Rams' Football Travel To Daytona Beach, FL To Face Bethune-Cookman College

Oct. 11, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Winston-Salem State University Rams, fresh off their 12-0 win over Howard University last Saturday afternoon will take their 2-4 record and travel to Daytona Beach, Florida this weekend to face the 3-3 Bethune-Cookman College Wildcats in a football contest that will mark the first-ever meeting between the two Historically Black Colleges.


Kickoff...4:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.    


Venue...Larry Kelly Field at Municipal Stadium, with a capacity of 10,000 in Daytona Beach, Florida.


The Event...The seventh game of the 2006 season for the Rams, this weekend's contest will mark the first time in three weeks that the Rams have been away from the friendly confines of Bowman Gray Stadium.  The contest will mark the first meeting between the two teams and is Bethune-Cookman College's 2006 Homecoming game.


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


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 Wildcats will air a radio broadcast on the Bethune-Cookman College Sports Radio Network with WBCC 830 AM serving as the flagship station.


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 partly cloudy skies with a high temperature of 84 degrees and a low of 66 degrees with only a 20% chance of precipitation.


Setting The Scene...The match up between the Rams and the Wildcats will mark the first meeting between the two teams.  WSSU is riding a one-game win streak after defeated Howard University by the score of 12-0 at home in Winston-Salem, NC last weekend as the Rams earned a win at Homecoming 2006.  The Wildcats are riding a two-game losing streak and are coming off of a 33-31 loss at home in Daytona Beach, FL versus Delaware State University.


Next Up...The Rams will take to the road for the second of three consecutive road games.  WSSU will travel to Savannah, GA (Savannah State University) next weekend (October 21) and Hampton, VA (Hampton University) the weekend of October 28 to close out the month of October.


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 Wildcats finished 7-4 in 2005 and posted a 4-4 conference mark as they closed the year finishing fourth in the MEAC.


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


The Last Meeting...This is the first meeting between the two teams.  WSSU has never faced Bethune-Cookman College and has only faced one other team from the state of Florida, or in the state of Florida, in the program's history.  WSSU fell in defeat 25-21 at Florida A&M earlier in the season marking the only time WSSU has faced a team from the Sunshine State, or a team in the Sunshine State.


The Series...Neither team owns a win in the series.  It is the first meeting in the history of the two programs.


A Win This Week Would...

            ...give the Rams their third win of the 2006 season and move Winston-Salem State to 3-4 overall.

            ...run the Rams' win streak to a season-best two games.

            ...give WSSU head coach Kermit Blount his 80th win at WSSU pulling him within one win of Thomas "Tank" Conrad (81 wins) for a second place tie on the WSSU all-time win list (behind only Bill Hayes with an all-time best 89 wins).

            ...earn the Rams their third win over an NCAA Division I-AA opponent this season (WSSU has defeated North Carolina A&T and Howard already this season).

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

            ...drop the Wildcats to 3-4 for the first time in three seasons.

            ...pull current WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's overall record versus Bethune-Cookman to 1-0.   

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

            ...give the Rams their first win over a team from the State of Florida.

            ...give the Rams their first win on the road in the State of Florida.


A Loss This Week Would...

            ...move Winston-Salem State University to 2-5 on the season.

            ...snap Bethune-Cookman's two-game losing streak.

            ...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 two wins versus Division I opponents since the start of the Rams' transition to NCAA Division I status (with wins over NC A&T and Howard).

            ...move Bethune-Cookman to 4-3 on the season.

            ...earn Bethune-Cookman College head coach Alvin B. Wyatt, Sr. his first career head coaching victory over WSSU.

            ...drop WSSU head coach Kermit Blount's record versus Bethune-Cookman College to 0-1

            ...keep the Rams winless in the state of Florida (0-2) and keep the Rams winless against teams from the state of Florida (0-2) all-time.


Four From Florida...The Rams will travel to Daytona Beach, Fl to face Bethune-Cookman College with two players from the state of Florida on the roster.  Kicker Marvin Umanzor (#6) and defensive back David Irizarry (#24) are both from Miami, FL and will make the travel squad.  Bendhi Eliasant and Detron Hart will not travel but are the final two players from Florida on WSSU's roster.


Freshman Four...Freshman running back Brandon McRae (#26) leads the Rams with four touchdowns, all coming by way of the ground.  The last time that a freshman led the Rams in scoring was during the 2004 season when true freshman Jed Bines led the team with 74 points.  Bines is academically ineligible this season and is slated to return in 2007.


Trickeration...Unconventional is something that WSSU head coach Kermit Blount is not.  However, the Rams have incorporated trick plays into their repertoire this season.  WSSU has run "The Reverse" three times, and has even tried the "Halfback Pass" once this season.  The Rams were unsuccessful as Tionti Powell's pass fell incomplete.


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 of whom are likely not to return this year.  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 recovering well and is 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 and is lost for the season.  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 five weeks, and is expected not to return in 2006.  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 has since rejoined the team, but has yet to play since being medically cleared by WSSU team physicians.  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.  Their returns this season are doubtful.


