Rams To Face #29 South Carolina State University On Saturday At 6:00 pm

Sept. 6, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Winston-Salem State University Rams football team will take to the field this Saturday, September 9, 2006 at 6:00 pm as they look for their second consecutive victory.  WSSU and head coach Kermit Blount, fresh off of signing a three-year contract extension, will face the 29th-ranked Bulldogs of South Carolina State University at Bowman Gray Stadium in the "Hall of Fame Game."


Kickoff...6:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.    


Venue...Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC (18,000 capacity).


The Event...The first home game of the 2006 season for the Rams.  The second consecutive year that the two teams have faced one another.  Both programs have storied histories with the Bulldogs entering the contest ranked 29th in the nation (Division I-AA).  The game, dubbed "The Hall of Fame Game" caps a weekend in which the Clarence E. "Big House" Gaines Athletic Hall of Fame enshrines 12 new members.  The induction ceremony takes place on Friday evening, September 8, 2006 at the WSSU's Anderson Center McNeil Ballroom with a brief halftime recognition planned for game day.


Television Coverage...There is no television coverage for this contest versus the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University.     


Radio Coverage...This weekend's contest will be available to listeners in the greater Winston-Salem, NC area live on WSNC, 90.5 FM with Maurice "Big Mo" Stanfield calling all the play-by-play action and L.A. Batchelor providing the color commentary, as well as live nationally on the internet at www.WSSU.edu by clicking on the link: "Listen to WSNC."  The Bulldogs will air the game on TEAMLINE with an internet radio broadcast that is available by accessing the Bulldogs' athletic website at www.SCSUSPORTS.com.


Live Statistical Broadcast Online...There will be a live statistical broadcast of this contest between the Rams of Winston-Salem State University and the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University available via GAMETRACKER courtesy of CSTV.  The live statistical play-by-play will be available on the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.WSSURAMS.com.


Weather Forecast...For kickoff at 6:00 pm, the forecast is calling for a high of 82 degrees and a low of 71 degrees with a 50% chance of precipitation.  Isolated thunderstorms should move through the area in the early morning and overnight on Friday with fair weather for kickoff.


Setting The Scene...The matchup between the Rams and Bulldogs will mark the third game of the season for WSSU and the second contest of the year for the Bulldogs.  WSSU is sporting a 1-1 record overall and the Rams are coming off of a monumental 41-14 victory over their biggest rival, the Aggies of North Carolina A&T State University.  The Bulldogs enter into the contest with an 0-1 record overall and are coming off of a 28-21 loss at Wofford (ranked 50th in the nation). 


2005 Results...The Rams are coming off of a 2005 season in which they posted a 6-4 record overall (6-1 CIAA) and narrowly missed a CIAA title-game appearance.  The Bulldogs posted a 9-2 overall record in 2005 and turned in a 7-1 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).  The 7-1 conference mark earned them a regular-season runner-up finish behind the Pirates of Hampton University.  Amongst the Bulldogs' nine wins was  a 40-point victory over the Rams (51-12 on September 10 in Orangeburg, SC).


Rankings...The Rams are not ranked while the Bulldogs are ranked 29th in the nation in the AFCA Division I-AA poll and are ranked fourth in the SBN Networks Black College Football Top 10 poll.  WSSU is not, as of press time, currently receiving any votes in any of the major, national college football polls.


The Last Meeting...The last meeting between the two teams came on September 10 of the 2005 season with the Rams falling in defeat at Dawson Bulldog Stadium in Orangeburg, SC by the score of 52-12.  Last season's meeting marked the first time that the two teams had met since 2000.  The 40-point loss was the Rams' most lopsided in the history of the series and was WSSU's largest margin of defeat since a 46-point loss to North Carolina A&T that came during the 1994 season (53-7 in Greensboro, NC).


The Series...Winston-Salem State and South Carolina State University have met only four times in the history of the two programs.  WSSU trails the all-time series one game to three and the Bulldogs currently own a one-game win streak over the Rams.  The first meeting between the two teams came during the 1977 season with South Carolina State University emerging victorious in the inaugural contest by the score of 10-7.  The first two contests between the two teams were played in neutral-site venues with the two most recent contests (2000 and 2005) being played in Orangeburg, SC.  The largest margin of victory for the Rams was an 11-point spread that came during WSSU's only win in the all-time series, by the score of 39-28 in 2000.  The largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs came last season when they defeated the Rams by 40 points, 52-12.  The Rams have never won back-to-back games versus SCSU with the Bulldogs longest win streak being a two-game series from 1977 until 1994. (For series breakdown, see chart at left)


The Hype...The Rams, and Ram fans, will enter into this weekend's contest on an emotional high after WSSU's impressive 27-point thrashing of North Carolina A&T that came last Saturday evening.  That elation will be short-lived as the Rams are in for a real test versus the Bulldogs.  South Carolina State University returns 13 starters from the 2005 team which defeated the Rams by 40 points in Orangeburg, SC one short year ago.  As well, the Bulldogs are coming off of a disappointing seven-point loss to Wofford last weekend and are looking to earn their first win of the season.


