Oct. 27, 2005
Kickoff..., Eastern Standard Time.
Venue...Bowman Gray Stadium in
Television Coverage...There is no television coverage for this contest versus the Falcons of Saint Augustine's College. There had been speculation that the game would be broadcast live on ESPNU, however, due to prior broadcast committments, the game will not be televised.
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 Doc Love and George Croom calling all the action, as well as live nationally on the internet at www.WSSU.edu by clicking on the link: "Listen to WSNC." The Falcons will air the game on WAUG Radio on AM dial 750 and on the internet on
Live Statistical Broadcast Online...Can't make it to the game, but want to keep tabs on what the Rams are doing as it happens? Then log on to the official live statistical broadcast of the game on GAMETRACKER. Catch all WSSU home games as each one takes advantage of the Rams' enhanced partnership with College Sports Television as WSSU became the 72nd NCAA member school to use the GAMETRACKER software that enables a live statistical broadcast of the entire game to be seen on the World Wide Web. To access the GAMETRACKER webcast, fans may visit the Official Website of WSSU Athletics at www.WSSURAMS.com, accessing the football schedule page and then clicking on the GAMETRACKER link to view all the statistical action and information.
Setting The Scene...The matchup between the Rams and Falcons marks the tenth and final game of the regular season for both teams. WSSU is coming off of a 28-9 win over the winless Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls at Bowman Gray Stadium last Saturday. With the win, the Rams improved to 5-1 in the CIAA Western Division. The Falcons are coming off of a 45-28 loss to
The Series...The Rams and Falcons have met 20 times since the 1947 season with the Falcons holding the advantage in the all-time series as WSSU has posted a 9-10-1 record overall versus SAC for a winning percentage of 47.6%. The largest WSSU win all-time came in 1960, when WSSU defeated SAC by 52 points, winning 52-0. Saturday's meeting will be the 21st meeting between the two teams since first meeting in 1947. The Rams longest win streak versus the Falcons is a two-game streak, happening twice, and most recently from 2003-2004. The largest SAC win versus the Rams was by 26 points (26-0) during the 1958 season. The longest SAC win streak versus the Rams was a five game streak from 1949-1954. The Rams have won the last two games as they have yet to lose to the Falcons since
Purvis Takes Over...With the conclusion of the 2004 season, the Rams lost the services of quarterback Joshua McGee, who has since moved on to become a member of the Ram coaching staff. With the move from the playing field to the sidelines, the Rams have crowned a new starting quarterback in
Dead Last In Passing...The Rams are dead last in passing offense as they have gone 58 of 103 in passing with six interceptions and a 56.3% completion percentage (which is tops in the CIAA) for 705 yards and 6.8 yards per catch. WSSU quarterbacks have thrown for only two touchdowns and aver averaging only 78.3 yards per game.
The Brothers Bynum...The Rams have a tradition of football excellence, and also have a tradition of family that permeates not only the football program, but the athletic program in general. The Rams currently have two sets of brothers on the team, the most valuable of which are the Bynum Brothers. The brothers, Darrian Bynum (sophomore LB), and Levern Bynum (senior LB), will both make starts during the 2005 season. Levern has appeared in 38 games during his Ram career, starting 25 while Darrian appeared in eight games his freshman year in 2004, starting six, and has started all nine games in 2005. Darrian is currently second on the team in tackles (behind Thaddeus Griffin) with 42 (29 solo, 13 assisted).
The Coaches...The coaches for this game are very evenly matched-up and both captain two football programs rich in tradition, both of which are accustomed to winning. The Rams are led by 13th-year man and WSSU alum (1980), Kermit Blount. Blount has an overall record of 76-57-3 overall for a winning percentage of .558. He has faced the Faclons twice and has posted a record of 2-0 versus SAC over that span, for a winning percentage of 1.00. SAC is led by Michael Costa, a fourth-year coaching veteran who is back for his third season coaching SAC at the NCAA Division II level. Costa has posted a 17-20 overall record while at SAC for a winning percentage of .459 and has posted that same overall record as a head football coach for an all-time winning percentage of .459. The Falcons are looking to earn a win to give them their first win over WSSU since re-instating football as a varsity sport prior to the 2003 football season.
From Standard To Unconventional...The Rams are sporting a new defensive look this season as they have trashed the conventional 4-3 defensive scheme in favor of a more unconventional 3-5-3 defense under the tutelage of new defensive coordinator Mike Ketchum. The
New Threads For The Rams...The Rams have one set of new threads for the 2005 season as they have brand new Russell road white uniforms. WSSU unveiled the new uniforms on September 3, 2005 when they traveled to Washington, DC to face MEAC member, and Division I-AA opponent Howard University. WSSU wore the uniforms for the final time this season on October 8, 2005 versus Livingstone. The uniforms were designed following a collaborative effort between head coach Kermit Blount and 4th-year equipment manager Jay Robinson. They are manufactured by the Russell Athletic Equipment Company.
