WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State University Rams battled until the finals seconds, but their comeback bid would come up short as Will Johnson's 42 yard field goal attempt would be tipped at the line of scrimmage and would come up short, as the Rams fell 27-24 to the Chowan Hawks on Saturday at Bowman Gray Stadium.
With the loss the Rams now fall to 1-4 overall, and 1-1 in the CIAA. The loss also snapped WSSU's 30-game regular season winning streak versus CIAA opponents. Chowan improves to 4-1 overall, and 2-0 in CIAA play.
Playing in front of their home crowd for the first time all season, WSSU started quickly, as Daveon Perry would return the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams the early 7-0 lead.
Chowan would get on the board with a Nick Hahula 35 yard field goal with 10:22 left in the first quarter.
The Rams would be stopped on three plays in their next possession, but would commit a costly turnover, when on fourth down, the snap would sail over the punter's head and Will Johnson would be tackled on their own nine yard line.
Two plays later, the Hawks would score again to take a 10-7 lead, on a Tyree Lee five yard run.
Early in the second quarter the Rams would get another opportunity to put points on the scoreboard, when a 13 play drive would stall, and Will Johnson would connect on a 27 yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10 with 13:20 left before halftime.
The Hawks would answer right back and would score 10 unanswered points to take a 20-10 halftime lead into the locker room.
Chowan looked as if they would close the door on the Rams in the third quarter, when Randall Dixon would find Damian Ellis for a three yard touchdown pass to put the Hawks up 27-10, heading into the final quarter.
But a quarterback change for WSSU sparked the Rams, as they would quickly reach the endzone on a 66 yard scoring pass from Rod Tinsley Jr to Marcel Caver to pull the Rams to within 10 at 27-17 with 10 minutes left to play.
The WSSU defense would keep the Rams close, when Kailan Chavous would come up with a huge interception that he would return of 43 yards, returning it all the way to the Chowan five yard line.
Two plays later, Bronson Greene would cross the goal line to pull the Rams to within three, at 27-24.
After an exchange of punts, the WSSU Rams would have one last chance to pull out a home win, as they would get the ball back with 2:23 left to play.
The Rams would work the ball into field goal range with 10 seconds left in the game, but Will Johnson's 42 yard field goal would be tipped at the line and it would come up just short, giving the Chowan Hawks the 27-24 win.
Offensively for WSSU, Bronson Greene rushed five times for 25 yards and one touchdown, while Xavier Quick rushed 10 times for 11 yards.
Rod Tinsley Jr finished the afternoon going 10 of 21 with one interception for 126 yards and one touchdown, while Rashad Cooper went eight of 19 with an interception for 57 yards. Marcel Caver threw one pass and completed it for 44 yards.
Marcel Caver also led the WSSU receivers with nine catches for 100 yards and one touchdown, while William Belcher had three catches for 11 yards. Rashan Williams (56 yds) and Eric Williams (43 yds) each had two catches. Brandon Ojikutu, Bronson Greene and Reggie Wilkins each had one catch on the day.
Daveon Perry had three kickoff returns for 125 yards, including an 89 yard return for a touchdown on the game's opening kick. Reggie Wilkins finished with three kickoff returns for 56 yards and two punt returns for 28 yards.
Will Johnson punted the ball five times on the afternoon for an average of 41.4 yards per punt, and was one of three on field goal attempts.
Michael Bloomfield led the Rams defensive effort, with a game-high 11 tackles (8 solo) and two tackles for loss. Phillip Williamson and Jaitavius Jackson each had eight tackles on the day, and Vernon Brandon added seven tackles. Xavier Gregory and Michael Douglas each had five tackles, and Kyrell Washington and Kadeem Brewer-Nunn finished with four tackles each. Cameron Sullivan and Kailan Chavous each had an interception.