WSSU Lets One Get Away In 25-21 Loss To FAMU

By L..A Batchelor
Updated: September 26, 2006

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When the Winston Salem State Rams look back on their game against Florida A&M, they’ll definitely reflect on the running game success and the domination they showed in the first half. Unfortunately, they’ll also focus on how they seemingly lost focus in the second half and let the game get away.

FAMU quarterback Albert Chester accounted for 247 of the Rattlers’ 336 total yards and WSSU committed a costly turnover in the third quarter leading to an emotional 25-21 win for the Rattlers at Bragg Stadium.

WSSU played three quarters of nearly flawless football en route to an 11-point fourth quarter lead and it looked as though the Rams would earn a win in their first ever meeting with the Rattlers. The Rams came out running the ball with a three-headed attack that gave them an early lead in the game.

After a scoreless first quarter, the tandem of Jonathan Wedlock, Brandon McRae and Tionti Powell silenced the fired-up Rattler crowd. A 12-play, 80-yard drive consuming over five minutes of the second quarter culminated in Monte Purvis’ seven yard score giving WSSU a 7-0 lead with 9:18 left in the half.

The Rams looked to add to their lead after a FAMU fumble. At the end of short five-play, 39-yard drive, McRae scored from a yard to give WSSU a 14-0 lead with 5:13 seconds remaining in the half.

Keyed by an interception, the Rattlers finally got on the board on a 20-yard field goal by Wesley Taylor. FAMU went into the locker room down 14-3 in a dominating performance by the Rams.

WSSU had 14 first downs to the Rattlers 3, an impressive 171 yards on the ground to 54 despite losing the time of possession to the Rattlers 16:43 to 13:17.

The Rams began the second half deep in their own territory and FAMU would capitalize on it. On the ensuing drive, the Rams fumbled the ball which was recovered by FAMU’s Cameron Houston.

Houston stumbled into the end zone from nine yards out for a score to cut the WSSU lead to 14-10 with 13:42 left in the third quarter. With the crowd back in the game, the Rams showed the poise and answered FAMU’s score.

Starting at their own 20, WSSU drove the length of the field to another score which was keyed by a 43-yard connection from Purvis to Brad Herring. It helped set up a one yard scoring run by Purvis and put the Rams back up by 11 at 21-10.

Late in the third quarter, the Rams would lose freshmen defensve lineman Detron Hart to an injury on the field that stop the game with 1:01 seconds left in the quarter.

The injury to the Florida native, who had family and friends looking on, seemed to rattle the team. It also appeared to take the air, emotions and aggressiveness out of the Rams.

The fourth quarter would turn into the Albert Chester show. Trailing 21-10 with just under nine minutes remaining, the versatile quarterback led the Rattlers to a quick score and two-point conversion (on a pass to Willie Hayward) making the score 21-18 with 5:48 remaining.

The Rams got the ball back but seem to abandoned the aggressive ground attack they displayed in the first half and part of the third quarter for a more conservative strategy that proved to be costly in the end.

After a WSSU punt, Mr. Chester went back to work driving the ball down the field on a eight-play, 62-yard drive that ended with Anthony Edwards game-winning run from a yard out.

It gave the Rattlers their first lead of the game 25-21 after the extra point with just 36 seconds left. WSSU would get the ball back and completed one pass down the field but after a Hail Mary pass fell into the end zone unsuccessfully, the Rams suffered a heart-breaking and emotional loss.

The Rams dominated the stat sheet in total yards (367 to 336), rushing (272 to 70) and time of possession (31:27 to 28:33) but in the end, it was just too much Albert Chester.

Tionti Powell became the first Ram to reach the 100-yard mark this season with 114 yards on 13 carries while Brandon McRae had 64 yards on 8 carries and Jonathan Wedlock added 58 yards on 10 carries.

The loss drops the Rams to 1-3 overall while the Rattlers improve to 2-2 overall (1-1 MEAC) with the win. WSSU returns to action on Saturday as they host to the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina at Bowman Gray Stadium. Kickoff is at 6pm.


— Purvis was selected as the WSSU Crown Trophy Student-Athlete of the Week for the week ending September 24, 2006 for his performance over the past seven days. In WSSU’s 25-21 loss to FAMU, Purvis completed six of his 13 pass attempts and rushed for a pair of scores.