BOWIE, MD – The Winston-Salem State Rams (1-3, 0-2 CIAA) took a gut wrenching 20-17 loss to the Bowie State Bulldogs (4-1, 2-0 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. After taking a 17-12 lead into the final minutes of the game, the Rams fell victim to a dramatic late drive by the Bulldogs who scored with just 1:14 left to play to take their first road loss of the season. "We had a solid game plan," WSSU head football coach Kienus Boulware said. "It just expired. We just ran out of time."
The Rams took the loss in spite of a tremendous effort in all three phases of the game. After struggling early, the Rams kicked things into gear and compiled 251 yards of total offense and 17 points in the game. WSSU senior quarterback Emiere Scaife made his first career start with an impressive 142 yards passing with a touchdown. "Scaife did what we asked him to do," Boulware added. "He managed the game and he didn't turn the ball over. We'll look at some positives from this and we'll look to move on."
Defensively, the Rams held the Bulldogs to just 20 points, well below their season average. Junior cornerback Tyrell Fleming stepped up for another terrific effort with six total tackles (none solo) with three pass breakups and an interception. Senior De'Andre Blevins led the way for the Rams with seven total tackles (four solo) with a pass breakup.
The first half was a tough affair that was controlled by the Rams. While both teams struggled to move the ball, the Rams' first big break came when senior wide receiver Cameron Williams blocked a BSU punt that gave WSSU the ball at the BSU 23-yard line with 7:45 left in the first quarter. From there, the Rams punched it in with a three-yard touchdown run from senior running back Kerrion Moore. After the PAT kick from freshman Riley Robbins, the Rams took a 7-0 lead with 6:42 left in the first quarter.
From there, both defenses would take control of the game as neither team recorded a touchdown for the remainder of the half. The Rams put on the best showing as they held the Bulldogs out of the end zone despite two BSU possession inside the WSSU 10-yard line. After stalling the Bulldogs at the goal line, the Rams were tackled inside their own end zone to give up a safety and then allowed a 22-yard field goal with 2:28 left in the first half to take a 7-5 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half told a different story with both teams finding their way into the endzone. The third quarter belonged to the Rams as the team outscored the Bulldogs, 10-7 to take a 17-12 lead. WSSU struck first when Scaife connected with sophomore tight end Emiere Scaife for an 11-yard touchdown with 10:22 left in the quarter to take a 14-5 lead over the Bulldogs. Bowie State would answer with a two-yard touchdown run that capped an eight-play 66 yard drive and cu the WSSU lead down to two points, 14-12 with 7:39 left in the third quarter. It was Robbins who would answer when he kicked a 28-yard field goal with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was a dramatic one as the Rams continued to control the ball until the final minutes. The team kept the Bulldogs from scoring until the final drive of the game when Bowie State connected on 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:14 left to play. The successful two-point conversion left the Rams trailing, 17-20. The Rams received another blow as Scaife was injured on the opening play of the ensuing drive and gave freshman quarterback Dominique Graves his first turn under center. He connected on his first pass, but an incompletion and an interception ended the game and gave the Rams the 20-17 loss.
"My hat's off to Coach Wilson and his crew. It was a good hard-fought game and both teams came to play," Boulware said. "We had some guys who fought hard and we'll go back and look at this film and try to pick up these pieces and move on."
With the loss, the Rams fall to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The Rams will return to action next Saturday when the team heads to Charlotte, N.C. to take on the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls. For more information on Rams football, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) y50-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.