Another week, another Ram victory

By L.A. Batchelor, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 25, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (BASN) — The Winston Salem State University Rams and the Broncos of Fayetteville State University both came into the game at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium with something to prove. The Rams wanted to prove their 4-0 start was no fluke while the Broncos wanted to prove they could play with a former Division 1-A team especially after a touch loss to the Vikings last week. The Rams proved to be the team living up to their billing.

WSSU proved to be too fast and athletic on defense and too big and powerful on offense in their easy 31-14 victory over the defending CIAA champion Broncos

It also made the return of fomer FSU offensive coordinator and current Rams head coach Connell Maynor a successful one. With the win, the Rams stay unbeaten at 5-0 (3-0 CIAA) while the Broncos fall to 1-3 (0-1).

“Fayetteville State is the defending champion and they were picked to win it again so we had to come on the road and play them and we came on the road and got it done,” Maynor said following the victory.

“I don’t know if it’s a statement game, but the rest of the CIAA knows that we beat Fayetteville State and they were picked to win.”

The Rams utilized a punishing offensive effort to take their fifth straight victory as the team totaled 397 yards of total offense while holding the defending CIAA champion Broncos to just 217 yards.

The Rams started the game with two quick touchdowns threw the air as Kameron Smith and the offense took the opening possession and drove the ball down the field leading to a 46 yard touchdown pass from Smith to junior wide receiver Dominique Fitzgerald giving the Rams the early 7-0 lead.

WSSU struck again in the first quarter after forcing an FSU punt on the ensuing Bronco drive, the Rams drove the ball 63 yards for their second score of the game with Nic Cooper finding the end zone on a two-yard run and just like that, the Rams had a 14-0 lead with 9:15 left in the first quarter.

The momentum would swing back to the home team, however, as the Broncos mounted an 89-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run of their own to cut the WSSU lead down to seven points, 14-7 with 4:46 left in the first quarter.

After neither team could find the end zone in the second quarter, the Broncos went to the locker room only down seven points even after all the mistakes in the first half including two personal foul calls and a field goal that was blocked by the Rams.

The second half began like the first with the Rams scoring early in the quarter after Fitzgerald threw a 28-yard wide receiver option pass to sophomore wide receiver Patrick Terry to put the Rams ahead by two touchdowns with 13:55 in the third quarter.

The Rams would add to their lead when sophomore kicker Landon Thayer connected on a 27-yard field goal at the 5:28 mark in the third quarter giving the Rams a comfortable 24-7 lead in the game.

After a big interception by the Rams defense Red shirt-junior running back Cedrick Hickman would cap WSSU’s scoring lead when he caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Smith that gave the Rams a commanding lead 31-7.

The Broncos finally got back on the score board as the team’s special teams blocked a WSSU punt to set up a one-play 36-yard touchdown pass that left the Rams leading 31-14 with 4:54 left in the game which turned out to be the final score in the game.

It was the Rams third road win of the season, the fourth time the team has scored over 21 points and the third time their defense has held an opponent to 14 points or less.

The Rams were led on offense by Dominique Fitzgerald who caught four passes for a team-high 81 yards including a receiving touchdown and also passed for a touchdown.

WSSU’s Smith completed 15-of-21 passes for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns and was affective despite throwing his first two interceptions on the season.

The Rams showed their versatility at running back as freshman running back Daryl Thomas rushed for 114 yards on 10 carries which was key after the Broncos game plan defensively was to stop Red shirt-junior running back Nicholas Cooper who rushed for 149 yards and four touchdowns last week.

Cooper did play a part in the Rams power attack grinding out 42 yards on 19 carries with most of the carries in the second half.

The Rams defense was exceptional holding the Broncos to only 7 first downs, 44 yards rushing and only 217 yards of total offense. The Rams also recorded four sacks, one interception and held the Broncos to only 3 of 12 on third down.

It was total domination on both sides of the ball but Bronco head coach Kenny Phillips feels big plays made by the Rams was the difference in the game.”They made the plays and we didn’t,” said Phillips.

“You have to give credit to Winston-Salem State.”

Quarterback Robert Benjamin finished led the Broncos with 173 yards passing with a touchdown, completing 10 of 19 attempts and B.J.Washington had four receptions for 118 yards.

The Rams will look to stay undefeated next week as they travel to Charlotte to face Johnson C. Smith. As for the Broncos, they’ll travel to Raleigh to face the Falcons of Saint Augustine’s College.