WSSU, Maynor are still perfect

By L.A. Batchelor, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 19, 2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (BASN) — The Hawks of Chowan University knew they have a tough task in trying to beat the undefeated Rams of Winston Salem State University on the road. Not only were the Rams going to be tough to beat on the field but because the emotions and events taking place off the field. The task turned out to be too much for them to handle. Nicholas Cooper ran for over 100 yards and three touchdowns and the WSSU defense completely shut down Chowan (0-3, 0-1 CIAA) in a decisive 48-7 victory over the winless Hawks on a day honoring former Ram greats in their home opener at Bowman Gray Stadium. The Rams (4-0, 1-0 CIAA) honored this year’s C.E. “Big House” Gaines Hall of Fame induction class in a match up that marked the opening of the CIAA conference schedule for both. The first quarter went according to the script for the Rams as they dominated offensively in taking an early lead. The hometown squad took the ball four plays for 65 yards finishing with a 35-yard TD pass from Kameron Smith to Tehvyn Brantley giving the Rams an early 7-0 lead. After one of many three and out series for the Hawks, the Rams added to their lead with another short drive of five plays for 28 yards concluding with a nine-yard TD run by Cooper and after the extra point, the Rams were sitting comfortably with a 14-0 lead after one quarter despite losing the time of possession battle to the Hawks. The Rams two scoring drives were only 1:06 and 2:09 respectively. WSSU’s defense was stellar in the first quarter, forcing a fumble, recording two sacks and holding the Hawks to only one first down. The second quarter began like the first with the Rams scoring early this time on a drive that was a little longer but ending in the same results as the Hawks had no answer to the Rams good mix of run and pass on offense. WSSU used the ground game and the play action pass to execute a seven play, 69-yard drive finishing with Nicholas Cooper scoring his second touch down, this time from one yard out and giving the Rams a commanding 21-0 lead over the winless Hawks. The final touchdown for Cooper, the star for the Rams in the first half came like lighting in a bottle on one play. He took the ball in the backfield and scampered 52 yards down the field to pay dirt and gave the Rams a 28-0 lead with just over eight minutes to play in the first half. It was Cooper’s third and final touchdown of the first half. Chowan finally got in the end zone when Elliot Smalls was big enough to squeeze thru a hole in the Rams defense and took it to the house 33 yards for a touchdown and cut the Rams lead to 28-7 with 3:53 left in the half. The Hawks and the few faithful celebrated on their side of the field after the score. Little did they know it would be the only points they would score in the game. The Rams offense, not to be out done got the ball one last time before the half and once again pushed the Hawks defense around down the field for another score. In their most impressive drive of the game, the Rams took the ball on a seven-play, 80-yard drive using only 1:27 and scoring when Smith hit Cedric Hickman in the end zone to give the Rams a whopping 34-7 lead with 14 seconds left in the half. The only mistake WSSU made on the drive was the missed extra point by Landon Thayer. The Rams dominated the first half on both sides of the ball. Smith was 10-17 for 112 yards and two touchdowns and Cooper rushed the ball for 75 yards on 10 carries, averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored two touch downs. Tehvyn Brantley and Cedric Hickman both scored touchdowns and even place kicker/punter Landon Thayer did well, converting on 4 of 5 extra points and punted the ball twice for a 40 yard average. Defensively, the Rams held the Hawks to only 81 yards, sacked Hawk quarterback Ryan Simpson four times, forced a fumble and held Chowan to 2 of 9 on third down possessions. It was total domination and the scoreboard reflected it. In the third quarter, the Rams were determined not to have a let down on either side of the ball like previous games and they certainly didn’t. WSSU used a quick hit touchdown from their offensive star Nicholas Cooper and nice run by back up running back Darryl Thomas Jr to add to their huge lead. Cooper used one play from the line of scrimmage on the Rams first drive of the third quarter to fly down the field 74 yards for his fourth and final touchdown of the game giving the Rams a laughable 41-7 lead with just over 12 minutes to play. After two more possessions that resulted in two more punts for the Hawks, the Rams capped off their final scoring drive of the game with a run in between the tackles by Darryl Thomas Jr 38 yards for a touchdown making the final score 48-7. With his fourth score in the books, Cooper would be finished for the day as he tallied 149 yards on 11 carries with a career-high four touchdowns. Cooper would close the day with more rushing yards (149) than the Hawks would tally in total offense (146). “That is the Nic Cooper that we have all been waiting to see. He really broke some tackles and made some long runs tonight” WSSU head coach Connell Maynor said. “That’s the Nic Cooper we hope to see the rest of the year.” The Rams defensive was solid all game long against Chowan. In addition to holding the Hawks to only 146 yards of total offense, the Rams defense held the Hawks to only eight first downs, held them to only 2.6 yards per offensive play and sacked Chowan quarterbacks six times.

It was a defensive performance similar to their stellar performance and their first game against Virginia Union when they won that game 47-13. Next week, WSSU faces a touch challenge on the road as they travel to Fayetteville, N.C. to face the two-time defending CIAA champion Broncos. FSU will be look to bounce back from a road loss in Rocky Mount, NC against the Vikings of Elizabeth City State 38-26. Kickoff is set 6 p.m. ET.