SALISBURY, NC – The Winston-Salem State University pounded out 528 yards of total offense and redshirt freshmen Rod Tinsley Jr and Kerrion Moore had big day's, as the Rams held off a determined Livingstone College team, 23-21 in a thrilling late minute win at Alumni Memorial Stadium on the Livingstone campus. campus.
With the victory, WSSU improves to 4-4 overall, 4-1 in the CIAA and 3-0 in the Southern Division, while the Blue Bears fall to 3-3 overall, 2-3 in the CIAA and 2-1 in the Southern Division.
The Blue Bears would get the ball first, but the Rams defense was stout early, and after a quick three and out, the Rams offense would get their first possession.
Winston-Salem State would take the ball and would march 70 yards in 11 plays, with the big play coming on a Rod Tinsley Jr to Rashan Williams 46 yard pass and catch. Though the drive would stall, Will Johnson would connect on a 27 yard field goal to give WSSU the early 3-0 lead.
WSSU would push their lead to 6-0 with 3:40 left in the first quarter, when Will Johnson would connect on his second field goal, this time from 22 yards out.
Midway through the second quarter, the Rams would expand their lead to double-digits, as WSSU would complete their longest drive of the season, a 10 play, 93 yard drive that would take 4:28 off the clock. The scoring play of the drive came on a third down and nine from the LC 11 yard line. Rod Tinsley Jr would find Eric Williams in the endzone for an 11 yard touchdown, giving WSSU a 13-0 lead.
The Blue Bears would answer back late in the quarter, when quarterback Drew Powell would score from two yards out to cut the Rams lead to 13-7 at the half.
The Rams would take the second half kick and would meticulously march down the field picking up first downs and moving the chains. With 9:38 left in the quarter, Rod Tinsley Jr would find Marcel Caver Jr for a nine yard touchdown pass to push the Rams lead back to 13, at 20-7.
It wouldn't take long for Livingstone to answer back, as five plays into their next drive, Drew Powell, would find a wide open Arthur Bowden from 65 yards out to cut he WSSU lead to 20-14.
As the fourth quarter got going, so did the home team, as Livingstone would go on a long drive, covering 75 yards in 13 plays, culminating with a Drew Powell to Jalen Hendricks two yard pass for a touchdown, giving the Blue Bears their first lead of the afternoon, 21-20.
Down but not out, the Rams would embark on one of their most important drives of the season. The ten play, 74 yard drive would cover nearly five minutes, but would stall at the Livingstone 18. Will Johnson would come on to try to give the Rams the lead, but his 30 yard attempt would go wide right, but the Blue Bears would be flagged for running into Johnson, moving the ball up five yards and giving the Rams another shot to forge ahead.
This time Will Johnson's field goal would split the uprights, giving WSSU a 23-21 lead.
The game would come down to the final 20 seconds. On fourth and nine, the Livingstone Blue Bears would put kicker, Leonardo Manzo onto the field for a potential game-winning, chip shot 32 yard field goal.
But this day the football gods light shined brightly on the Rams, as Manzo's field goal sailed wide left, turning the ball over to WSSU with just second left in the contest.
The Rams would form the victory formation, and kneel the ball to take the hard fought 23-21 win over Livingstone.
Kerrion Moore led the WSSU rushing attack with a season high 16 carries for a career high 118 yards, while Tyree Massey finished with 17 carries for 68 yards. Xavier Quick added 13 carries for 45 yards.
Rod Tinsley Jr had his best day as a collegian, going 13 of 22 for 243 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing five times for 56 yards. He did not take a sack and was not intercepted on the afternoon.
Eric Williams led the Rams' receivers with five catches for 65 yards and one touchdown, while Rashan Williams had three catches for 92 yards and Marcel Caver had three grabs for 67 yards and one touchdown. Kenneth Patterson also had one catch for 22 yards.
Will Johnson connected on three of four field goals on the day, while also punting once for 43 yards.
Defensively, the Rams were led Michael Bloomfield, who had a monster day, finishing with 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks on the afternoon. Sidney Lawson, Jerrel Priester and Kyrell Washington each had six tackles on the day. Brandon Dixon and Phillip Williamson each finished collected five stops, with Williamson also adding 0.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 sack. Kailan Chavous and Jaitavius Jackson each had four tackles, with Jackson also picking 0.5 tackle for loss.
Winston-Salem State University will host the Shaw Bears for Homecoming 2015, next week, and the game will be televised on the ASPiRE Network. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 pm.