WSSU Rams Come Back From 16 Down To Beat Shaw; Punch Ticket To CIAA Championship

DURHAM, NC  – Winston-Salem State University battled back from a nine point halftime deficit and scored four second half touchdowns, and gained 428 total yards, as the Rams came away with a 30-23 win over Shaw University on Saturday afternoon at Durham County Stadium.

With the win, WSSU moves to 7-2 overall, 6-0 in the CIAA and 4-0 in the Southern Division. The Rams also secured their sixth consecutive Southern Division crown and a return trip to the CIAA Championship game in two weeks, to be played at Salem Stadium in Salem, VA. Shaw university falls to 1-8 overall, 1-5 in the CIAA and 1-3 in the CIAA's Southern Division.

The Shaw Bears started quick, and would get prime field position after a fumble by WSSU deep on their side of the field. The next play resulted in a score for Shaw, as Darron Downing scored from four yards out to give the Bears a 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, the Bears would score again, as Beni Kinsemi connected on a 39 yards field goal to put Shaw up 10-0 on WSSU.

Late in the quarter, Shaw would pick up some more momentum, and with just 46 seconds remaining before the half, Shaw's Darron Downing would put the Bears up 16-0, when he rushed to the right side of the line, to score from eight yards.

But the Rams would answer with one of the biggest scores of the game, as the drive began with Rod Tinsley hitting an open Will Walton for a 48 yard gain, and putting the Rams in field goal range. On the next play, Rod Tinsley would find an open Demeeko Jones for a 29 yard touchdown, and with the PAT from Will Johnson, WSSU cut the lead to 16-7, and the Bears allowed the momentum to swing in the Rams favor.

It was a tale of two halves, as the Rams would take the third quarter kickoff and march down the field, and Te'Vaughn Hurse would score from nine yards out to trim the Bears lead to just two points, 16-14.

The Rams would keep the pressure on, and with 4:00 left in the third quarter, the Rams would take their first lead of the game, when after a 13-play drive that stalled, Will Johnson would connect on a 30 yard field goal, to give the Rams a 17-16 lead. 

Winston-Salem State's defense continued to keep the momentum on the Rams side, and after a quick three and out, WSSU would get the ball back and the offense would take full advantage.

This time, Michael Benis would reach the endzone on a nine yard pass and catch from Rod Tinsley, and WSSU would extend their lead to 24-16.

Early in the fourth quarter, WSSU would put the game away, when Justus Pickett scored from 10 yards out, after an eight play, 65 yard drive, to give the Rams a 30-16 lead with 11:24 l3ft to play.

The Shaw Bears would not go away easy, and with 4:03 left, Darron Downing picked up his third touchdown of the day to pull the Bears closer, at 30-23.

Winston-Salem State's defense would come up big when it needed and shut Shaw down on their final series, to give the Rams the road win.

The WSSU Rams were led in rushing by Kerrion Moore, who finished with 19 carries for 151 yards. Te'Vaughn Hurse added 94 yards on 20 carries with a score, and Justus Pickett five carries for 42 yards and one touchdown.

Rod Tinsley went 11 of 23 for 139 yards and two touchdowns with a long pass of 48 yards. 

Demeeko Jones finished with three catches for 46 yards and one touchdown, while Reggie Wilkins had two catches for 18 yards and Michael Benis had two catches for six yards and one touchdown. Will Walton (48 yds), Kerrion Moore (9 yds), William Belcher (9 yds) and Canard Brown (3 yds) each finished with one catch.

Will Johnson punted five times on the afternoon, for an average of 43.8 yards and also connected on a 30 yard field goal. 

Defensively, the Rams were led by Xavier Gregory, who had six tackles and a pass breakup. De'Andre Blevins had four tackles and a pass breakup, Jayron Rankin had four tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses and a forced fumble. Albert McLean also added four tackles. Jack Nimmons had three tackles and two tackles for a loss. Jarrell Bright continued his stellar play, as he also had three tackles, two tackles for a loss, two sacks and a quarterback hurry, and Tyrell Fleming finished with three tackles and a tackle for a loss.

Winston-Salem State will wrap up the regular season next week on the road, when they take on the Fayetteville State Broncos with kickoff set for 2:00pm at Luther Nick Jerald's Stadium. The game will also be televised by the CIAA/ASPiRE TV Network.  CIAA Regional Television Network is produced by Urban Sports & Entertainment Group.