SHEPHERDTOWN, W.Va. - Winston-Salem Salem State could not overcome costly turnovers and an early missed opportunity to score, as they would fall to Shepherd University 7-0 in the second round of the NCAA DII Playoffs in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Saturday.
Both defenses were fired up and had their ears pinned back, as they were fiercely strong early, as WSSU held Shepherd to a three and out on their first series.
But the nations #1 ranked defense in the WSSU Rams would hold and force a 41 yard field goal attempt by Shepherd that would sail wide left to keep the score at 0-0.
The next WSSU possession would prove crucial however, when on the fifth play of the drive, Rudy Johnson would be sacked and injured. It would be the last play of the day for Johnson.
Both defenses proved their worth early on but the turning point for the WSSU Rams came early, as on fourth and 10 from the Shepherd 33, DeSean Townsend would find a wide open Rashon Williams behind the Shepherd secondary, but Williams would bobble the ball and drop it in the endzone, foiling WSSU's chances to score early.
Neither team would get another prime scoring chance in the first half, and both teams went into the locker room tied 0-0 at halftime.
Shepherd would finally break into the scoring column in their second possession of the second half, as they would go 69 yards in seven plays, capped off by Allen Cross' 29 yard rush for a score, giving Shepherd a 7-0 lead.
WSSU would fight back early in the fourth quarter, when DeSean Townsend would find Maurice Lewis on a screen pass, and Lewis would fight his way for 55 yards down to the Shepherd 15 yard line. But a fourth down pass to Eric Williams would fall short turning the ball back over to Shepherd.
Winston-Salem State would get one more opportunity to tie the game and try to send it into overtime with 1:49 to play. But three incompletions and a sack would end the WSSU Rams season with a 7-0 second round playoff loss.
Winston-Salem State's season ends with a 10-2 record, while Shepherd advanced to the NCAA DII Quarterfinal, sporting an 11-0 record.
Maurice Lewis led the rushing attack with 42 yards on 13 carries, and DeSean Townsend finished the afternoon going 12 of 35 with one interception for 139 yards. He was also sacked four times. Rudy Johnson was three of four for 10 yards and an interception.
Chase Powell finished with five catches for 18 yards and Maurice Lewis and Eric Williams had four catches each. Lewis had 60 yards receiving and Williams had 51 yards receiving. Rashon Williams had one catch for 22 yards and Joshua Glisson also had one catch.
Defensively, Carlos Fields led the Rams with 14 tackles and an interception, while Daniel Mungin added eight tackles and Donnie Owens chipped in six tackles a tackle for a loss and a sack. Michael Thompson and Chris Howze had five tackles each, with Howze also picking up a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. Michael Bloomfield had four tackles, a sack and a half a tackle for a loss, while Casey Davenport and John Rizor had three tackles each. Jermaine Kesler also picked up a sack.