He will probably give it a go...WSSU Head Athletic Trainer, Darrell Turner has placed Samuel Robinson on the probable list for the fourth consecutive week.  The 6'2", junior linebacker is still rehabilitating 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 (leads team in passing); senior tight end #81 Stan Wright (is being watched closely by the NFL scouts); redshirt freshman running back #26 Brandon McRae (leads the team in rushing with 326 yards); senior wide receiver #8 Brad Herring (has a catch in nine straight games); junior linebacker #33 Darrian Bynum (eighth on the team in tackles with (21 tackles); junior linebacker #45 Thadeus Griffin (second on team in tackles with 41); junior right spur/cornerback #10 De'Ron Middleton (one interception, one fumble recovery); and senior left defensive end #90 Jason Holman.


Wildcat Players To Watch ...Jimmie Russell (173 carries for 701 yards, 4.1 ypc average, 10 TD's in 2005); Eric Weems (37 catches for 417 yards, 11.3 yards per catch, three receiving touchdowns); Jesus Cortez (one punt 33 yards, 33.0 yards per kick average); Corey Council (eight kick off returns, 200 yards returning kicks, 25.0 yards per return average).


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 State University 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 WSSU marks the first expansion for the MEAC since 1997, when Norfolk State University became the 11th member of the conference.


The "Yips"...WSSU kicker Marvin Umanzor missed an extra point last weekend versus Howard University running his streak of games with a missed kick to four.  Umanzor is two of seven this season kicking field goals and has missed three of his 12 point-after tries this season.


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 field house 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, snapping a streak that dated back to the 2004 season.  Tionti Powell was the Rams' leading rusher with 59 yards on 13 carries in that streak-snapping game.  The Rams recorded their first, and as of press time, their only, 100-yard rusher of the season versus South Carolina State as running back Tionti Powell eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau. 


To The House...Corey Swinnie's 35-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown last weekend versus Howard University marked the first time that the Rams' defense scored since De'Ron Middleton's 74-yard interception return for a touchdown against Saint Augustine's College on October 29, 2005.  It also marked the first time since the Rams' transition to Division I that the Rams returned a fumble for 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 or receiving votes in the Division I-AA AFCA Coaches' Poll (Hampton and Coastal Carolina who are ranked; SC State who is receiving votes).  WSSU faces four different 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 Savannah State University.


A Flag On The Play...The Rams have committed 43 penalties this season, resulting in 349 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 Florida A&M the Rams gave the Rattlers a key first down due to a roughing the passer call that ultimately resulted in a FAMU touchdown.  Penalties have cost the Rams seven automatic first downs through five games of the 2006 football season.


More Second-Half Production...The Rams have scored 60 of their 99 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 39 points in the second half of games 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 this weekend's 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.


Nearly A Dozen...Through six games of the season, the Rams are currently sporting 11 sacks.  William Hayes leads WSSU with four sacks and he is joined Michael Moore and Mario Dawson who each have two sacks each.  Four other WSSU roster players have at least a half-sack thus far in 2006.  The Rams have saddled opponents with 48 yards lost on their 11 sacks.


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 For A Grand...Senior punter Chad Oakley continues to prove that he is one of the most valuable players on the Rams' roster.  Through six games, Oakley has kicked 28 punts for 1181 yards for an average of 42.2 yards per kick.  He has recorded five touch backs, three fair catches, and has pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line seven times.  He has not had a punt blocked since the 2004 season.


Nearly A 75-25 Breakdown...Despite a promise to try to pass the ball more, Head Coach Kermit Blount's Rams have run the ball 73.8% of the time thus far in the 2006 season.  The Rams have 329 total plays on offense, with 243 of them being rushing attempts.  WSSU has thrown only 86 passes on the season, 35 of which have been caught for positive yardage.  The Rams have recorded 10 rushing touchdowns and three passing TD's.  Quarterback Monte Purvis has as many rushing touchdowns (two) as he does passing TD's (two).


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.  "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.  Herring's streak of nine straight games with a reception was broken last weekend versus Howard University.


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 28 punts for 1181 yards for an average of 42.2 yards per punt, and more impressively, has not had a punt blocked since 2004.


Pulling Double Duty...WSSU senior wide receiver Joshua Crawford pulls double-duty as both a wideout and a kick returner.  Crawford has recorded five catches for 104 yards this season and leads the Rams with a pair of receiving touchdowns.  He also 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 five of their six games.  Unfortunately, for the Rams, WSSU has lost three of those games where they score on their opponent first.


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.


33% On Third Down...The Rams are currently turning in a third-down percentage of only 32.8% as WSSU has been successful on only 23 of their 70 third-down conversions.  However, WSSU's opponents are turning in a third-down conversion percentage of 47% as WSSU opponents have successfully converted 32 of 68 attempts on third down. 


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