The last time the Rams visited Buckhannon, W.Va. to take on West Virginia Wesleyan in 2011, Shepherd suffered a devastating overtime defeat by a score of 45-44. So when the Rams traveled back to down in the heart of West Virginia, they had revenge on their minds. The Rams delivered just that in a blowout victory over the Bobcats by a final score of 45-10.
Quarterback Trae Tinsman of Winchester, Va. had one of his finest performances in his fleeting young career as a starter this past Saturday. He connected on 11 of 15 passes for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory. Tinsman teamed with senior West Potomac graduate Robert Byrd on a 24-yard scoring strike with 58 seconds left in the first half. In the third quarter, Tinsman teamed with Elkridge native Allen Cross on a 55-yard scoring play.
Tinsman was not the only offensive player to have a big day as running back Allen Cross of Long Reach High School once again showed how dominant of a runner he can be. Cross picked up two touchdowns on the day and added a solid 82 yards on the ground. The offense was clicking on all cylinders against the Bobcats as the Rams had 449 yards of total offense with six touchdowns and only one turnover. This game is proof that the turnover battle is a barometer in which a team’s success can be measured.
While the offense was having a spectacular afternoon, the defense was once again putting together another dominant, signature performance. Defensive coordinator Josh Kline’s defense held West Virginia Wesleyan to just 148 yards of total offense while forcing three turnovers. The Bobcats had no answer when it came to the running game as they had a total of negative 14 yards of rushing for the duration of the contest.
Junior outside linebacker De’Ontre Johnson of Dr. Henry A. Wise High School led the Rams with five tackles, four of which came by the solo variety. The Rams got a huge boost early on the defensive side of the football when sophomore cornerback Phillip Rhoden picked off a pass in the first quarter. The interception was Rhoden’s second in as many weeks.
The Rams kept the pressure on the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats all afternoon as the defense got to the quarterback on five separate occasions. Senior defensive end Howard Jones of Freedom High School and senior defensive tackle Robert Hayes of Park View High School each had two sacks on the day while freshman linebacker Octavious Thomas of Myrtle Beach, S.C. recorded his first career sack and the fifth and final one on the day for Shepherd.
With the huge victory, the Rams improved their record to 4-0 overall with a Mountain East Conference record of 3-0. The Rams next game will be at Rams Stadium, as they will be taking on the University of Charleston on Oct. 5. This will be a very special game as it is homecoming weekend for Shepherd University. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. and you can listen to the game live on Shepherd University radio channel WSHC 89.7 FM.