WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The #9 ranked Winston-Salem State’s Kameron Smith threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, as the Rams remained unbeaten on the season with a 21-14 win over CIAA rival Shaw University on Saturday.
With the win WSSU moves to 9-0 overall and 7-0 in CIAA play. Shaw falls to 2-7 on the season, 2-4 in the CIAA.
Winston-Salem State finishes the CIAA regular season undefeated in conference play for the first time since 1999.
Celebrating Senior Day and 1000 HORN$ Day, WSSU got on the board early, as the Rams held Shaw on their first possession and forced a that got caught up in the strong winds and ended up just 28 yards away. With the ball on the Shaw 36, it took the Rams only six plays to score the first touchdown of the game as Kameron Smith hit Dominique Fitzgerald from 3 yards out to give WSSU the early 7-0 lead.
Both defense wood dig in and set the tempo for rest of the quarter and half, as the Rams would go four possessions of three and out, as the Bears defense shut the Ram offense down, allowing only seven more yards the rest of the half.
The Shaw Bears would find the endzone late in the second quarter, when Shaw quarterback Quinshon Odom, would orchestrate a 65-yard drive finished off with a one-yard pass to Bobby Holliday to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:06 left in the first half.
Another WSSU three and out would end the first half, with the score tied.
Winston-Salem State would get the ball first for second half, but a miscue on the kickoff return would cost the Rams their possession. WSSU would muff the catch and the Shaw Bears would pounce on the ball.
But a 15 yard personal foul penalty and a sack by WSSU’s Donnie Owens would put the Bears back in a third and long. An incomplete pass and punt would give the ball back to WSSU.
The WSSU Rams would put together its only sustained drive in their first possession of the second half as Kameron Smith would complete a 22-yard pass to Nicholas Cooper and then a 29-yard strike to Jameze Massey for the touchdown to push the lead to 14-7, and the Rams looked to be rolling once again.
Neither team would be able to put anything together for the rest of the third quarter, and the Rams defense would bend but not break, and come up with a big play to stunt a Bear drive when needed, as Donnie Owens would pick up his second sack of the day, and Carlos Fields and Alton Keaton would come up with big stops and batted balls to keep the Rams atop the score.
In the fourth quarter, and still trailing 14-7, the Shaw Bears were driving deep into WSSU territory when Cameron Demps would step up and make another big play for the Rams, and picked off a Shaw Bear pass and return it for 64 yards to the Shaw 18. On the next play, Kameron Smith would scamper 18 yards for the touchdown and give the Rams a commanding 21-7 with 7:54 remaining.
But Shaw was not done, and on the next drive, Quinshon Odom and James Pettway connected on three passes – of eight, 46 and 12 yards – to spur a 73-yard drive that concluded with Pettway catching the 12-yarder in the end zone to cut the WSSU lead to seven, 21-14, with 6:11 remaining.
WSSU would get the ball back but the Shaw defense would hold and force a Ram punt, giving the Bears the ball back with 3:54 left in the game.
But Shaw could not offense could not capitalize, and on fourth down, WSSU’s Malcolm Rowe put a devastating hit on the Bears receiver and dislodge the ball and giving the Rams back the ball with 3:09 remaining.
Kameron Smith would drop back and take off running for an 18 yard gain and pick up a first down on third and seven and the Rams would form the victory formation and down the ball and run out the clock for the win.
The Rams were held to just 124 yards of total offense, while giving up 320 yards.
Offensively, Nicholas Cooper rushed 11 times for 16 yards and caught two passes for 39 yards, while Kameron Smith nine times for 11 yards and a score. Smith also passed for 108 yards on nine of 16 passing with two touchdowns. Jameze Massy, Tyrone Goldston and Juhuann Butler each had a catch with Massey scoring a touchdown, and Dominique Fitzgerald catching three passes for 17 yards and a score.
Defensively, Carlos Fields led the Rams with 10 total tackles, two sacks, two and half tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry. Alton Keaton had seven tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception. Malcolm Row and Khendra Reid each had six tackles and Jonathan Setzer five tackles. Donnie Owens had two sacks.
Winston-Salem State will close out the regular season next Saturday when they travel to Pembroke, North Carolina to take on the UNC-Pembroke Braves at 2:00 PM.