For the second consecutive season, the Winston-Salem State University Rams (11-0) have reached the CIAA mountain top. Backup quarterback, Anthony Carrothers threw for 123 yards and three touchdowns and Jameze Massey set a CIAA Football Championship record with six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns to lead WSSU to a 34-19 win over Elizabeth City today in Durham, NC.
The Elizabeth City State Vikings came out strong on defense and it was evident from the start that they were going to be harassing Kameron Smith and the Rams offense all day.
Neither team would be able to get anything going early, but the Vikings were able to cap a 10 play, 71 yard drive with a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
It was less than a minute later, when the Elizabeth City State defense pressured Kameron Smith into the endzone where he was sacked and fumbled. The Vikings recovered for a touchdown, but missed the PAT, handing the Rams their largest deficit margin of the whole year at 9-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Then early in the second quarter, Kameron Smith and the Rams offense would go on one of their longest drives of the year, a 16 play 85 yard drive that would take almost seven minutes. It was a solid mix of runs by Maurice Lewis and DeQuann Leak, and a combination of short passes to Lewis and Jamal Williams to march down the field and eventually find the endzone on a Smith to Jamal Williams 10 yard pass to pull the Rams to within two, at 9-7.
The WSSU defense would step up and produce a three and out for ECSU, and combined with a 32 yard punt return from Jameze Massey, put the Rams right back in position to punch it in again.
A big 22 yard run from Bryce Sherman put WSSU deep in Viking territory, and a 26 yard pass and catch from Smith to Massey, put the Rams up 14-9.
WSSU would have one more good opportunity to get into the endzone again, but a sack of Kameron Smith took the Rams chances away.
The cumulative sacks and pressure took an even bigger tool on the WSSU Rams, as record setting quarterback, Kameron Smith, would see his day end early, as he would have to leave the game with an injured throwing shoulder and would not return to the game.
The Elizabeth City State Vikings would take the second half kickoff and methodically march down the field and eventually find the endzone on a six yard pass completion to put them back on top 16-14.
Mr. Excitement, Jameze Massey, had something up his sleeve as he would take the ensuing kickoff back 44 yards to put WSSU into Viking territory. Maurice Lewis would take the next handout and scamper 28 yards, but WSSU would come up short when Alejandro Suarez's field goal attempt sailed wide.
ECSU would take advantage and quickly march right back into Ram territory, and would increase their lead once again on a 22 yard field goal to go up 19-14 with just over six minutes left in the third period.
But then the tide would turn, and WSSU backup quarterback, Anthony Carrothers would the Ram back on the field, but the drive would stall forcing a Landen Thayer punt.
The Rams special teams unit, which played huge all day, would pounce on a muffed punt by the Vikings returner, and Matthew Browning would recover, giving WSSU the ball back on the Elizabeth City nine yard line. Two plays later, Anthony Carrothers would find Ricky Rozier in the flat for a four yard touchdown pass, putting WSSU back up for good at 20-19.
The WSSU defense would settle in and start getting pressure on the Vikings and forced a punt giving the ball back to the Rams as the third quarter ended.
Winston-Salem State would then blow the game wide open on back to back possessions, as Anthony Carrothers would find Jameze Massey twice for touchdowns (21 yds & 56 yds) in a two minute span to start the celebrations on the WSSU sideline and in the stands for the throngs of WSSU supporters in attendance.
WSSU Ram interceptions by Dominique Tate and Darryl Pulliam on back to back series put the game away for the #2 WSSU Rams.
Jameze Massey would be named WSSU's Game MVP, as he amassed 220 yard of total offense setting a new CIAA Championship game record.
Offensively for WSSU, Maurice Lewis finished the afternoon with 120 yards rushing on 21 carries, as DeQuann Leak finished with 58 yards. Bryce Sherman had 34 yards on two carries.
Anthony Carrothers was seven of 11 for 123 yards and three touchdowns, and Kameron Smith finished eight of 10 for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Smith was sacked five times in the first half.
Jameze Massey had a monster game with six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns, and also had 73 kickoff return yards and 32 punt return yards. Jamal Williams had three catches for 22 yards and a score, and Maurice Lewis had two catches for 13 yards. Tehvyn Brantley (23 yds), DeQuann Leak (9 yds), Jahuann Butler (5 yds) and Ricky Rozier (4 yds & 1 td) each had one catch.
Landen Thayer also had a monster game punting as he averaged 64 yards per punt on six punts.
Defensively, Carlos Fields, Jr led the Rams with 10 tackles, while Khendra Reid and Malcolm Rowe each had nine tackles. Darryl Pulliam had seven tackles and one interceptions and Daniel Mungin had six tackles. Curtis McGill and Larry Hearne each had five tackles. Justin Wilkerson also had five tackles and ½ sack, and Donnie Owens had four tackles and a ½ sack. Dominique Tate had four tackles and an interception and James Pegues had four tackles.
The Winston-Salem State Rams will now await the NCAA DII Playoff announcement on Sunday, as they attempt to bring home a NCAA DII National Championship to the mighty Ram Nation. The NCAA Playoff announcement is Sunday at 5:00pm, and will be streamed on NCAA.com.