Rams Host Howard University Bison For Homecoming 2006 On Saturday, October 7th

Oct. 4, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Winston-Salem State University Rams will play their second consecutive home game this weekend at Bowman Gray Stadium as they host the Howard University Bison at 2:00 pm for "Homecoming Weekend 2006."  The Rams, sporting a 1-4 record overall will look to avenge last season's 20-6 loss to Howard (1-3, 0-2 MEAC) in Washington, DC.


Kickoff...2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time. 


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


The Event...The sixth game of the 2006 season for the Rams, this weekend's contest will be the third home contest for WSSU.  The game will mark "Homecoming 2006" for Winston-Salem State University.  The contest will mark the first WSSU Homecoming that will be played by a Division I Rams team.  WSSU is looking to avenge last season's 20-6 loss to Howard University in Washington, DC.


Television Coverage...There is no national television coverage for this contest versus the Bison.  However, the game will air on RAM TV on campus at WSSU in a tape-delay format and will air, in a subscription-basis, on the Internet for Howard University subscribers.


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 Bison will air a radio broadcast on the  Howard Sports Radio Network with the following affiliates carrying the game:  WHUR 96.3 FM.


Live Statistical Broadcast Online...A live statistical broadcast of the game, utilizing CSTV's "Gametracker" statistical software will be available on the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.WSSURAMS.com.


Weather Forecast...Saturday's contest is set to be played in good weather as the forecast calls for a high temperature of 77 degrees and a low of 51 degrees with only a 10% chance of precipitation.


Setting The Scene...The matchup between the Rams and Bison will mark the fifth game of the season for Howard and the sixth of the season for the Rams.  The Rams are coming off of a 31-12 loss to Coastal Carolina at Bowman Gray Stadium last weekend.  The Bison are riding the momentum of their first win of the year as they defeated Fort Valley State University in Washington, DC by the score of 34-19 last weekend.


Next Up...The Rams will take to the road for the first of three consecutive road games.  WSSU will travel to Daytona Beach, FL to face the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman College on October 14, 2006.  The Rams will then travel to Savannah, GA (Savannah State University) and Hampton, VA (Hampton University) to close out the month of October.


Doing Fine After The Injury...Winston-Salem State University defensive end Detron Hart who was injured in the Rams' game versus Florida A&M University has suffered a cervical sprain and will be inactive until further notice according to a statement issued by WSSU Head Athletic Trainer, Darrell Turner late Tuesday afternoon.  "While we are still waiting on the release of all of the films from the hospital in Tallahassee, he is doing fine.  He will see our spine specialist here, but from all indications, he has suffered a cervical sprain and will be out of action until further notice."


Leading The Way With Nine Catches...Senior wide receiver Bradford Herring leads the team with nine receptions for a total of 142 yards and one touchdown.  He is averaging 15.8 yards per reception with a long catch of 48 yards.


Punting His Way To The League?...Winston-Salem State University punter Chad Oakley may very well be punting himself into the National Football League.  Oakley is being watched closely by several professional football organizations as he has tallied 21 punts for 919 yards for an average of 43.8 yards per punt.


Pulling Double Duty...WSSU senior wide receiver Joshua Crawford pulls double-duty as both a wideout and a kick returner.  Crawford has recorded two catches for five yards this season and has returned 13 kicks for 166 yards to lead the Rams.  Crawford averages 12.8 yards per kick return.


Crazy Logic...Often, in the world of sports, the team that scores first wins.  Not so with the Rams as WSSU has scored first in four of their five games.  Unfortunately, for the Rams, WSSU has lost three of those games where they score on their opponent first.


When Its Natural...The Rams have played all five games of the 2006 season on natural grass posting a 1-4 mark overall.  The last time that the Rams played on an artificial surface was last season in Washington, DC in a loss to Howard University on September 3, 2006.


