WINSTON-SALEM, NC – UNCP's Matt Davis connected on a 29 yards field goal with 1:19 remaining, as the Braves came all the back from 17 points down, to defeat the WSSU Rams, 20-17.
Winston-Salem State would get on the scoreboard first, as they would take the opening kickoff and march down the field to find the endzone. Rod Tinsley would cap the drive with a 17 yard scamper up the middle for the touchdown. Will Johnson converted on the PAT, to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.
It wouldn't take long for WSSU to score again, as Cameron Sullivan intercepted a UNCP pass, and returned it 28 yards for a score, to give the Rams a 14-0 advantage in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, WSSU would keep the pressure on the Braves, as Will Johnson would cap a eight-play, 49 yard drive, with a career long 46 yard field goal, to put the Rams up 17-0.
UNCP would finally get on the scoreboard with time waning down in the second quarter, as Matt Davis connected on a 19 yard field goal to cut into the WSSU lead heading into the half, 17-3.
The Braves dominated the second half clock, and with 1:34 left in the quarter, Patrick O'Brien hit BJ Bunn on a fade route from 2 yards out to trim the Rams lead to just 17-10.
WSSU, who only ran 17 second half plays, could not find the rhythm they established early in the game, thus giving the ball back to UNC Pembroke, who took full advantage of the Rams miscues on offense.
With 7:25 left to play, the UNCP Braves capped off an 11-play, 71 yard drive with a five yard run from Cliff Jones, to tie the game at 17-17.
The Rams would pick up just one first down on their next drive, and on their sixth play, punted the to UNCP.
The Braves would march down the field in eight play, and Matt Davis' 29 yard field goal, to give UNCP the lead, and eventually the game.
Winston-Salem State would come up short, and turn the ball over on downs, giving the ball back to UNC Pembroke, who would kneel on the ball to end the game.
Rod Tinsley finished the night with 80 yards passing, going 9 of 17 with one interception, with a long pass of 33 yards.
Will Johnson punted four times for 140 yards, to finish with an average of 35.0. Johnson connected on a career long field goal of 46 yards.
Defensively, WSSU was led by Kailan Chavis, who had eight tackles (4 solo, 4 assists) and Jatavius Jackson, who also finished with eight tackles. Chavis also had three tackles for losses, and Jackson picked up a tackles for loss yardage. Xavier Gregory added seven tackles and one pass breakup, while Daryus Skinner, Albert McLean and Kyrell Williamson had five tackles each. McLean added a sack, a tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Cameron Sullivan had a pick six in the first half, returning the interception 28 yards for a score.
"I am proud of our guys", said Kienus Boulware after the tough loss. "They caught a momentum swing in the third quarter, and kept our defense out on the field a good little bit", added Boulware.
"We couldn't get out and sustain a drive and capitalize on the moment we had in the first half", said Boulware.
"A loss is a loss, the key is to not let the game beat us twice. We will get back to work tomorrow, preparing for Catawba", added Boulware.
The Winston-Salem State Rams will travel to Catawba, next week, with the game kicking off at 6:00pm in Shuford Stadium, in Salisbury, NC.