WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-2, 0-1 CIAA) showed a lot of fight, but the team could not overcome the Virginia Union Panthers (2-1, 1-0 CIAA) who handed WSSU a 27-19 loss, Saturday evening. After struggling early in the match, the Rams bounced back for a solid second half effort in the hard-fought loss.
"Coach Parker and the Panthers came to play. I thought our guys came play as well," WSSU Head Coach Kienus Boulware said after the game. "There were a couple of back-and-forth plays early in the game where nobody could really get off the mark."
As a team, the Rams gave a strong effort. The team compiled 349 yards of total offense with 19 points in the game. WSSU senior quarterback Rod Tinsley, Jr. led the way for the Rams, completing 18-of-32 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Kerrion Moore rushed 12 times for 51 yards and a touchdown as well. Redshirt-junior Johnathan Allen led the WSSU receiving effort with four receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
The Rams got off to a slow start in the game as the first half belonged to the Panthers. The Rams were held scoreless while allowing 10 unanswered points to the Panthers. VUU first struck in the first quarter with a one-yard touchdown run that left the Rams trailing, 0-7 with 7:27 left in the quarter. The Rams held the Panthers out of the endzone, but allowed a 21-yard field goal.
The second half saw a different story; however, as both teams kicked up their scoring efforts. The Panthers struck first with a 14-yard touchdown with 12:46 left in the third quarter. However, the Rams took advantage of a fumbled punt return by the Panthers and turned it into a 14-yard Kerrion Moore touchdown run of their own to trail the Panthers 7-17 with 9:23 left in the third quarter. After allowing another Panther touchdown in the third quarter to fall behind, 7-24 with 3:50 left in the third quarter. The Rams answered in the fourth quarter with a 60-yard touchdown reception from Tinsley, Jr. to Allen with 10:49 left in the game. The blocked PAT kick left the Rams trailing, 13-24. After another Panther field goal, the Rams struck again with Allen's second touchdown reception of the game to pull to within eight, 19-27 with 3:06 left to play. However, the Rams would not get score against and finished the day with the loss.
"Down the stretch, I saw some character develop," Boulware added. "It was a hard-fought game. Nobody gave up. Nobody quit and we're going to take those positives out of this and continue to work on those."
With the loss, the Rams fall to 0-1 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play and the road gets no easier as the Rams will take on the Bowie State Bulldogs. "It doesn't get any easier. We've got another crossover game with Bowie State and Amir Hall," Boulware said. "We've just got to continue to work on the little things and try to get ourselves back on track."
The loss drops the Rams to 1-2 on the season. The team will return to action next Saturday when the team heads to Bowie, Maryland to take on the Bowie State Bulldogs. 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.