Two Dozen Tackles For Loss...Through five games of the 2006 season the Rams have tallied 24 tackles for a loss of 97 yards.  Last season, the Rams recorded 76 tackles for loss for minus 222 yards.  Sixteen of those 76 tackles for loss were recorded sacks for Winston-Salem State University.


Six With 10 Or More...The Rams currently have six players with 10 or more solo tackles.  Leading the way for WSSU is DeRon Middleton who has recorded 17 solo tackles.


Less Than 100...The Rams have turned in six consecutive games with less than 100 net yards passing.  WSSU has not turned in a 100-yard passing game, as a team, since a 126 yard passing game versus Saint Augustine's College last season.


35% On Third Down...The Rams are currently turning in a third-down percentage of only 35% as WSSU has been successful on only 19 of their 55 third-down conversions.  However, WSSU's opponents are turning in a third-down conversion percentage of 52% as WSSU opponents have successfully converted 29 of 56 attempts on third down. 


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 Bison are coming off of a season in which they posted a 4-7 overall record and finished tied for eighth in the MEAC with a 1-7 conference mark.


Rankings...Neither the Rams nor the Bison are currently receiving any votes in any of the major, national, college football polls.


The Last Meeting...This is the fifth meeting between the two teams.  Howard holds a 3-1 series edge with the Rams losing to the Bison last season in Washington, DC by the score of 20-6.


The Series...Winston-Salem State owns one win in the series (1985) and the Bison own three wins (1986, 1993, 2005).  This Saturday's contest will mark the fifth game 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 2-4 overall.

                ...snap the Rams three-game losing streak

...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 only 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 over a Division I-AA team).

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

                ...drop the Bison to 1-3 for the first time in five seasons.

                ...pull current WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's overall record versus Howard University to 1-2.  

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

...give the Rams their first home win over a Division I-AA opponent.  The Rams are entering into their first year as a member of the ranks of NCAA Division I membership.


A Loss This Week Would...

                ...move Winston-Salem State University to 1-5 on the season.

                ...push the Bison win streak to two consecutive games.

...give WSSU head coach Kermit Blount his 62nd loss, putting him only 17 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 Howard University to 2-3 on the season.

                ...earn Howard University head coach Rayford T. Petty his second career head coaching victory over WSSU.

                ...drop WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's record versus Howard University to 0-3

...Give the Bison a 4-1 lead in the all-time series between the two team.  This Saturday's contest marks the fifth meeting between the two teams.


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 five players to injury already this season.  Most recently WSSU lost defensive lineman Detron Hart to a cervical sprain.  Hart was injured in the game versus Florida A&M.  He is currently wearing a cervical collar, yet is very anxious to get back to practice.  WSSU lost starting defensive lineman Quentin Jones to a knee injury that he sustained in the game versus South Carolina State University.  After undergoing surgery on the injured knee, Jones was given a rehabilitation time of nine to 12 months.  Prior to Jones' injury WSSU lost starting wide receiver Michael Scarbrough, Jr. (redshirt sophomore) to a left tibia fracture.  Scarbrough broke his left leg in practice and is out for at least another six weeks.  Brandon Dow, WSSU's projected starting free safety was lost for six weeks after breaking his right wrist while making a tackle in practice.  The injury required surgery and he was slated to return last weekend (September 30, 2006) versus Coastal Carolina (he did not play).  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.  His return this season is doubtful.


Will likely play...Wide receiver Bryant Bayne and defensive lineman Hamid Dawson will both likely play Saturday.  Bayne is nursing a left hamstring injury and Hamid Dawson is nursing a right ankle injury.


No Doubts...WSSU has no one placed on the doubtful list.


No Questions...WSSU has no one placed on the questionable list.


He will probably give it a go...WSSU Head Athletic Trainer, Darrell Turner has placed Samuel Robinson on the probable list.  The 6'2", junior linebacker is still nursing a subluxation of his left shoulder which he sustained in the Rams 41-14 win over North Carolina A&T State University on September 2, 2006 in Greensboro, NC.


