Winston-Salem State Rolls Over Howard
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Winston-Salem State University jumped out to an early 14-0 first quarter lead and then held Howard University in check the rest of the way en route to a 34-10 win in a non-conference game at Bowman Gray Stadium.
The Rams (1-4), who came into the game having problems on offense, averaging only 11 points per game, scored the game's first two touchdowns during a four-minute span of the first quarter to set the tone. Devven Sutton accounted for both scores, the first on a seven-yard pass from Jarrett Dunston that capped off a 63-yard drive, and the other on a two-yard burst up the middle that gave the maligned Rams' confidence a boost.
"We finally put a complete game together," said a relieved Winston-Salem State head coach Kermit Blount. "Devven Sutton was playing the position (fullback) for only the second week and he did a great job for us tonight. It was important that we got off to a good start. "
The Bison (1-4), who came in the game as one of the top offensive units in the FCS, averaging more than 400 yards per game, had troubles with mistakes and execution early. But they appeared to get something going when Floyd Haigler took his team on a 13-play, 60-yard drive that was culminated on a 4-yard pass to Brandon Sherman.
Winston-Salem State was not fazed and put the pressure on again a little over a minute later when Dunston (11 of 16 for 248 yards, 2 TDs) connected with Bryant Bayne from 45 yards out to extend the lead to 21-7 at the half.
"They dominated us and we made a lot of mistakes early," said Howard Coach Carey Bailey. "We are playing bad on defense. We've struggled in the secondary all year long."
Still, the Bison had opportunities through much of the third quarter until Dunston fooled the Howard defense on a option and raced 41 yards untouched to open up a 28-7 lead at the 6:28 mark.
John Mendoza booted 38-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, but the Rams removed all doubts when DeRon Middleton took a Haigler pass intended for Willie Carter and raced 81 yards to close out the scoring and give his team their first win.
"We have to find some answers," said Coach Bailey. "There were times when we were in position to make good plays, but we didn't."
WSSU rolled up 181 yards on the ground and 248 through the air against the Howard defense while the Bison managed 322 yards of total offense but three interceptions and some untimely penalties were too much to overcome.
Haigler completed 28 of 51 for 225 yards. Willie Carter grabbed a game-high 10 for 69 yards while Sherman caught 8 for 75 and a score.
NEXT UP: The Bison have a week off before hosting Morgan State University for homecoming on October 18. WSSU has a short week; it travels to Tallahassee, FL to take on the Rattlers of Florida A&M University on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. That game will be televised on ESPNU.