Rams Picked Third...The verdict came in on July 21st, 2005 at the CIAA Football Kick-Off Luncheon that took place in Petersburg, VA, and to many Ram fans, it was a surprise. The powerhouse Rams were picked to finish the 2005 season third in the ultra-competitive CIAA Western Division. WSSU was picked to finish behind 2004 Western Division Champion Fayetteville State University, who was tabbed as the favorite to defend their Western Division title and the Rams were also, surprisingly, predicted to finish behind the Eagles of North Carolina Central University. WSSU looks to prove the "experts" wrong in 2005 by winning the CIAA Western Division and the CIAA Championship. The Rams have not won a CIAA title since winning back-to-back championships during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Both of those championships came while under the guidance of current head coach, and WSSU alum, Kermit Blount.
Only Scoring Once...The Rams' defense will have to step up in 2005 as WSSU only scored one defensive touchdown in 2004. That touchdown, a 94-yard interception return for a TD versus Saint Augustine's College by the since-departed Edwin Jones was the lone score for the Ram defense during the season. The Rams posted a 1-0 record when the defense scored. This season, the Rams have recorded a lone defensive touchdown as freshman Andre Che' Wade blocked a punt and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown versus Howard University in WSSU's 20-6 loss on September 3, 2005 in Washington, DC.
WSSU Jumps Out Early...The 2004 Rams liked to jump out on opponents early as the Rams posted a 4-2 record when they scored the first points of the game. This season, in the Rams' first two games, WSSU jumped out to early leads before relinquishing them both to their opponents before being saddled with losses. On November 15 versus NCCU the Rams did the exact same thing as they opened up an early 14-0 lead before falling in defeat on a fourth-quarter touchdown.
1st 100-Yard Rusher...The ECSU game marked the first time in 2005 that the Rams had recorded a 100-yard rusher, and WSSU earned the win because of it. Martin Hicks recorded 153 yards on 15 carries which included touchdowns of 65 yards and 40 yards. Jed Bines recorded 67 yards on 17 carries for WSSU. Since then, WSSU has had a pair of 100-yard rushers four times in the last six games.
Artificial Turf Isn't Kind...The 2005 Rams lost their only game played on the artificial turf surface. WSSU has not won on turf since 2003 when they defeated West Virginia Tech 35-33 in Montgomery, WV.
Players To Watch (WSSU)...#1 Jed Bines, junior running back; #27 Martin Hicks, senior running back; #4 Monte Purvis, sophomore quarterback; #9 Brandon Hussey, senior wide receiver and kick returner; #7 Matt Hind, junior, punter/placekicker.
Scoring A Plenty...Winston-Salem State University running back Martin Hicks leads the CIAA in scoring as of October 25, 2005. Hicks has tallied 80 points on the season for an average of 8.9 points scored per game. He has 13 rushing touchdowns and successfully scored on a two-point conversion. He currently, as of press time, has scored 12 more points than his nearest CIAA competitor. Bowie State University's Glenn Thomas and Shaw's Reginald Price have each scored 68 points heading into this weekend's football action.
Blount Records..If the Rams win on Saturday, Coach Blount will be 61-29-2 against CIAA opponents with CIAA titles in 1999 and 2000. The Rams, as a team, have posted a 253-155-16 mark versus CIAA opponents with eight CIAA titles since joining the conference in 1946.
Looking For Three Straight...WSSU running back Martin Hicks looks to lead the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in rushing for the third consecutive year. Hicks, who has led the conference in rushing the past two seasons, is only 112 yards off of the pace in 2005 despite having what many would categorize as "less than stellar" rushing performances versus Howard University and South Carolina State. Hicks has 957 yards of rushing offense (net yards). He is averaging 106.3 yards per game and has scored 13 rushing touchdowns (he leads the CIAA in scoring as well). Hicks is looking to secure his third straight 1,000-yard season in 2005 and he has only one game to do so. He only needs 43 net yards to crack the 1,000 yard plateau. His teammate, Jed Bines needs only 141 yards to crack 1,000 yards for the second straight season as well.
Two 1,000 Yard Rushers Again?...WSSU running backs Martin Hicks and Jed Bines look to complete yet another feat that no rushing duo has accomplished in CIAA...they look to both crack the 1,000 yard mark in the same season again. The rushing tandem both rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2004 marking the first time in CIAA history that a pair of running backs from the same team cracked the 1,000 yard rushing plateau. The duo has a chance to complete the same feat this season.
