WINSTON-SALEM — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team rallied all the way back from a 16-point deficit to take the lead with 1:51 left to play, but Winston-Salem State used a miraculous 63-yard pass from Rod Tinsley to Kerrion Moore to fuel a 23-20 comeback win over the Braves on Sunday at Bowman Gray Stadium.
True freshman Josh Jones threw for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 21-of-32 passing in his collegiate debut to pace the Braves (0-1) who has now dropped two straight games in the series with their in-state nemesis — both by a combined six points. Tyshawn Carter recorded three catches for 79 yards and Quay Threatt snatched five receptions for 45 yards, and both hauled in touchdown passes for UNCP as well.
Tinsley finished with 130 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-9 passing for the Rams, while Moore combined for 127 yards of total offense, including 63 yards and a pair of scores on 16 carries.
The Rams tacked up a safety thanks to a bad snap on a punt attempt by the Braves deep in their own end zone early in the third quarter, and then put together a 5-play, 55-yard scoring drive early in the fourth that was capped by a 27-yard scoring jaunt from Moore down the far sideline. The ensuing point-after attempt would be the last play before a lightning strike cleared the stadium and signaled a delay in action with the Rams in control 16-0.
The delay provided a spark for the Braves, who came out of the break and scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions, including a 9-play, 80-yard drive coming out of the locker room. Carter’s acrobatic touchdown catch with just less than two minutes left put UNCP up on top for the first time, 20-16.
Winston-Salem State used its opening possession to score the only points of the half for either side. The drive looked to have stalled on the home half of the field, but the Rams converted a 3rd-and-11 situation with a 51-yard pass from Tinsley to Quincy Jackson. Moore rumbled in from seven yards out on the ensuing play to break the deadlock on the scoreboard.
The Braves return to action on Saturday when they suit up to host Elizabeth City State (1-0) on Military Appreciation Night at Grace P. Johnson Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.