Braves Fall Just Short At No. 9 Winston-Salem State
WINSTON-SALEM – Visiting UNCP amassed nearly 400 yards of total offense, but ninth-ranked Winston-Salem State tallied a pair of momentum-changing interceptions and stopped a potential game-winning drive to hold off the Braves, 28-23, on Saturday evening at Bowman Gray Stadium.
Junior Te'vell Williams hauled in eight catches for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace the Braves (0-1) who also got 94 rushing yards (17 carries) and a third quarter score from Damonte Terry. Luke Charles threw for 281 yards on 32-of-46 passing with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions for the Black & Gold as well.
Maurice Lewis rushed for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 carries for Winston-Salem State (1-0) who improved to 3-0 all-time against UNC Pembroke. Jamal Williams caught five passes for 103 yards, while Kameron Smith completed 15 of his 22 pass attempts for 190 yards and a second quarter scoring toss.
UNCP was led on defense by redshirt sophomore Dan Atkins who turned in a game-best 10 tackles (five solo).
"We just made too many mistakes tonight and it cost us the win," said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. "We needed to play much better than we did against a team of this caliber. We have to come back on Monday ready to fix our problems."
The Rams took a 7-0 lead to the second quarter after an 8-yard scoring plunge by Lewis, but UNCP tied the game back up midway through the second period when Williams hauled in a 10-yard scoring strike from Charles. Smith's 21-yard scoring strike to Tehvyn Brantley just more than four minutes later gave the lead back to the hosts, but a 43-yard field goal by Connor Haskins as time expired in the opening half helped the visitors cut into their deficit.
Bryce Sherman returned the opening kickoff of the second half 77 yards to set the Rams up for another touchdown that padded the advantage out to 21-10, but the Braves answered three possessions later when Terry capped off a 9-play, 56-yard scoring drive with a 7-yard scoring jaunt.
Lewis gave the hosts a comfortable 28-16 lead with a 4-yard touchdown run with 4:06 left to play, but the Braves quickly answered as Charles engineered a 6-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was culminated with his 28-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
The Braves forced Winston-Salem to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession and obtained possession of the football at their own 24-yard line with 66 seconds left, but were only able to drive to the WSSU 39-yard line before Charles's potential game-winning toss to Williams fell incomplete.
UNCP had a chance to add more points to its tally earlier in the final period, but Larry Hearne intercepted Charles at the goal line to negate a 5-play, 66-yard drive for the visitors.
The Braves will be in action again on Saturday when they suit up to play host to Fayetteville State (0-1) in the fourth annual Two Rivers Classic at Grace P. Johnson Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. The Broncos dropped a 54-31 decision at North Carolina Central on Saturday.