coach last weekend in a 21-14 victory over the Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University.

The Eagles are coached by Mose Rison who is in his fourth year as North Carolina Central's head football coach. Rison has posted a career coaching mark of 15-18 overall and has never faced WSSU head coach Connell Maynor.

National Rankings
The Rams and Eagles are not ranked in either of the major, national polls.

Program History
The 2009 season was the 68th in Winston-Salem State University history. Through 68-plus years of play, WSSU owns a 356-286-25 (.532) record.

Injury Information
Winston-Salem State University's Department of Athletics abides by HIPAA, a federal privacy act with regard to the release of injury information. WSSU athletes are required to sign a waiver before injury information is released to the media. If the athlete chooses to withhold that information, WSSU officials will be restricted to informing media members of their playing status (playing, probable, doubtful or out). For detailed injury information, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143.

Season Overview
The 2009 football season was one full of trials and tribulations for the Rams of Winston-Salem State University. Despite posting a 1-10 overall record, the Rams were successful both on the field and off as WSSU completed the 68th season of football at the history-laden HBCU. The Rams posted successes on the field, as a youthful and talent-laden roster gained another year of invaluable college football experience, and off as those same Rams gave back over 300 total hours of community service back to the Piedmont Triad region as the football program continues to embody the University's "Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve" mantra.

Program History
The 2009 season was the 68th season in Winston-Salem State University football history. Through 68 years of play, WSSU owns a 355-286-25 (.532) record.

A Quick Look At The Rams
• The Rams scored 47 points in their first action as they recorded, in one game, nearly 1/3 of the points that they scored last season.

• WSSU followed up their week one domination with a 21-14 come-from-behind victory over North Carolina A&T State University on the road in Greensboro, N.C.

• WSSU jumped out to an 40-0 lead over Virginia Union in their weekend and held the Panthers scoreless until the final two minutes of the third quarter.

• WSSU has recorded 68 points through two games of the 2010 season. WSSU did not reach the 68 point mark until week four of last season.

• After two weeks of the college football season, the Rams rank first in eight CIAA categories. The Rams rank first in FG percentage (100 percent); sacks by (11); first downs (21.5/game), fourth down conversion percentage (100 percent); penalty yardage per game (28.0 yards/game); opponent penalty yardage per game (86.5 yards per game) as well as onside kicks for (0) and against (0).

Cooper Rolling Along
Running back Nicholas Cooper has picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2008 season. Following a season off in 2009 to concentrate on academics, Cooper has returned to form. Cooper carried the ball 20 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns versus the Panthers of Virginia Union and carried the ball 15 times for 57 yards against Division I-FCS North Carolina A&T.

Seven Of First Eight
The Rams scored on seven of their first eight possessions versus Virginia Union. WSSU tallied five touchdowns and a pair of field goals in their first eight drives. Through two weeks of the 2010 season the Rams have turned in a pair of efficient performances as WSSU has converted on nine of 10 trips inside the red zone (90 percent), good enough to rank second in the CIAA.