Rams win the second consecutive Cleveland Classic Title

CLEVELAND, OH - It was billed as the battle for HBCU division II supremacy, but it didn't take long to turn into the Winston-Salem State University show, as the #18 Rams "rammed" the #17 Tuskegee Golden Tigers 35-13 in the 2013 Cleveland Classic at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tuskegee got on the scoreboard first, when on the first play from scrimmage, TU's Hoderick Lowe went 59 yards untouched to the endzone to give the Golden Tigers an early 6-0 lead, after missing the point after attempt. That would be the

But the Rams would come right back, as Rudy Johnson led the Rams on a nine play drive play capped off with a nine yard scramble for a touchdown by Johnson, and with Alejandro Suarez's PAT, the Rams 7-6 lead would not be challenged the rest of the afternoon.

WSSU would get on the scoreboard again late in the first quarter when Rudy Johnson would find Tehvyn Brantley  from 14 yards out, capping an eight play, eighty yard scoring drive to give the Rams a 14-6 advantage.

Neither team would be able to put any kind of scoring threat together in the second quarter, before the Rams were able to get the ball back with 1:32 left before the half.

With the help of a 19 yard rush from Maurice Lewis and a 21 yard carry by Rudy Johnson, the Rams were deep in Golden Tiger territory as the clock neared the half. But a Johnson interception by TU's Keith Trumps at the one yard line with two second left, thwarted the Rams drive, as WSSU took a 14-6 lead into the locker room at the half.

As WSSU prepared for the second half kickoff, the message in the locker room was handle your assignment, and finish the play and things would fall into place. And indeed they did.

The Rams took the second half kickoff and marched yards in seven plays, capped off by a 33 yard scoring strike from Rudy Johnson to Eric Wolff, giving WSSU a  21-6 lead.

The Rams defense, who had regrouped from the opening play, continued to pressure Tuskegee, and held the Golden Tigers to 24 yards on five plays in their first possession of the second half and stopped TU on fourth and one to turn the ball back over to WSSU.

This time Anthony Carrothers would lead the charge for the Rams, covering 47 yards in eight plays, capped with a 24 yard pass to Tehvyn Brantley to push the Rams' lead to 28-6 with just over 6:30 minutes coming off the clock in the third quarter.

But the Rams were still not done, as Rudy Johnson would come back into the game and lead WSSU on another scoring drive in the fourth quarter, as he matriculated the Rams 82 yards in nine plays and finished the drive with his second nine yard scoring rush to give the Rams an insurmountable 35-6 lead.

Tuskegee would find the endzone one more time before the afternoon was done, as Michael Thornton scored from one yard out late in the game to close out the scoring at 35-13.

The WSSU Rams finished the afternoon with 467 yards of total offense, compared to just 286 for Tuskegee.

Offensively for Winston-Salem State, Maurice Lewis finished the day with 98 yards on 13 carries, while Patrick Mputu finished with 71 yards rushing on 11 carries. Rudy Johnson had 23 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.

Rudy Johnson also passed for 211 yards  on 15 of 22 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Anthony CFarrothers finished with four of six for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Chase Powell led the Rams receiving corps, as the hauled in seven catches for 60 yards, while Eric Wolff had three catches for 71 yards and one touchdown. Tehvyn Brantley continued his superb senior campaign, as he finished with three catches for 43 yards and two touchdowns.

William Johnson had a great afternoon on special teams, as the freshman averaged a whopping 47 yards per punt on four punts covering 188 yards, including a long of 66 yards.

Defensively, Donnie Owens continued his great start, as he led the Rams with eight tackles and three tackles for a loss. Danny Bunn and Jerome junior each had seven tackles, with Junior also having a tackle for a loss. John Rizor finished with six tackles, one sack and one tackle for a loss, while Carlos Fields also had six tackles one tackle for a loss and one pass breakup. Paris Baxter had the Rams only interception on the afternoon.

For Tuskegee, Hoderick Lowe finished with 108 yards rushing and one score, while Justin Nared finished just seven of 20 for 85 yards. El'Malik Chinn led the Golden Tigers with 10 tackles, while Brandon Dorsey finished with eight tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

Winston-Salem State will open up CIAA play next week, as they stay on the road, traveling to Richmond, Virginia to take on the Panthers of Virginia Union for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff at Hovey Field on the VUU campus.