WSSU Sneaks By Elizabeth City State

By L.A.Batchelor
Updated: September 22, 2005

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Matt Hind 20-yard game-winning field goal gave the Winston-Salem State University Rams their first gridiron victory of the season on Saturday evening at Bowman Gray Stadium as WSSU defeated Elizabeth City State University by the score of 24-23 in front of 5,100 fans to improve to 1-3 overall (1-0 CIAA).

The first quarter of play saw the Vikings of Elizabeth City State take advantage of an early WSSU offensive snafu as ECSU’s Paul Crews snared an errant Monte Purvis pass which he promptly took into the Ram endzone to give the visiting Vikings a 7-0 lead with 11:58 remaining in the first quarter.

The Rams answered back only four minutes later as Martin Hicks would break out for his first big run of the season. Following a Ram false start that forced WSSU into a first and 15 situation, Hicks broke around the left end and sprinted through six ECSU defenders en route to pay dirt in the Viking end zone. The run, both Hicks’ and WSSU’s longest of the season thus far, tied the game at 7-7 following a successful Hind point after attempt.

The second quarter was almost a mirror image of the first stanza of play as the Rams would score their second touchdown of the game as Purvis capped a four-play, 77-yard drive with a perfect pass to Brad Herring from 35-yards out to put the home-team Rams ahead 14-7 with 8:14 remaining in the first half of play.

Just as in the first quarter of play, the opposing team would answer back only four minutes later as this time, it would be the Vikings of Elizabeth City State who would answer as Dennis Hamilton would rush his way into the end zone from 54-yards out to knot the score at 14-14 with only 4:34 remaining in the half.

The touchdown was set up by a Hicks fumble. The fumble marked the normally sure-handed Hicks’ second fumble in as many weeks, both of which opponents have turned into points.

Following the Hicks fumble, the Rams would, uncharacteristically, cough the ball up again on their very next offensive possession as Hicks’ backfield partner Jed Bines was stripped of the ball, giving WSSU the ball back at the Ram 37-yard line with little more than three minutes to play in the half.

The Vikings would drive down the field and look to take the lead before halftime with a late field goal. However, that late field goal bid would be proven unsuccessful as Levern Bynum blocked the kick to send the two teams to the locker room at halftime with the score tied 14-14.

The two teams came out of the locker room on a high as they would trade blows for the next 30 minutes of play as fans sat on the edges of their seats until the game’s final whistle.

The third quarter of play opened with a bang for the Rams as Hicks would record his second touchdown of the evening as he powered his way into the end zone from 40-yards out to cap a five-play, 87-yard drive that put the Rams ahead by the score of 21-20.

However, a blocked PAT try from Chris Harris kept the Vikings behind, this time by only a single point, at 21-20. The one-point deficit, though seemingly inconsequential, would ultimately prove to be the Vikings undoing as it would come back to haunt them.

After an ECSU field goal put the visitors up 23-21 with 4:01 to play in the game, the Rams would have one final shot to win their first game of the 2005 season.

The Rams, looking not like the young team that they are, but rather like a seasoned veteran squad, efficiently marched down the field as they capped a 13-play, 76-yard drive in which they converted two consecutive third-down attempts, with a Hind 20-yard field goal that secured the WSSU win.

With the win, the Rams improve to 1-3 overall (1-0 CIAA) while the Vikings fall to 1-3 overall (0-1 CIAA).WSSU returns to action on September 24th, 2005 at 1:00 pm as they travel to Richmond, VA to take on the Panthers of Virginia Union University.