Saturday, November 14, 2015

Final Play FG Gives Winston-Salem State Win Over Bowie State and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Title


Will Johnson's 23-yard field goal on the game's final play lifted Winston-Salem State a 17-14 over Bowie State in the hard-fought CIAA Championship game.

WSSU kicker Will Johnson
It caps a CIAA season that started out with the Rams (6-5) losing four of their first five games in a season that looked like it would end nowhere near a berth in the conference title game.

But the Rams turned things around by winning four of their last five games, the only loss being an overtime defeat to Shaw.

Saturday, the Rams took on a Bowie State team that marched through the regular season, but weren't at full strength after an eligibility issue led to the declaration that their quarterback was actually ineligible.

That didn't slow down Bowie State (9-2)  Saturday as quarterback Nyem Washington had a 1-yard TD run and a 64-yard touchdown pass to Kerrick Pollock in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead.

Winston-Salem State got on the board just before halftime on the following drive, going 75 yards in four plays buoyed by two long Rod Tinsley passes to Rashan Williams.  Tyree Massey ran four yards for the TD to cap the drive and pull the Rams to within seven just before halftime.

The second half belonged to a stingy Winston-Salem State defense, which kept Bowie State out of the end zone the rest of the game.  The Bulldogs had their chances, as Washington fumbled the ball away early in the third quarter inside WSSU territory and Christopher Palmer missed a 37-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.  And early in the fourth, the Bulldogs couldn't convert on a fourth and 6, ending their drive at the WSSU 32 yard line.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Rams got the ball on the Bowie State 45 after their defense shut down BSU and forced a 30-yard punt.  Tinsley then hit Reggie Wilkins on a 25-yard pass and followed immediately with a 20-yard TD toss to Wilkins to tie the game at 14-14.

Winston-Salem State got the ball for the final time with 5:35 left in the game with Tinsley moving the Rams downfield, 75 yards in 14 play.  The 15th play was Johnson's game-winning kick as time expired.

Tinsley finished with 175 yards and a TD passing while Massey had 69 yards and a TD rushing. Williams caught five passes for 105 yards.

Washington had 209 yards and a TD passing to lead Bowie State.

The Bulldogs are still in the running for a NCAA Division II playoff berth.  Heading into the game, Bowie State was ranked second in the NCAA Division II Super Region I poll.  Pairings will be announced Sunday.

"This was a tough loss for us today, but hopefully we'll get a chance to see these seniors play more games this year," said Bowie State head coach Damon Wilson.

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