Winston-Salem State coach Kienus Boulware is getting pretty good at challenging his Rams.
They won their fourth straight with a 37-0 victory over Johnson C. Smith Saturday at Charlotte’s Memorial Stadium to remain in first place in the CIAA South, while running the Golden Bulls’ losing streak to four. Winston-Salem State, No. 15 in Division II, was never seriously pushed after the first quarter, racking up 473 yards on offense and controlling the clock (39 minutes, 23 seconds against 22:09 for Johnson C. Smith).
“Trying not to play down to the level of competition we play on that given Saturday, we’ve got to find reasons to motivate these guys to continue to play hard,” Boulware said. “I’m pleased with the outcome.”
The Rams gave Boulware enough reasons to be pleased. After exacting a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Winston-Salem State reeled off a 23-point second quarter that settled matters by halftime. The Rams’ offensive balance was nearly even with 247 yards passing compared to 226 on the ground. Winston-Salem’s two-quarterback rotation of Rudy Johnson (6 of 13, 56 yards, two touchdowns) and Phil Sims (15 of 21, 164 yards and a score) hit big plays when needed. So did the tailback tandem of Maurice Lewis and Mustafa Green, who ran for 98 yards and 91 yards, respectively; each had a score.
“It’s never one of those situations where you play Johnson C. Smith and you expect them to lay down,” Boulware said. “Last year we played them for homecoming and we were tied at halftime. I didn’t expect anything different. I didn’t expect a blowout.”
J.C. Smith (1-5, 0-3), which was shutout for the fourth time this season, mustered just 204 yards on offense. Quarterback Keahn Wallace completed 15-of-26 passes for 157 yards, but was sacked four times and harassed constantly by Winston-Salem State’s rushing attack. The running attack was neutralized as well, gaining just 47 yards on 27 attempts.
“It’s a contagious situation,” Golden Bulls coach Steve Aycock said. “It’s really puzzling. I’ve never experienced this in our offense and the morale of the guys, but you’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve got to go back to what we do best.”
Winston-Salem State broke the game open late in the second quarter, burying any chance of Johnson C. Smith mounting a rally. Will Johnson connected on 48-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead at 5:20, followed by a 7-yard Greene run and a 13-yard strike from Johnson to Eric Williams (six catches, 49 yards and two scores) a second before intermission. It was more than enough to break the Golden Bulls.
“When you lose four straight, it’s hard to fight through that, especially when you have injuries and you’re counting on guys who don’t have a lot of playing hours,” Aycock said.