WSSU Gets A Bittersweet Win At Morgan State

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: September 18, 2007

WSSU BALTIMORE — The Winston Salem State University Rams used early mistakes by the Bears of Morgan State and a last second field goal by freshmen kicker Matt Mitchell to gain a hard fought 19-17 victory. The win was costly as WSSU lost sophomore running back Brandon McRae for the rest of the season.

McRae was injured with a fractured right wrist and senior running back Jed Bines was limited to only one quarter of action when he suffered an ankle sprain.

After a early turnover by the Bears, The Rams took the ball on a nine-play, 60-yard drive capped off by a three yard run by McRae. It would prove to be the last touchdown of the season for McRae, but it gave WSSU a 7-0 lead.

After Mitchell kicked a 38-yard field goal, Morgan State got back in the game with an impressive 16-play, 93-yard drive finishing with a six yard run by Mario Melton making the score 10-7 WSSU with less than two minutes to play in the half.

The Bears struck first in the second half and took only two plays to do it. The Bears hit for a quick two-play, 41-yard drive as Chad Simpson scampered for 33 yards and a touchdown. Morgan State took their first lead of the game 14-10 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.

The score remained the same until WSSU finally got a break on a Bear turnover. After a forced fumble by Corey Swinnie, The Rams took one play to score when Roderick Fluellen rumbled three yards for a touchdown and a 16-14 Rams lead. The point after was blocked.

After the teams stalled offensively, The Bears went on what they thought was the game-winning driving using almost five minutes off the clock and concluding with a 43-yard field goal by James Meade giving Morgan State a 17-16 lead with under two minutes to play in the game.

The Rams showed no sense of panic when they received the ball with only 1:13 left in the game. Led by quarterback Monte Purvis, The Rams took the ball down the field with poise and confidence quickly in four plays for 49 yards.

The key play was a 42-yard pass from Purvis to sophomore receiver Bryant Bayne putting the team in great position for the game-winning field goal. A 24-yard field goal by Mitchell gave WSSU a slim, but good road win.

The Rams were outgained offensively 366-234 by the Bears including 261-93 in rushing yards, but they capitalized on three Morgan State turnovers and 15 penalties.

WSSU was led by Purvis who was an efficient 11-for-19 for 141 yards. They were led on the ground by Bines who rushed for 58 yards on six carries. Bayne led the Rams in receiving with three catches for 61 yards including the big 42-yard catch to setup the game-winning field goal.

The Bears were led by Simpson who had a monster game on the ground in a losing cause. He rushed for 230 yards on 41 carries and a touchdown.

With the win, WSSU improves to 2-1 while Moragn State falls to 1-2.

The Rams face a tough task this Saturday as they travel to Orangeburg, S.C. to face the Bulldogs of South Carolina State. Buddy Pough’s squad (1-2) is ranked sixth in this week’s HBCU Top 10 Football Poll.