Defense, Big Second Half Powers Rams to 34-14 Win at Johnson C. Smith


CHARLOTTE, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (2-3, 1-2 CIAA) clicked on all cylinders when the team took a 34-14 road win over the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (2-3, 1-2 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams defense forced four turnovers and totaled 387 yards of total offense to claim a win in their Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division opener.

The Rams showed some steady improvement with another solid effort from all phases of the game. The Rams compiled 387 yards of total offense and scored a season-high 34 points in the win while holding Johnson C. Smith to 237 yards of total offense and just two touchdowns. WSSU senior running back Kerrion Moore powered the Rams to the win behind 193 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Freshman quarterback Dominique Graves made his first career start and completed seven-of-17 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Rams were led by senior linebacker Patrick Green who finished the game with five total tackles with a tackle for a loss. Junior safety Daryus Skinner led the WSSU secondary with a pair of interceptions. The Rams also took a pair of fumbles from the Golden Bulls for four total turnovers in the game.

 It didn't take long for the Rams to take control of the game as the team struck early. The Rams forced and recovered a fumble on the very first play of the game. The team wasted no time as Moore rushed 43 yards for the first touchdown of the game. With the PAT kick from freshman Riley Robbins, the Rams went ahead, 7-0 with 14:39 left in the first quarter. The Rams added another touchdown on their next possession when Moore struck again with a 17-yard touchdown run. The missed PAT kick left the Rams on top, 13-0 with 11:27 left in the first quarter. Johnson C. Smith answered with a five-yard touchdown pass to cut the WSSU lead to six points, 13-7 with 8:28 left in the first quarter. Both teams would turn up their defensive efforts in the second quarter with neither team scoring. The effort left the Rams taking a 13-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. 

The second half belonged to the Rams with the team outscoring the Golden Bulls, 21-7. WSSU struck first when redshirt-freshman running back Antwoin Pittman took a two-yard run into the endzone for a touchdown. The PAT kick left the Rams on top, 20-7 with 10:26 left in the third quarter. The Rams added to their lead when senior wide receiver William Walton took a pass from Graves 43 yards for the team's fourth touchdown of the day. The PAT kick left the Rams on top, 27-7. Johnson C. Smith would not quite go away as the team took a three-yard run into the endzone and cut into the WSSU lead, 27-14. Moore would put the game away with a 43-yard touchdown run to leave the final score 34-14.

With the win, the Rams improve to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in CIAA play. The team also opens CIAA Southern Division play with a 1-0 record. The Rams will return to action next Saturday when the team hosts the Saint Augustine's Falcons in a 1:30 p.m. game.


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