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Ultimate challenge: Contain WSSU
JCSU pushing perfection against Rams
Published Thursday, October 4, 2012 2:22 am
by Herbert L. White

Johnson C. Smith football coach is preaching perfection for the Golden Bulls’ biggest game of the year.

Johnson C. Smith tailback Dedrick Anderson, who is averaging 100 yards per game, will need a big effort to help the Golden Bulls control the ball.

They’ll need it against CIAA South leader Winston-Salem State Oct. 6 at Memorial Stadium, especially on defense.

“We preach practice and talk about perfect (repetitions),” JCSU coach Steve Aycock said. “What we’ve got to do is create some turnovers and not give up turnovers, play some field position with them.”

JCSU allows an average of 32.6 points through the first half of the season, which offers a partial explanation of their 2-3 record overall. Winston-Salem State (5-0, 2-0), ranked fifth in NCAA Division II, averages 37 points a game while limiting opponents to 18.

“There’s no way you can game plan for them,” Aycock said. “You have to outplay them with a field position-type game as well as create some turnovers against them.”

JCSU’s offense, which averages 30.4 points per game, will have to give the defense a hand by controlling the clock and avoiding turnovers. In a 55-53 loss last week at Lincoln (Pa.), the Golden Bulls outgained the Lions 542 yards to 479 and held the ball for 33 minutes, 33 seconds to 26:27. But five turnovers, including a pair of Keahn Wallace interceptions returned for touchdowns, killed JCSU.

“The concerning thing is his looking back at his mistakes week in and week out and just getting better from it,” Aycock said. “He’s still our guy. I’m not taking the trigger off him at all. I’m sure he’ll get better and we’ve got to keep driving him…in a positive way that he can make plays and he’s our guy.”

The Golden Bulls have shown good offensive balance, averaging 391.6 yards per game, including 133.6 on the ground. Tailback Dedrick Anderson and Wallace are on pace for career seasons, with Anderson rushing for 503 yards and three touchdowns on 103 carries. Wallace (99-of-162 passing) has 1,202 yards and 10 scores. They’ll need big efforts against WSSU.

“We’re  going to do a lot of both, to tell you the truth,” Aycock said. “(WSSU is) a team you can’t hold back on. We won’t be afraid to strike and take that shot downfield when we need to.”

Even with the gaudy offensive numbers, JCSU could stand more red zone success. The Golden Bulls have a 54 percent touchdown rate (13-of-24) when reaching opponents’ 20, but the defense has struggled, allowing 15 touchdowns on 19 possessions (79 percent).

Winston-Salem State has been more efficient, converting 81 percent (13-of-16) red zone opportunities into touchdowns.  The Rams’ defense has limited opponents to six touchdowns in nine opportunities (67 percent).

WSSU is led by senior quarterback Kameron Smith, who has passed for 1,247 yards and 13 touchdowns against five interceptions and sophomore running back Maurice Lewis, who has 430 yards and four scores on 81 carries. On defense, junior linebacker Carlos fields leads the team with 31 tackles and four pass breakups.

“Anyone in the country would have to prepare themselves for a good Winston-Salem State ball club, I don’t care which end of the conference you’re on,” Aycock said. "It’s going to be a good game. They’re an hour up the road, if that and a lot of the guys on their team know the guys on our team.”

• Anderson was named CIAA offensive back of the week after running for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Lincoln. The 5-4 senior averaged 8.1 yards per carry against Lincoln and is on pace to produce JCSU’s first 1,000-yard season since 1991.


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