Sept. 25, 2010
By ALEX PODLOGAR
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - Kameron Smith and Dominique Fitzgerald made just enough plays for the Winston-Salem State Rams to down the Fayetteville State Broncos 31-14 on Saturday night.
Smith, the Rams quarterback, threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns while Fitzgerald, one of the team's leading receivers coming into the game, caught a touchdown pass and threw another as the Rams used three trick plays to trip the Broncos in Connell Maynor's return to FSU.
"They made the plays and we didn't," said Broncos coach Kenny Phillips. "You have to give credit to Winston-Salem State."
It didn't take long for the Rams, who returned this season to the Division II CIAA after four years in the Football Championship Subdivision, to get on the scoreboard. After a roughing the kicker penalty kept its opening series alive, Winston-Salem State took its first lead when Smith hooked up with Fitzgerald for a 46-yard touchdown pass play just 2 minutes to the game.
The Rams (5-0, 3-0) scored again only 4 minutes later after running back Nicholas Cooper scored from 2 yards out to cap a 5-play, 63-yard drive as Winston-Salem built a 14-0 lead in the game's first 6 minutes.
Fayetteville State's defense stiffened for the rest of the first half, though, and gave the Broncos (1-3, 0-1) a chance to get back into the game. Simeon Marshall (Fr., Jacksonville, NC) and John Hicks (Sr., Wilmington, NC) picked off Smith twice as the defense was able to bottle up the Rams and provide the offense with short-field opportunities.
Fayetteville State, however, couldn't take advantage of those chances, and despite getting back into the game when Richard Medlin capped an 89-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7 with 4:46 to go in the first quarter, Winston-Salem State went into the half still holding the lead.
The Rams quickly got going in the second half, using an interception off a tipped pass from Robert Benjamin
(Jr., Phoenix, AZ) to start on the Broncos' 29. On the first play of the series, Fitzgerald got a chance to show off his arm, taking the pitch and rolling right before firing a scoring toss to Patrick Terry in the corner of the end zone to give the Rams a 21-7 lead just 65 seconds into the third quarter.
"We knew that play was coming, and we had it defended pretty well," Phillips said. "We had run that play when Coach Maynor was here, so we knew we would see it. They just made a great play."
The Rams built on the lead later in the period when Landen Thayer connected on a 27-yard field goal with 5:28 to go in the quarter, handing Winston-Salem State a 24-7 lead.
Smith added another touchdown after Darryl Thomas Jr. kept a drive a live by rushing 54 yards up the middle on third-and-1. Then, after a pass interference penalty on the Broncos in the end zone on third down, Smith hooked up with Cedric Hickman for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 13:13 remaining in the game to make it 31-7.
Fayetteville State got back on the board after blocking their third punt in two games. The Broncos took over on the Rams' 36, setting up a beauty of a throw from Benjamin to B.J. Washington (Sr., Baltimore, MD) for a touchdown to make the score 31-14 with 4:54 left in the game.
But there wasn't enough time for the Broncos to make a stirring comeback, and Winston-Salem State managed to run out the clock to preserve the victory. Maynor, who has won his first five games as a head coach, served on Phillips' coaching staff at FSU for 10 years, helping the Broncos win the CIAA three times.
Benjamin finished with 173 yards passing with a touchdown, completing 10 of 19 attempts. Washington had four receptions for 118 yards.
Thomas led the Rams in rushing with 114 yards on 10 carries while Nicholas Cooper added 42 yards on 19 rushes. Fitzgerald had four catches for 81 yards while Terry had three receptions for 69 yards.