WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Winston-Salem State used a strong second half defensive effort to halt the Golden Bulls, and the Rams offense scored 30 unanswered points as WSSU cruised to a 44-17 win for Homecoming 2013 at Bowman Gray Stadium.
A near sellout crowd watched the #16 WSSU Rams move their record to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the CIAA Southern Division, while the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls fall to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the CIAA Southern Division.
Winston-Salem State would open the scoring in the first quarter by embarking on one of their longest drives of the year- a 16 play 91 yard drive that would take over eight minutes, and would end with a 13 yard scramble by Rudy Johnson, to give the Rams the early 7-0 lead, with a successful PAT kick by Alejandro Suarez.
Johnson C. Smith would fight back and would cap an eight play, 65 yard drive with a nine yard pass from Keahn Wallace to Chris Patterson, tying the score at 7-7 with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
After the WSSU offense would bog down on consecutive possessions, the Golden Bulls would take their first lead of the afternoon, when Keahn Wallace would find Fred Scott from 19 yards out for a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Two series later, the Rams were able to even the score when Maurice Lewis scampered across the goal line from one yard out to make the score 14-14 heading to the locker room at halftime.
Johnson C. Smith got the ball back after the half, and was able to keep the boisterous Rams' crowd silent, as the marched down the field, but he drive would stall, before Erik Amaya would give the Golden Bulls back the lead with a 33 yard field goal, 17-14.
That turned out to be the last time the Golden Bulls would get close to the endzone, as that sparked the Rams, who would go on to score the next five touchdowns.
It took just three plays after JCSU scored for the Rams to get the lead back, as Rudy Johnson would scramble from 35 yards away to score and give WSSU a 21-17 lead.
WSSU's defense would force a quick three and out, turning the ball back over to the Rams' offense.
Rudy Johnson would lead the Rams down the field methodically, Johnson would cap the drive with a 25 yard scoring strike to tight end, Jerry Chandler to push WSSU's lead to 28-17.
The defensive domination continued for the Rams on the Golden Bulls next possession, as Donnie Owens and John Rizor ended the JCSU series with a nine yard sack of Keahn Wallace on third and short., forcing another JC Smith punt at the end of the third quarter.
The Rams kept their foot on the gas pedal, as they would go on another long scoring drive, of 10 plays covering 67 yards and taking almost five minutes off the clock, as Patrick Mputu would cross the goal line from six yards away to give WSSU a 35-7 advantage.
The WSSU defense continued to thrive, but it was the Rams special teams that stepped up and got the next score. On fourth down, Lakevious Battle broke through and blocked the Golden Bulls punt. The JCSU punter tried to kick the ball out of the endzone, but was called for illegal touching, giving the Rams a safety and increasing their lead to 37-7 with 8:49 left in the game.
With the free kick, Winston-Salem State would take over on their own 35-yard line to start the series. Maurice Lewis would move the ball quickly up the field with a 34 yard run, and Rudy Johnson would hook up with Tehvyn Brantley from 38 yards away to give the Rams the eventual final score of the game at 44-17.
Winston-Salem State racked up 501 yards, the third consecutive game the Rams have put up over 500 yards of offense. The WSSU defense was impressive after stumbling early and rebounded to hold Johnson C. Smith to just 156 yards on the afternoon.
Maurice Lewis led the Rams rushing attack that had their biggest game of the year. Lewis finished with 113 yards, his first 100+ yard game of the season, on 22 carries and one touchdown. Rudy Johnson rushed 17 times for 88 yards and two scores, and Patrick Mputu rushed 10 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Carrothers had one rush for nine yards.
Rudy Johnson had another spectacular day passing the ball, going 19 of 25 for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
Chase Powell led the Receiving corps with seven catches for 51 yards, while Maurice Lewis had three catches (14 yards), Kenneth Patterson two catches (34 yards), and Patrick Mputu two catches (6 yards). Tehvyn Brantley's only catch of the day was a 38 yard touchdown, as was Jerry Chandler's lone catch, a 25 yard scoring reception. Donavan Rasberry (25 yards), Shane Blue (8 yards) and Rashon Williams (7 yards) each had one catch.
Donnie Owens led the Rams defensive efforts, with five tackles, two sacks, two tackles for losses and one pass breakup. Jermaine Kesler had three tackles and a loss, and Daniel Mungin and John Rizor had three tackles each, with Rizor also picking up a half a sack. Eight different Rams defenders had two tackles apiece, with Duvonate Covington picking up a sack and two tackles for losses with a quarterback hurry and Alfy Hill picking up two sack, two tackles for losses and a quarterback hurry. Michael Bloomfield picked up a sack and Casey Davenport picked up a half a sack.
Winston-Salem State travels to Raleigh next week to take on the Falcons of St. Augustine's University at 1:30 p.m. The game will be played at Sanderson High School.