WINSTON-SALEM, NC – In a game that saw a little bit of everything, the Winston-Salem State Rams (1-0) overcame two weather delays and a thrilling comeback from a feisty UNC Pembroke Braves (0-1) team to pick up their first win of the season. Heading into the final minute of play trailing the Braves 16-20, Winston-Salem State senior running back Kerrion Moore caught a deflected pass for a 63-yard touchdown to give the Rams the 23-20 win over the Braves.
"It was a win which was much-needed. Our goal was to win our first game so we achieved that goal," WSSU head coach Kienus Boulware said after the game. "Our coaches coached and our players played about as hard as we could."
In addition to competing against a tough UNC Pembroke squad, the Rams also battled the elements. The game was scheduled to begin Saturday evening, but was postponed due to inclement weather. The two teams faced another weather delay early in the fourth quarter.
"We had a little letdown coming out [after the delay]," Boulware added. "Most of our attitude was that we had this in the bag, but they [UNC Pembroke] came out fighting. But in the end, the team that it's all about making the plays and the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win."
The Rams had a solid offensive effort to accompany a great defensive effort for the win. The team totaled 325 yards of total offense while holding UNC Pembroke to 305. Senior quarterback Rod Tinsley, Jr. led the way for the Rams with five-of-nine passing or 130 yards and a touchdown. Moore led the WSSU rushing attack with 17 carries for 95 yards. Defensively, WSSU senior defensive lineman Tyron Roberts led the way with seven tackles with a sack.
The first half belonged to the Rams as the team held the Braves scoreless for the entire half. The team got onto the scoreboard when Moore took in a seven-yard run for a touchdown. The play was set up by a 51-yard pass from Tinsley, Jr. to senior wide receiver Quincy Jackson. The score was the only score of the half as the Rams took their 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Rams would get back onto the scoreboard in the third quarter when a UNCP punt snap went over the punters head and out of the endzone for a safety. The effort left the Rams with a 9-0 lead. The Rams added to their lead when Moore had a 27-yard TD run with 12:04 left in the fourth quarter to leave the Rams on top, 16-0.
It was then that the Rams had their second weather delay of the game. The two teams had to return to the locker rooms for an hour as weather passed over and set the stage for a thrilling fourth quarter. The Braves opened the quarter with three unanswered touchdowns to take a 20-16 lead over the Rams. The last score came with 1:51 left to play and the ensuing PAT kick left the Rams trailing in the final two minutes. From there, the Rams went on a five-play 55-yard scoring drive that culminated on Moore's miraculous play with 30 second left to play.
"Overall, I'd say we had more fun which permitted us to win the game," Boulware said. "Hats off to Coach Richardson and UNC Pembroke. They fought hard and they kept fighting for 60 minutes."
With the win, the Rams open the season at 1-0. The team will return to action next Saturday when the team hosts the Catawba Indians. For more information on Rams football, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.