The Rams’ were 41-24 victors over the weekend, their first of the season. It was a white-out game for the Ram fans, and they were energized from start to finish for what turned out to be a quality win.
It was a relatively “easy” win for the team although no game is a cakewalk as the Rams were able to jump out to an early lead, allowing the defense to play aggressively, a style that suits them.
“When we talk to the team we talk about starting fast in all three phases. Having the ability to get the early turnover to set us up and turn that into a touchdown for us, I think helped set the tone early,” Rams head coach Ernie McCook said Monday morning. “And we continued that tone through the game.”
Rams senior cornerback number 6 Dejaun Neal stifled Glenville State’s opening drive after winning the coin toss, intercepting opposing quarterback Jaylen McNair. The interception was the lone forced turnover for the Ram defense for the game. It took the Ram offense just three minutes of possession to find the end zone, with freshman QB number 9 Tyson Bagent connecting with junior wide receiver number14 Greg Leonard on a 10-yard score with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Glenville State’s offense could not seem to find any sort of rhythm the entire game, as they got on the board late in the third quarter thanks to a pick six by cornerback Samuel Thomas. The pick six score came after the Rams had a well-established lead of 27-0 in part due to Bagent’s effort.
Bagent threw his second TD pass of the game to Leonard with four minutes to go in the second quarter, as well as scoring a rushing touchdown with 23 seconds to go before halftime to bring the lead to 21-0. Bagent then came out in the third quarter and tossed a 47-yard TD pass to sophomore wide receiver, number 81 Dylan Brewer.
“Really proud of the offense, they get the ball right before halftime and take it down the field ending with a touchdown. We get the ball in the second half, the opening drive, score another touchdown,” McCook said. “I think that puts the opponent in a hole.”
In total Bagent went 32-41 passing for 378 yards and three touchdowns and an interception with one rushing touchdown.
“Tyson has done a great job for us here as a true freshman. We knew he was a great player coming out of high school. He’s met every expectation,” McCook said. “We think he’s got a lot of room to grow and he’s only going to get better. He’s got a great work ethic, a great demeanor, he plays with poise, and he’s very much a competitor. We are pretty lucky to have Tyson.”
High praise for the freshman quarterback from the head coach after only his second career game. The staff clearly likes what they have seen.
The Rams didn’t wait long to answer the pick six by Thomas, with an 11-play 78-yard drive on their next possession resulting in a 12-yard touchdown run by freshman running back number 27 Zyan Sturdivant to put the lead at 34-7 with 2 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Pioneers were in the midst of a blowout and seemed to play a more conservative game in the third quarter up until a 75-yard touchdown pass between McNair and wide receiver Javon Butler on the first play of their drive. The Rams final score on the day came on the very next possession with redshirt freshman running back number 1 Ty Hebron capping off a nine play 57-yard drive at the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter.
For the remainder of the fourth quarter the Rams packed things in on both sides of the ball with the game already decided. The Pioneers were trying to score to make the final score more respectable and added 10 points late with McNair’s second touchdown pass of the game going to receiver Tre Crutcher with a little over 6 minutes left. The final score from the Pioneers came from the leg of kicker Justin Watts on a 34-yard attempt at the 3:34 minute mark with the game finishing up at 41-24.
Senior wide receiver number 3 Ryan Feiss recorded his 12th career 100-yard receiving effort with his nine catch, 113-yard effort Saturday. Running back Sturdivant also added a game high 86 yards on the ground with the Rams offense in full swing from start to finish. Sophomore linebacker number 10 Chrys Lane led the team in tackles with six, with Dejuan Neal adding five tackles to go along with an interception.
The Rams will be on the road for their next game taking on West Virginia State Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. as they look to improve their record to 2-1 on the season.
Vaughn is the sports editor for the picket. he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org