Montgomery Win National Weekly Award...Eddie Montgomery of Saint Augustine's College was named D2Football.com special teams player of the week Tuesday after returning two punt returns for scores in the Falcons' 20-14 victory over Livingstone on Oct. 15. Montgomery, a 5-11, 175-pound senior from Gaffney, S.C, scored on returns of 80 and 60 yards to help the Falcons stay unbeaten (8-0) and atop the NCAA Division II Southeast region rankings. He returned four punts for an average of 35 yards.
Falcons Ranked In Two National Polls...Saint Augustine's College is ranked in the AFCA Division II poll and D2football.com poll at the same time for the second straight week. The Falcons are No. 21 in the AFCA poll, up three spots from the previous week. They are No. 20 in the D2football.com poll, moving two spots from the week before. The Falcons are in the AFCA poll for the second straight week and the D2football.com poll for the third consecutive week.
Saint Augustine's Players To Watch...#5 - QB - Darrell Nesbitt (Sr., 6-4, 200) - has passed for 1,146 yards and 13 touchdowns and leads team in total offense (184.9 ypg) #1 - WR - Eddie Montgomery (Sr., 5-11, 175) - leads team in catches (27), yards (598), touchdown catches (7) and all-purpose yards (117.1 ypg). #11 - LB - Tyrone Pettaway (Sr., 6-3, 220) - team leader in tackles (65), a pre-season all-CIAA selection #3 - LB - Kente Blount (Jr., 5-11, 215) - second leading tackler with 45; made gamesaving tackle on fourth down and goal at the 1-yard line to help preserve win over Livingstone. #57 - DT - Marcus Montgomery (Jr., 6-3, 280) - tied with Alex Hall for most tackles for losses (11) and has team-leading four sacks. #45 - DE - Alex Hall (So., 6-4, 250) - tied with Marcus Montgomery for most tackles for losses (11) and has team-leading 3 fumble recoveries.
99 Problems, But Numbers Ain't One...The Rams are loaded...literally. On August 27, 2005 versus Catawba, the Rams had 97 players dressed in uniform. 97 players is only two short of the NCAA maximum of 99 players that can dress for a team's home games. That means that the Rams have a roster that is 97.9% full. According to head equipment manager Jay Robinson, the Rams may very well fill all 99 uniforms on Saturday, October 29, 2005 when they host SAint Augustine's College at Bowman Gray Stadium in WSSU's third home game in Winston-Salem, NC after back-to-back-to-back road contests and in WSSU Homecoming Contest, and final home game of the 2005 season.
Running For Home...The Rams are very proficient at running the ball. There is no doubt about that. As a team, the Rams averaged 246.7 yards per game on the ground last season. However, in home games, the Rams averaged a stunning 298.7 yards per game on the ground. This season the Rams have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game in five of 2005's seven contests. Martin Hicks broke the drought versus ECSU as he tallied 155 yards and followed it up with two more 200-yard games in the successive weeks.
Weird Logic...The Rams turned the ball over five times versus ECSU, but were able to record the win. WSSU has posted a 2-2 record in 2005 when recording more turnovers than their opponent.
Secondary Solution...If there was one glaring weakness in the 2004 Rams, it would have been the WSSU secondary. The Rams were ranked second to last, or last, in every pass defense statistic in the CIAA. WSSU has tried to remedy the situation by bringing in a new defensive coordinator in Mike Ketchum, and has switched from a 4-3 to a 3-5-3 formation on defense. The change in formation yielded immediate dividends for the Rams as they batted away four passes and intercepted two more (one of which was called back due to an offsides penalty) versus Catawba on August 27, 2005. WSSU has defended 45 opponent's passes thus far during the 2005 season (35 pass break up's and 10 interceptions).
New Season, New Announcers...The 2005 season will mark the debut of the new WSNC Radio 90.5 FM radio broadcast crew. The Rams' flagship station has recently revamped its entire WSSU Football broadcast crew. Ram fans will now hear all the on-field action brought to them by Sam Harley and Doc Love. The pair will combine for a tag-team play-by-play effort that will keep all those displaced Ram fans "in the know" with live action. As well, the duo launched a live coaches show on August 29, 2005. The show airs Mondays on WSNC 90.5 FM at 6:30 pm. For additional information, contact WSSU Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing and Promotions,
Near Perfect In The Red Zone...As any statistician can tell you, statistics can be deceiving However, if one briefly looks at the Rams' stats for this season, one would notice that WSSU is a near-perfect 94.1% in the red-zone. The Rams are an impressive 16-for-17 in the red zone in 2005. In 17 attempts, the Rams have recorded eleven touchdowns (10 rushing, one passing) and five field goals (going a perfect 5-for-5 on FG attempts).