The Rivalry...The rivalry between these two schools is a young one with the two teams meeting only four other times in history.  However, with the Rams' addition to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the rivalry is sure to continue to build.  There is history between the two teams as current WSSU head football coach Kermit Blount spent four seasons in Orangeburg, SC at SCSU serving as the Bulldogs' Offensive Coordinator under then-head coach Willie Jeffries (1989-2003).  


Superlatives...The Rams trail the all-time series three games to one and have posted only one win, an 11-point victory, over the Bulldogs.  South Carolina State has three wins over the Rams, the most impressive being last season's 52-12 blowout of WSSU in Orangeburg, SC.  WSSU will look to try to pull out the upset over the heavily-favored Bulldogs and inch closer to evening the all-time mark between the two programs.


A Win This Week Would...

            ...give the Rams their second win of the 2006 season and move Winston-Salem State to 2-1 overall.

            ...snap the Bulldogs' one-game win streak over the Rams (WSSU hasn't earned a win over SC State since 2000)

            ...give WSSU head coach Kermit Blount his 79th win at WSSU pulling him within two wins of Thomas "Tank" Conrad (81 wins) for second place on the WSSU all-time win list (behind Bill Hayes with an all-time best 89 wins).

            ...earn the Rams their second win over an NCAA Division I-AA opponent this season (a 39-28 win at South Carolina State that came during the 2000 season being the most recent non-2006 win).

            ...earn the Rams their second win as an NCAA Division I-AA program.

            ...post WSSU's first-ever two-game win streak versus NCAA Division I-AA opponents.


...drop South Carolina State University to 0-2 for the first time in nine seasons.

            ...earn WSSU head football coach Kermit Blount his second career win over the Bulldogs (in four tries).

            ...pull current WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's overall record versus SCSU to .500 at 2-2.

            ...earn WSSU their second win over a Division I opponent during the tenure of Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell.

            ...mark WSSU's first home-game win over the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University.


A Loss This Week Would...

            ...move Winston-Salem State University to 1-2 on the season.

            ...push the Bulldogs' win streak over the Rams to two consecutive contests (and four of the last five games).

            ...give WSSU head coach Kermit Blount his 59th loss, putting him only 20 losses shy of the WSSU all-time loss record held by Thomas "Tank" Conrad (79 total).

            ...keep the Rams with only one win versus a Division I opponent (North Carolina A&T) since a 39-28 win at South Carolina State that came during the 2000 season.

            ...move South Carolina State to 1-1 on the season.

            ...earn South Carolina State University head coach Oliver "Buddy" Pough his 34th career head coaching victory.

            ...drop WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's record versus South Carolina State University to 1-3

            ...earn WSSU their first home win of the 2006 season and their first win over a Division I opponent in Bowman Gray Stadium since a 27-24 win over Savannah State University tat came during the 1997 season.


Understanding The Injury Chart...The Rams use the National Football League's injury chart model which separates injuries into four categories: (1) "Out" which indicates that a player will not play in the upcoming game and will not be dressed for the contest. (2) "Doubtful" which indicates that a player will have only a 25% chance of playing. (3) "Questionable" which indicates that a player will have a 50% chance of playing, and (4) "Probable" which indicates that the player has a 75% chance of playing.


Lost To Injury...The Rams have lost four players to injury already this season.  Most recently WSSU lost starting wide receiver Michael Scarbrough, Jr. (redshirt sophomore) to a left tibia fracture.  Scarbrough broke his left leg last Tuesday afternoon in practice and is out for at least 12 weeks.  Brandon Dow, WSSU's projected starting free has been lost for six to eight weeks after breaking his right wrist while making a tackle in practice.  The injury required surgery and he is slated to return the week of September 10, 2006.  WSSU has also lost Brandon McLellan and Lonnie Teasley to knee injuries as both are recovering from mid-summer surgeries.  McLellan is recovering from patella tendon reconstruction on his left knee while Teasley is recovering from ACL reconstruction on his right knee.


Michael Champaign And The Rams Will Try To Provide Quarterback Monte Purvis With More Time In The Pocket In 2006. Last Season, SCSU Sacked Purvis Five Times

It's Doubtful... The Rams have placed linebacker Samuel Wright (6'2"/220/Jr.) on the doubtful list as he suffered a mild separation (subluxation) of his left shoulder during the fourth quarter of the Rams' 41-14 victory over North Carolina A&T last Saturday. 

Munford, IV Is Questionable...WSSU has placed only one player on the questionable list as freshman defensive back Nathan Munford, IV of Richmond, VA (Meadowbrook High School) has only a 50% chance of playing due to a hamstring injury that continues to linger.


They will probably give it a go...Both Bennie Barbour and Cleveland Williams are on the Rams' probable list which indicates they have at least a 75% chance of playing this weekend.  Barbour has been upgraded to probable for the second consecutive week after spending a week on the questionable list.  He is still slow to recover from right knee meniscus repair.  He was upgraded after seeing an orthopedist two weeks ago.  Williams continues to nurse an ankle sprain that kept him out of practice for the first three days of last week.  Williams started last Saturday's 41-14 win over North Carolina A&T at the right guard position.  It was the sixth start of his career.


