Updated: October 30, 2006
HAMPTON, Va. — The Winston Salem University Rams were concluding the final game of a three-game road trip and the third straight homecoming game.
This time it was against 18th-ranked team in Division I-A, the Hampton Pirates. The task was even tougher because the Pirates were coming off a tough loss at South Carolina State.
Not only was it HU’s first loss of the season, it also snapped a 24-game regular season winning streak dating back to 2003. The Rams played hard the entire game and battled hard but came up short.
WSSU’s lack of offense once again showed it’s ugly head once again as the Rams fell 13-3 to the Pirates in front of a sellout crowd of over 17,000 at Armstrong Stadium in Hampton, Va.
After the Rams got the ball first and were forced to punt, they regained the ball following a Hempton penalty. However, the Rams’ drive stalled again and they were forced to punt.
The Pirates took over for the first time and quickly went on an impressive drive down the field on the Rams tough and talented defense. The Pirates went on a eight play, 80-yard drive consuming over three minutes on the clock.
Pirates quarterback TJ Mitchell threw a 12 yard touchdown pass to Marquay McDaniel to take a 7-0 lead with 5:18 left in the first quarter. Mitchell started at quarterback for Princeton Shepherd who was inactive due to injury and disciplinary action by head coach Joe Taylor.
After stopping the WSSU offense on 4th down on one drive and an interception by quarterback Monte Purvis, Hampton added three more points on the board late in the second quarter.
After the team’s exchanged posessions, the Pirates set up their final drive of the half at the Rams 35. With no timeouts, the Pirates went on a quick four play, 25-yard drive taking only 22 seconds and concluding the scoring in the first half with a Andrew Paterini 25-yard field goal making the score at halftime 10-0.
The second half for the Rams resembled the first. No offense. The Rams had several promising drives in the second half and ran the ball exceptionally well, but couldn’t turn anything into points which was disappointing and frustrating because they were only down 10 points against the heavy favored Pirates on their special weekend.
The Pirates could not muster up much of an offense as well but managed to score the only points of the third quarter.
A long 14-play, 44 yard drive consumed over six minutes off the clock and concluding with a 44 yard field goal by Andrew Paterini giving the Pirates a commanding 13-0 lead with 8:24 left in the third.
The length of the drive seemed to deflate and defeat the Rams much more than the 3 points and it showed as the lack of offensive consistency was apparent for the rest of the third quarter.
The Rams finally got in the scoring column in the fourth quarter using a successful running game on the drive that appeared to finish with a touchdown. That would not be not the case.
WSSU on a nine-play, 47 yard drive that stalled at the Pirates 36 yard line. Surprisingly, the Rams went for a field goal rather than attempting to get a first down on 4th and 1.
Rams punter/placekicker Chad Oakley, converted the 36 yard field goal and the Rams had their first and only points of the game making the final score 13-3 with 6:38 remaining.
The score was not indicative of how close the game really was. A confident and talented Rams defense, kept the game close with their attacking style and great tackling ability while the Rams rush offense had another solid game.
The Rams outgained the Pirates on the ground 202 to 192 and although they only had 67 yards in the air, they averaged 16.5 yards per pass. The Rams also won the time of possesion game 31 minutes to 28 and held the Pirates powerful offense to just 5 of 12 conversion on 3rd down.
Brandon McRae led the Rams in rushing with 99 yards on 15 carries and averaged an impressive 6.6 yards per carry. They played hard and battled toe to toe with the Pirates, but just fell short.
With the win, the Pirates improve their record to 8-1( 6-1 in the MEAC) while the Rams dropped to 3-6. WSSU will play their final home game of the season Saturday, November 4th when they host Saint Augustines at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem.
Game time is set for 1:30pm.