Red-Zone Efficiency, On The Flipside...The Rams are a near perfect 16-for-17 in the red zone this season, however, their opponents are also turning in an impressive red-zone efficiency of 78.6% as well as they are 22-for-28 inside the Rams' 20-yard line. Catawba College was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first game of the season and Howard University was a perfect 3-for-3 on September 3, 2005. The Rams saw the Bulldogs of South Carolina State turn in a stellar six-for-six outing inside the red zone on September 10, 2005 as well. The Rams gave up 14 touchdowns (eight rushing, six passing) and four field goals over that three-game span. In total in 2005, opponents are six of eight on field goal attempts inside the Rams' red zone as they have made six kicks and had a pair of kicks blocked. They have also scored 16 touchdowns (nine rushing, seven passing) in 2005.
Storyline, Division I...The 2005 season marks the first time since the 2000 season that the Rams have faced two or more Division I football opponents. That season, the Rams faced the Bulldogs of South Carolina State and the Pirates of Hampton. That season, the Rams split with their two Division I opponents. This season, the Rams dropped both decisions to their Division I opponents, losing to Howard University (September 3) 20-6 and S. Carolina State (September 10) 52-12.
Climbing Out Of The Offensive Cellar...The Rams of 2005, in stark contrast to last season's offensive juggernaut, are near the bottom of the CIAA in scoring offense. However, the Rams are climbing out of the cellar and have moved up to seventh in the CIAA's scoring offensive ranks as they are averaging only 21.8 points per game .
Chad Who?...The Rams, who are without the services of two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley (Haw River, NC) who is still suffering from complications due to shin surgery, are faring very well with placekicker Matt Hind (Clemmons, NC) in a back-up capacity. The Rams are currently third in the CIAA in punting with a 37.2 yard per punt average. The Rams have a 33.0 yard per punt net average. As well, Hind is a near-perfect 20-for-23 in his point-after tries on the season. He hit a 20-yard field goal to win WSSU's game versus ECSU on September 17, 2005 as time expired earning WSSU a 24-23 win and earning himself CIAA Specialty Teams Player of the Week honors, and he hit a 26-yarder with two seconds remaining to defeat Fayetteville State 26-24 on October 1, 2005 in Fayetteville, NC. He is a perfect 8-for-8 on FG's this season as he has yet to miss. He leads the CIAA in FG efficiency at 100%.
Where'd The Rushin' Go?...The Rams, who have led the CIAA in rushing yardage for the last six consecutive seasons, are currently, after nine games, ranked second in the conference in rushing. The Rams have turned in, as of press time, 2,001 yards of rushing offense for an average of 222.3 yards per game rushing. This is in stark contrast to the 2004 Rams who recorded 247.2 rushing yards per game last season (ranked first in the CIAA and eleventh in the nation.)
Moving On Up...Now that the Rams have entered into conference play, and have begun facing Division II opponents again, they are climbing the offensive ranks. WSSU's Martin Hicks and Jed Bines have seemingly awoken from their offensive slumps. As of press time, Hicks is third in the CIAA in rushing with 106.3 yards per game. His teammate Jed Bines is second in the CIAA with 107.4 yards rushing per game. They both trail Bowie State University's Isaac Redman who is averaging 118.8 yards rushing per game.
Receptions A Plenty...The Rams are definitely throwing the ball more this season. Monte Purvis is starting to get comfortable in the pocket as of late and he has plenty of targets to hit on the flanks this year. WSSU wide receiver Bradford Herring is comfortable in the new scheme as he has been the recipient of several Purvis passes, including a 35-yard TD catch versus Elizabeth City State.
Don't Even Think About Throwing It There...WSSU cornerback Nathaniel Biggs is making the passing game very difficult for opposing teams as he has picked off three passes already this season (four after video review confirmed another - CIAA approval is pending). Biggs snared two interceptions versus Elizabeth City State and he currently ranks tied for third in the CIAA in interceptions. He is tied with Shaw's Devin Chatman and Elizabeth City State's Paul Crews for second lace in the conference in interceptions (with four). As of press time the WSSU Office of Sports Information credits Biggs with four interceptions, one for which he was not credited, as video review of the VUU contest showed he clearly picked off his fourth pass of the season. CIAA statistical approval is pending. The CIAA interception leaders (Greg Toler and Donte Wise have five picks each).
