By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Weekend Black College Football Preview
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Rams of Winston Salem State University are flying high after a last minute win over perennial powerhouse Hampton last weekend and look to continue there winning ways against arguably the best team in HBCU football.
WSSU (5-3) will need to have balanced on offense and be aggressive on defensive in order to win against the Delaware State Hornets (7-1, 6-0 MEAC), the No. 1 team in the latest BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU Top 10 Football Poll.
The Rams will need another stellar performance from running back Jed Bines like last week when he rushed for 146 yards in beating the three-time MEAC champion Pirates. On the season, The Rams average nearly 200 yards rushing per game including 4 yards per rush per game.
Although Monte Purvis and the passing game has made some strides including less turnovers this season, but the offensive balance The Rams need is still not there. The Rams’ average only 93 yards passing per game including only six yards per pass. Purvis has to be poised, make smart decisions and must protect the ball.
The running game must be as dominant as it has been all season in order to keep DSU’s potent offense off the field. They must also improve on there third down conversions to keep drives alive. WSSU has only converted 34 percent on third downs.
Defensively, the Rams have to be consistent in stopping the run and stopping the Hornets on third down. The Rams defense has done pretty well on third downs only allowing 42 percent on the season. Although they allow 70 percent scoring inside the red zone, the percentage drops to 43 percent in allowing only touchdowns in the red zone.
WSSU also must not allow the Hornets to get off to a quick start offensively because that could take away some of there aggressiveness. Players like Nathaniel Biggs, Thadeus Griffin, Michael Moore and Deron Middleton must step up and play big and make big plays to help the team get a victory.
For DSU, the formula for a win is simple. They must sustained an opening or early drive to take what will be a wild and loud home coming crowd cheering for The Rams. An early score could take the crowd out of the game and put The Rams in an early hole. They have to do a better job on third down and scoring in the red zone.
The Hornets have converted only 26 percent on third down and only 39 percent in scoring touchdowns inside the red zone. DSU doesn’t have many standouts on offense so a balanced effort is crucial for the offense. Kareem Jones leads the team in rushing in over 530 yards and will need to be productive along with the other running backs in order to be successful.
Quarterback Vashon Winton has been average at best and will need to be consistent and like Monte Purvis, must not turn the ball over in order to give The Hornets a chance to win.
The Hornets success has been primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Players like Akeem Green (three interceptions, one fumble recovery for a touchdown), Russell Reeves and Josh Pope have to continue to be aggressive on defense, force turnovers and put the offense in good scoring position.
They must continue to play solid in the red zone and on third down. The Hornets hold their opponents to only 29 percent on third down and have only allowed 35 percent of their opponents to score inside the red zone.
Outlook: The Rams are riding high coming off the win against Hampton and essentially have been riding high all season. Take away a few late game blunders and miscues, The Rams could have been coming into this game with an identical record The Hornets.
The Hornets in the meantime got a hard fought victory against South Carolina State winning by only one point but nevertheless, they are confident, talented and have answered the bell in every game but the game against Kent State.
The Hornets will look to come in and take the action to The Rams, get ahead early and let their defense lead them to their 8th victory but the Rams are at home in front of there crowd and Bowman Gray Stadium will be rockin
I think the excitement and enthusiasm of this 5-3 team will propel them to an upset victory over Delaware State adding to a great year for coach Blount and his fired up Rams. Don’t be surprised if The Rams pull another late rally to win the game against The Hornets.
Final score: WSSU 28, Delaware State 27
OTHER KEY GAMES SATURDAY
(Rankings are from latest BoxToRow.com/BASN Poll)
No. 9 Jackson State at No. 2 Alabama A&M, 1:30 pm
No. 3 Grambling State at Alabama State, 1 pm
Clark Atlanta at No. 4 Tuskegee, 1 pm
No. 5 Southern vs. Texas Southern (at Houston), Noon
No. 6 Norfolk State at Morgan State, 4 pm
No. 10 Fort Valley State vs. No. 7 Albany State (at Columbus), 2 pm
No. 8 Virginia Union at Fayetteville State, 1:30 pm