SALISBURY, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-4, 3-2) used a dominating defensive performance to claim a 21-0 road win over the Livingstone Blue Bears (4-4, 1-4 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams took the win behind a WSSU defense that saw the team force four Blue Bear turnovers and claimed their first shutout win of the season.
The great defensive effort was definitely needed as it balanced out some offensive struggles by the Rams. As a team, the Rams totaled 227 yards of total offense and punted the ball 11 times in the game. WSSU senior running back Farrell Murchinson led the Rams' rushing attack with 67 yards in the game while junior running back Quarderman Sloan added 61 yards with a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Dominique Graves connected on five-of-19 passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.
The WSSU defense was the star of the show in Saturday's game. Sophomore linebacker Kalen Allen led the way for the Rams with 10 total tackles (six solo) in the game while fellow sophomore linebacker Ta'Shaun Taylor added seven tackles (three solo). Senior free safety Daryus Skinner led the Rams' secondary with four total tackles (three solo) and two interceptions. He returned one 66 yards for a touchdown. Freshman defensive back Jevon McIver got the first interception of his career as well.
All of the WSSU scores came on big plays with each one coming on a play that was more than 20 yards long. Sloan got things started with a 45-yard touchdown run 9:36 left in the first quarter. The Rams remained scoreless for the remainder of the first half to take a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Rams struck again in the third quarter when Graves connected with senior wide receiver Quincy Jackson for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 9:52 left in the third quarter. From there, Graves would put the icing on the cake when he intercepted a Livingstone pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown with 14:42 left in the fourth quarter. WSSU kicker Pavel Buenaventura continued his recent hot streak, going three-for-three on PAT kicks.
With the win, the Rams improve to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. Most importantly, the Rams remain in the hunt for the CIAA Southern Division title with a 3-0 record in division play. The Rams will return to action, Saturday when the team hosts the Shaw Bears for homecoming.
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.