Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) welcomed the newest members of the CIAA, Bluefield State University, to the conference with a convincing if not dominant effort on Saturday night.
WSSU took down Bluefield State 30-0 for its second-consecutive win — both of them at home — evening its record to 2-2 on the season.
The WSSU defense was opportunistic from start to finish.
Bluefield State turned the ball over seven times — three fumbles and and four interceptions — and WSSU made it pay with two defensive touchdowns. The first happened at the start of the second quarter when Karion Martin hit Cam Taylor at the WSSU 16 and the ball came loose. WSSU’s Kyle Camar scooped up the ball and found paydirt 84 yards later to give WSSU a 13-0 lead. The second score came on an interception as Dante Bowlding took one back 54 yards to make it a four-score advantage for the home team.
The WSSU offense isn’t quite there yet — but it’s still dangerous
WSSU came into the season looking to do something it hasn’t done in the Robert Massey Era — score points. WSSU has failed to average 18 points per game since Massey took over the program in 2019, and he brought in former North Carolina A&T coordinator Chris Barnett to change that. WSSU has topped the 18 point mark in three of its first four games, including Saturday, but the defense contributed two of those.
Freshman quarterback Daylin Lee didn’t set the world on fire with a 12-for-24 passing performance with one score, but he also didn’t turn the ball over and has shown enough to be considered a solid passing threat as WSSU moves forward. Wide receiver R.J. Mobley had a big day with 5 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, but could have had even more had he held on to a wide-open drop in the first half and kept his footing on a 56-yarder in the second.
The WSSU running game continues to be a work in progress as Asa Barnes ran for 77 yards on 15 rushes and a touchdown, but the rest of the team ran for just 41 yards on 17 rush attempts. Still, there is a much more balanced attack than anything WSSU has put out since its championship year of 2016.
Bluefield State can be a dangerous team once it gets things figured out
Bluefield State opened up a lot of eyes in the season opener when it made easy work of Livingstone. It has lost three consecutive games since then, including back-to-back road contests against improved Johnson C. Smith and WSSU programs. Saturday’s five turnovers are no recipe for success, but BSU did have success moving the ball at times through the air. Six players caught passes from freshman quarterback Jai’que Hart, who was running for his life for most of the game. The run game (2.2 yards per carry) leaves a lot to be desired, but the third-year program plays hard and clean for coach Tony Coaxum and that’s something to be said when personal fouls can often be found at the end of what seems like every whistle in the CIAA.