WSSU Players To Watch...Junior quarterback #4 Monte Purvis; senior tight end #81 Stan Wright; redshirt freshman running back #26 Brandon McRae; senior wide receiver #8 Brad Herring; junior linebacker #33 Darrian Bynum; junior linebacker #45 Thadeus Griffin; junior right spur/cornerback #10 De'Ron Middleton; senior left defensive end #90 Jason Holman.


Howard Players To Watch ...Keon Coleman (141 rushes, 770 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, three touchdowns in 2005; Darryl Turner (17 of 50 passing, 311 yards, one TD, 2 INT); Larry Duncan (27 receptions, 351 yards, 13.0 yards per catch, one TD); Noam Dror (15-20 PAT, 2-7 FG, long of 36 yards).


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.     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 weight room, and a press deck with a high-definition video board.  The $4.2 million dollar project is a collaborative effort between Winston-Salem State University and the City of Winston-Salem (the Winston-Salem Sports and Entertainment Complex).


Its About The Rush...The Rams are 1-3 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.  In the contest versus North Carolina A&T 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.  The Rams recorded their first 100-yard rusher of the season versus South Carolina State as running back Tionti Powell eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau. 


To The House...The last time that the Rams' defense scored was also the last time that the Rams intercepted a pass and took 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.


Stop The Madness...The Rams have committed 37 penalties this season, resulting in 304 yards for their opposition.  In the game versus North Carolina A&T, the Rams gave the Aggies three consecutive third-down conversions due to penalties on the same drive resulting in North Carolina A&T's first touchdown of the game.  Versus the Florida A&M the Rams gave the Rattlers a key first down due to a roughing the passer call.  Penalties have cost the Rams seven automatic first downs through five games of the 2006 football season including two last weekend vs. CCU.


More Second-Half Production...The Rams have scored 54 of their 87 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 33 points in the second half of games this season.  They have two touchdowns in the third quarters and three TD's in the fourth quarters of play this season.


Outside of North Carolina...The Rams' first battle outside of the State of North Carolina was on September 23 as the Rams traveled to Tallahassee, FL to face the Florida A&M University Rattlers.  The trip to Florida was the first of two road contests in the "Sunshine State" for the Rams, with the second being an October 14, 2006 contest at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, FL.  The Rams, under Blount, had never faced a team from the State of Florida and WSSU had never played a game in the State of Florida until September 23.  The Rams are currently 0-1 in the state of Florida and are 0-1 versus teams from the State of Florida.


Eight Is Enough...Through five games of the season, the Rams are currently sporting an "eight pack of sacks".  William Hayes leads WSSU with two-and-a-half sacks and he is joined by DeRon Middleton, Demetrius Rivers, Detron Hart and Michael Moore who each have one sack each.  Mario Dawson has tallied a pair of sacks as well.  The Rams have saddled opponents with 97 yards lost on their eight sacks this far in 2006.


Extending Success...Winston-Salem State University Director of Athletics, Dr. Chico Caldwell announced on September 6, 2006 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.


Kicking It Up A Notch...Senior punter Chad Oakley continues to prove that he is one of the most valuable players on the Rams' roster.  Through five games, Oakley has kicked 21 punts for 919 yards for an average of 43.3 yards per kick.  He has recorded four touch backs, three fair catches, and has pinned four different opponents inside their own 20-yard line.  He has not had a punt blocked since the 2004 season.


75-25 Breakdown...Despite a promise to try to pass the ball more, Head Coach Kermit Blount's Rams have run the ball 73.9% of the time thus far in the 2006 season.  The Rams have 273 total plays on offense, with 202 of them being rushing attempts.  WSSU has thrown only 71 passes on the season, 28 of which have been caught for positive yardage.  The Rams have recorded 10 rushing touchdowns and two passing TD's.  Quarterback Monte Purvis has more (2) rushing touchdowns as he does passing TD's (1).


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