12th MEAC Member...On July 20, 2006, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced that it will expand its membership to 12 members next year, as the league voted to admit Winston-Salem State University into the league beginning in 2007-08.   "We are elated to welcome Winston-Salem into the MEAC family", said Commissioner Dennis Thomas. Obviously we think that WSSU is an outstanding academic institution with an excellent athletics program."  Winston-Salem is currently in the second year of its reclassification from Division II to NCAA Division I status. WSSU will begin a full MEAC schedule in all sports beginning in 2007-08. However they will not be eligible for MEAC Championship play until 2010-11 football season.  


12th MEAC Member (cont'd)... The addition of Winston Salem marks the first expansion for the MEAC since 1997, when Norfolk State University became the 11th member of the league.


Going To Have A New Home...The Winston-Salem State University Rams will have a new home in 2007.  On Wednesday, August 30, 2006, the Rams broke ground on a new 12,000 square-foot fieldhouse that will house all of the WSSU Athletic Department offices, a rehabilitation and sports medicine center, a new weightroom, and a press deck with a high-definition video board.


Its About The Rush...The Rams are 1-1 in 2006 when they do not have a player record at least 100 yards rushing in a contest.  Last season the Rams posted a 6-4 record when a running back had at least 100 yards rushing.  WSSU's game versus Catawba was the first time in 13 games that the Rams did not have a 100-yard rusher.  Tionti Powell was the Rams' leading rusher with 59 yards on 13 carries.  Last weekend, the Rams nearly recorded their first 100-yard rusher as Tionti Powell tallied 95 yards on 13 carries for an average of 7.1 yards per carry.  Brandon McRae earned 82 yards on 12 carries. 


To The House...The last time that the Rams' defense scored was also the last time that the Rams have intercepted a pass and taken it for a touchdown.  De'Ron Middleton's 74-yard interception return for a touchdown against Saint Augustine's College on October 29, 2005 was the last time that the Rams' defense recorded a touchdown.


Its Been Awhile...The last time that the Rams defeated a team that was ranked in the AFCA Coaches' Poll was during the 2003 season when WSSU defeated then-#19 Fort Valley State University in Macon, GA by the score of 27-21.  Since that time, the Rams have fallen to three ranked opponents.

Only Two...The Rams will play only two non-Division I teams this season as they face off against only Catawba College (lost on August 26 by the score of 21-7) and Saint Augustine's College (November 4).  The Rams will face nine Division I-AA programs this season, including three teams that are currently ranked in the Division I-AA AFCA Coaches' Poll (Hampton, S.C. State and Coastal Carolina).  WSSU faces four conferences this season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (seven times), the Big South (once), the South Atlantic Conference (once), and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (once).  The Rams also face one independent team in the Tigers of South Carolina State University.


Scoring Plenty...The Rams have scored 48 points in two games and are averaging 24 points per game.  The Bulldogs, taking into account that they have only played one game, are averaging 21 points per game in 2006.  In order for the Rams to earn the win this weekend, they must stop the Bulldogs prolific offense, an offense that returns all but one starter.  The SCSU offense of 2006 is virtually identical to the offense that scored 52 points versus the Rams last season.


Stop The Madness...The Rams have committed 16 penalties this season, resulting in 136 yards for their opposition.  Last weekend versus North Carolina A&T, the Rams gave the Aggies three consecutive third-down conversions due to penalties on the same drive resulting in NC A&T's first touchdown of the game.


More Second-Half Production...The Rams have scored 34 of their 48 total points in the first half of games.  WSSU must get more second-half production if they plan on continuing their win streak this weekend.  The Rams have scored only 14 points in the second half of games this season.  They have one touchdown in the third and fourth quarters of play.


Blount Inks Three-Year Deal...WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell announced on Wednesday morning that the WSSU Department of Athletics has extended the contract of Head Football Coach Kermit Blount for three more years, taking him through the 2010 season.  Blount's current contract took him through the 2007 season and with the extension, will ensure that he remains the head football coach at Winston-Salem State University for the next four seasons.  In his 14th season with the Rams, Blount has posted a 78-58-3 overall record at WSSU and led the Rams to back-to-back CIAA Championships in 1999 and 2000.  Blount, WSSU's first head football coach to lead the Rams into Division I play has established himself as one of the premiere coaches in all of college football. 


"As we continue along in this transition to Division I, one of the things that we value the most is stability, and extending Coach Blount's contract for the next three years will help us to do that.  He is a proven winner and we have now ensured that he will be our head football coach through the 2010 season." WSSU Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell said.  "This three-year extension makes Coach Blount's contract the same as our other high-profile coaches as his contract, as well as the contracts of our head men's basketball and head women's basketball coaches, are all in effect through the 2010 season.  This provides us with the stability and direction that will be necessary to build successful teams as we transition to the highest level of intercollegiate athletics in NCAA Division I" Caldwell added.


For additional information on WSSU Football, contact the WSSU Office of Sports Information at (336) 750-2143 or log on to the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.WSSURAMS.com


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