Fill In?...Maybe Not...WSSU placekicker Matt Hind, who assumed the Rams' punting duties following the injury to two-time All-CIAA punter Chad Oakley has been extraordinary in a back-up role as he is currently ranked sixth in the CIAA in punting. Hind is averaging 37.4 yards per kick and is tied for the longest punt in the conference this season with (ECSU's Kevin Dodson) a 64-yarder which he booted following a high snap. Despite the poor snap which forced him to drop back 15 yards deeper than normal, Hind booted the 64-yarder (from the line of scrimmage) down inside his opponent's 15-yard line. He is a perfect 8-for-8 this season on his field goal attempts and has missed only three extra points (20-of-23).
Third Down Conversions...The Rams are 38 of 105 on third down this season. WSSU is turning in a third-down conversion percentage of 36.2% on the season. The Rams are currently ranked second in the CIAA in 3rd-down conversion percentage behind only Fayetteville State (37.3%). WSSU is 1-for-6 on fourth down this season as they have posted a 16.7% conversion rate on fourth down in 2005, ranking eleventh in the conference ahead of Virginia Union University who is 1-for-9 this season on fourth down for a conversion percentage of 11.1%.
Fumble Fingers?...The Rams may have a fumble problem this season. Through six games of the 2005 season, the Rams have recorded 16 total fumbles for an average of 2.00 fumbles per contest. Even more disheartening is the fact the Rams have lost possession of 12 of those 16 fumbles as the Rams have given away 75.5% of all the fumbles that they have committed.
Spreading It Around...This season, through six games, the Rams have spread the ball around well. Monte Purvis has thrown the ball to nine different receivers this season. He has thrown only two touchdown passes, but has hit nine total receivers, and he has hit six of those receivers multiple times (only Jemaine Mack, Oscar Goods and E.J. Gilchrest have lone receptions).
Blocking Kicks...The Rams are up to their old tricks again. Versus Elizabeth City State, WSSU blocked a pair of kicks, and has blocked four kicks thus far in 2005. The Rams have a history of blocking kicks as WSSU holds the NCAA record for the most blocked kicks in one season with 27 total blocked kicks. During the 1986 season, the Rams blocked 16 punts, seven field goals and four point-after tries for a total of 27 blocked kicks. WSSU is also tied for another NCAA record with Southeastern Louisiana University as both schools have turned in games where they blocked five opponent's punts. On October 4th, 1986, the Rams blocked five North Carolina Central University punts, thus tying them for the NCAA all-time record.
It Took FOREVER...The Elizabeth City State game, a three-hour, 25-minute marathon was the Rams' longest, non-television broadcast game in over three years. The last time a game that was not broadcast on television took longer than three-hours and 20-minutes was the Rams 30-26 loss in four overtimes versus Fayetteville State on Homecoming Weekend during the 2002 season. That contest took three hours and 37 minutes.
Getting Into The Backfield...The Rams' new 3-5-3 defensive formation is causing problems for WSSU's opponents. If one needs proof of this, one needs to look no further than September 17's stat sheet as the Rams put severe pressure on ECSU's pair of quarterbacks. The Rams recorded nine tackles for loss and recorded three sacks. In addition to those startling numbers, the Rams hurried the pair of Viking passers three times. When the Viking QB's finally got the ball into the air, the Rams were there as well, breaking up four passes, picking off three of them. Nathaniel Biggs had a pair of picks in the Rams' 24-23 victory.
203 And Three, In Only Three, And Next Week, It Was Jed...WSSU running back Martin Hicks seems to be up to his old tricks again as he has put together back-to-back rushing performances that remind many people of the past two seasons when he led the CIAA in rushing. A month ago Hicks recorded 203 yards and scored three second-quarter touchdowns as he led the Rams to a 31-0 win over Virginia Union. What is even more impressive is that he only played three quarters in the game as he sat out the fourth quarter. Hicks nearly broke his career high in yardage as he tallied 203 yards. His career high is 204 yards rushing (versus NCCU). Four weeks ago, his running mate, Jed Bines recorded 181 yards in rushing offense, paving the way for Martin Hicks' three touchdowns in the Rams' 26-24 come-from-behind victory over Fayetteville State University.
Plugging The Gaps...This season, the Rams are doing something that they did not do last season, and that is, stop the run. Last season, the Rams ranked ninth (out of 11 teams) in rushing defense. This season, the Rams are ranked fourth in rushing defense as they are only allowing 126.3 yards rushing per game and have given up only eleven rushing touchdowns for an average of 1.375 rushing touchdowns per contest.
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