WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State Rams (4-5, 3-3 CIAA) gave a tremendous effort, but it was not enough when the team took a 21-0 loss to the Shaw Bears (5-4, 4-2 CIAA), Saturday afternoon. The Rams gave it their all in the game, but the team could not find answers for a Shaw team that seemed to be a bit more motivated on the day.
"This is a disappointment. We didn't play well at all," WSSU interim head football coach Robert Massey said. "We didn't tackle well. We didn't play well on offense. They wanted it more. They outplayed us, they outcoached us, and it is what it is. Lesson learned."
The Rams were held scoreless for the first time since the 2013 season when the team took a 7-0 road loss to the Shepherd Rams in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. As a team, the Rams totaled just 247 yards of total offense in the game. WSSU senior running back Farrell Murchinson led the way for the team with 13 carries for 96 yards in the game. Sophomore quarterback Dominique Graves completed 10-of-19 passes for 113 yards in the game.
Winston-Salem State would not put any points on the scoreboard, but the team had several promising moments. The Rams got the game started with an impressive drive. The team drove the ball down to the Shaw nine-yard line. However the drive stalled and ended with a missed 29-yard field goal from the Rams. While the Rams were unable to score, they also held the Bears scoreless for the remainder of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Rams allowed the Bears to score on a nine-yard touchdown run that left WSSU trailing 0-7 after the PAT kick. The next WSSU drive ended in another punt for the Rams. On the following drive, the Rams allowed a 72-yard rushing touchdown to the Bears that left WSSU trailing, 14-0 after the PAT kick with 8:38 left in the second quarter. The Rams had two more drives in the half that stalled with one ending in a punt and another ending in a turnover on downs. The Rams would go to take the 14-0 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half, the Rams defense continued to keep the team in the game. The Rams forced a punt on the opening Shaw drive of the half, but WSSU ended up punting once again themselves. The Rams allowed another score Shaw score on a one-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick left the Rams trailing, 21-0 with 3:36 left in the third quarter. The Rams showed some life in their effort to get back into the game when senior linebacker Bikembe Kearney forced a Shaw fumble and recovered it. The Rams were able to move the ball late in the game with a five-play, 66-yard drive that ended on a goal-line fumble by the Rams that was recovered by the Bears in the WSSU endzone. From there, the Rams continued to try to force a turnover, but the team fell short in the tough loss.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) play. The team will close out the regular season when they host the Fayetteville State Broncos in a 2:00 p.m. Senior Day game. 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.