WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Winston-Salem State University Rams got a big game from the rushing attack of Te’Vaughn Hurse, and quarterback AJ Nocciolo passed for two scores as the Rams upset previously unbeaten Virginia State University, 35-14, Saturday evening at Bowman Gray Stadium.
With the victory, Winston-Salem State moves to 2-2 on the season, while the Trojans of Virginia State fall to 3-1 on the season.
The WSSU Rams started quick, taking the opening kickoff and driving 70 yards in five plays, before scoring. Kerrion Moore capped the opening drive with a 28 yard touchdown reception from AJ Nocciolo, and with the point after by Will Johnson, opened up 7-0 lead.
After exchanging punts, the Rams used almost 4:30 minutes on their drive, going 60 yards in nine plays, and capping it off with a one yard touchdown run from AJ Nocciolo, to give the Rams a 14-0 advantage.
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Early in the second quarter, the WSSU Rams took advantage of a short field, and on the second play of the drive, Te’Vaughn burst through the Trojan defense and raced 45 yards to the endzone, to put the Rams up 21-0.
But the Trojans were not ready to fold, and working with a short field of their own after a WSSU punt from the endzone, Virginia State was able to go 21 yards in two plays, and Josh Harris pounded on a fumble into the endzone, to give VSU their first score, at 21-7 heading into the locker room at the half.
Coming out in the second half, Virginia State looked to get back into the game, and put together a seven play, 72 yard drive, that they would finish off with a Trenton Cannon 12 yard run, to cut the Rams lead to 21-14.
Late in the third quarter and pinned deep in their own territory, the Rams came out swinging, and AJ Nocciolo would find a streaking Will Walton down the right side, and Walton caught the ball and raced 94 yards yards for a touchdown to open the Rams lead back out to 28-14.
The fourth quarter proved to be even as neither team would be able to put a drive together, when on fourth down, Darius Hall would sack the Trojans, Tarian Ayres, and Sione Umufuke would scoop up the loose ball and returned it 23 yards for a score, to give WSSU a 35-14 lead.
Virginia State would have one more opportunity to move the ball down the field, but turned it over on downs, giving the Rams back the ball with just over a minute left to play.
AJ Nocciolo and the Rams offense would kneel on the ball twice, running out the clock, and giving the WSSU Rams a 35-14 win.
Te’Vaughn Hurse led the rushing attack finished the night with 22 rushes for 187 yards and one score, while Xavier Quick finished with 10 carries for seven yards and Kerrion Moore finished with six carries for five yards.
AJ Nocciolo finished the game going seven of 14 for 158 yards and two touchdowns, including a 94 yard pitch and catch for a score.
Will Walton had a breakout game for WSSU as wide receiver, finishing the night with three catches for 108 yards and one touchdown, including a 94 yard touchdown catch. Kerrion Moore had two catches for 32 yards and one touchdown, while Anthony Rook (10 yards) and Canard Brown (8 yards), each finished the game with one catch.
The Rams were led defensively by James Bernard who finished with a team high nine tackles, one tackle for a loss and one pass breakup. Cameron Sullivan and Josh Martin each finished with seven tackles, while Sullivan also had a pass breakup. Jack Nimmons and Jayron Rankin each had five tackles with Nimmons also picking up two tackles for losses and Rankin finishing with one tackle for a loss. Jaitavius Jackson finished with four tackles, and five other Rams finished with three tackles each. Darius Hall had two sacks and a fumble recovery, and Sione Umufuke finished with a 23 yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
Winston-Salem State will hit the road next week, as the Rams travel to Lincoln, PA to take on the Lions of Lincoln University. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00pm.
Courtesy: WSSU Athletics