WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- #16 Winston-Salem State University started sluggish but finished strong, rolling up five rushing touchdowns as the Rams defeated St. Augustine's University 35-17 Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.
With the win, WSSU moves to 6-1 overall, 4-0 in the CIAA and 2-0 in the Southern Division. The win was WSSU's 21st consecutive against CIAA competition. St. Augustine's falls to 3-4 overall, 2-2 in the CIAA and 1-1 in the Southern Division.
The Rams were able to get on the board first, going 80 yards in 10 plays, taking 5:45 off the clock as Maurice Lewis broke loose for a 40 yard score. Alejandro Suarez's PAT kick was good, giving WSSU the early 7-0 lead.
St. Augustine's would finally get points on the board with :01 left on the clock in the first half as Michael Lima kicked a 46 yard field goal, cutting the WSSU lead to 7-3 at the half.
The Rams were not able to move the ball on their first series of the second half, the after the defense came up with quick three and out, Sidney Lawson returned a punt 53 yards down the right sideline to set up the WSSU offense deep in Falcon territory.
From there it would not take long, as five plays later Maurice Lewis crossed the goal line for his second score of the day, this time from four yards out to give Winston-Salem State a 14-3 lead.
The Rams defense was dominate throughout the afternoon, and the third quarter was not different as WSSU held the Falcons in check, forcing three punts while holding SAU to a mere 29 yards.
Late in the third quarter, WSSU would get the ball back and embark on anther drive deep into SAU territory. Two big running plays, one by Rudy Johnson and another by Maurice Lewis set up the Rams with first and goal heading into the last stanza.
All it would take for the Rams was one play, as Joshua Glisson crossed the goal line from 10 yards away to give the Rams a big 21-3 advantage.
St. Augustine's University would take their next possession and try to make something of it to try and get back in the game, but the bend but don't break WSSU defense would come up big when it needed it the most.
The Falcons quickly moved down the field, with the help of a 39 yard hook up from Alex Munro to Jermaine Jones. But on third and six from the WSSU eight yard line, the Rams Terry Ross laid a big hit on the Falcons receiver, forcing the ball out and James Hickman quickly pounced on the ball giving WSSU the ball back with 13:51 left in the game.
And in one of Winston-Salem State's longest drives of the season, they were able to take nearly five minutes off the clock. Three big pass plays on the drive, with two going to Kenneth Patterson totaling 45 yards and a 27 yard strike to Rashon Williams from Rudy Johnson put the Rams right back inside the redzone, knocking on the door once again. And on second and goal, Maurice Lewis would score for the third time on the afternoon and Suarez's point after gave WSSU a huge 28-3 lead with 9:17 left in the game.
St. Augustine's was not done yet, and it didn't take long for them to prove it to everyone, as they would go 65 yards in eight play, taking 2:53 off the clock as Alex Munro found Jordan Turkvant open in the back of the endzone to cut the Rams lead to 28-10.
Rudy Johnson would lead another drive down the field and deep on the Falcons side of the field, with a 23 yard pass to Jonathan Stevens and a 18 yard pass to Jerry Chandler as the big plays. But on first and goal, Johnson was picked off in the endzone, giving the ball back to Saint Augustine's University.
But once again the #1 ranked defense in the nation stood tall and held the Falcons to -14 yards, as on fourth down Casey Davenport sacked the SAU quarterback for 17 yards, giving WSSU first and goal from the six yard line.
Joshua Glisson would score on the next play, his second rushing touchdown of the game, and Alejandro Suarez would give the point after giving WSSU a 35-10 lead.
The Falcons would come right back down the field, going 70 yards in seven plays, capping the drive with a 25 yard pass and catch for a touchdown with 43 seconds remaining.
St. Augustine's rolled the dice and recovered the onside kick, but it was very short lived, as on the next play Carlos Fields would force a fumble and Donnie Owens recovered for the Rams, and thus ending the game.
Offensively for the Rams, Maurice Lewis rushed for 90 yard and three touchdown on 15 carries, as he surpassed the 2,000 yards rushing mark in his career. Rudy Johnson carried the ball 14 times for 54 yards and Joshua Glisson rushed four times for 31 yards and two touchdowns.
Rudy Johnson was 13 for 26 with one interception, while going for 207 yards on the afternoon.
Rashon Williams led the WSSU receivers with three catches for 52 yards, while Kenneth Patterson (45 yds), Jonathan Stevens (32 yds), Chase Powell (29 yds) and Maurice Lewis (26 yds) all had two catches each. Jerry Chandler had one catch for 18 yards and Tehvyn Brantley had one catch for five yards.
Defensively, Carlos Field led WSSU with 10 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble and one pass breakup, while Daniel Mungin had five tackles and half a tackle for a loss, and Donnie Owens finished with five tackles, two sacks, two and a half tackles for losses and a fumble recovery. Alfy Hill had four tackles, one sack and one and a half tackles for a loss. Shaquan Manning also had four tackles, as did Casey Davenport, who also had a sack and tackles for a loss. Six other Ram defenders had three tackles apiece, with Michael Bloomfield also picking up one a half sacks, one and a half tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry. Five Rams had two tackles each with John Rizor also picking up a half a sack.
Winston-Salem State University will stay on the road next week, as they travel to Salisbury, N.C. to take on the Blue Bears of Livingstone College.