WSSU Rams seek remedies after setback at home

WSSU Rams seek remedies after setback at home
October 08
00:00 2015



In the aftermath of Winston-Salem State’s stomach-turning setback to Chowan, Coach Kienus Boulware pointed fingers at himself. The Rams overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter and almost pulled off a miraculous comeback win on last Saturday.

Almost wasn’t enough.

Down by a field goal, WSSU came up empty on its final offensive possession of the game. Kicking into the face of swirling wind, William Johnson’s potential game-tieing 42-yard field goal try fell short of the mark and the Rams had to swallow a 27-24 loss in their home opener.

So, where does Winston-Salem State (1-4, 1-1 CIAA) go from here?

“Well, I’m not going to quit,” said Boulware. “I accepted this job for a reason. I’m up for the challenge, and it’s become a little difficult. It’s hard to keep looking at the youth of the team. Mistakes continue to haunt us, and eventually, it’s all going to come down to coaching.”

The Rams exploded out of the starting blocks when freshman Daveon Perry returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for the game’s first score. By the end of the first half, though, Chowan went up 20-10 on two Nick Hahula field goals and two short TD runs by Tyree Lee, who suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return. Lee finished with 120 yards on 27 carries.

With about six minutes left in the third, Chowan appeared to have the game under wraps. Randall Dixon hit Damian Ellis on a three-yard touchdown pass and the Hawks had a commanding 27-10 lead.

At that point, the Rams came alive. Rod Tinsley connected with Marcel Caver on a 66-yard touchdown pass. The next score was set up by WSSU safetyman Kailan Chavis’ 43-yard interception return of Dixon’s pass. Two plays later, Bronson Greene scored on a five-yard run to make it a three-point game.

WSSU gave itself a genuine shot to pull this one out with 2:23 left to play in the contest. The Rams marched 56 yards in eight plays, but failed to score. In all, it was a day of struggle and frustration for a program that had won 29 straight CIAA regular-season games dating back to Halloween of 2010.

The stat sheet doesn’t always tell the whole story about how well a team performs. In this case, the numbers from last Saturday’s game reveal how ineffective the Rams were at times.

For starters, the ground attack was null and void. WSSU was held to a minus-2 yards rushing for the game.

As a result, the Rams were forced to be one-dimensional and more predictable. Rashad Cooper and Rod Tinsley split time at quarterback. The two combined for 225 passing yards with three interceptions.

Defensively, WSSU allowed 373 total offensive yards. Chowan controlled the game’s tempo by controlling the clock. The Hawks established a decisive edge in time of possession – 36:09 to the Rams 23:51.

“We had another change at quarterback this week,” said Boulware. “We’re struggling there and we’re struggling to move the football. Aside from that, we struggled to tackle (running back) Tyree Lee. Had he not gotten hurt, who knows what kind of game this would have ended up being. We just have to keep working to get better.”

In retrospect, the Rams lost because they could not generate enough offense at crucial times. WSSU’s resilient, but over-worked defense ended up playing too many snaps. Fatigue prevents even the best of defensive units from playing up to their full capability.

As the Rams head toward the season’s mid-point, they are searching for answers.

“Right now in my post-game frame of mind, I don’t believe there are too many bright spots to find from this game,” said Boulware. “I’m sure that when I take a look at the game tape, I’ll see a guy or two, here and there, who stood out.”



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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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