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Rams’ season ends in blowout

North Greenville QB Willy Korn (15), who transferred to the Crusaders a year ago after leaving Clemson, hung 63 points on the Rams on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs en route to a 63-14 win. (Reginald Christian/Albany State University)

North Greenville QB Willy Korn (15), who transferred to the Crusaders a year ago after leaving Clemson, hung 63 points on the Rams on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs en route to a 63-14 win. (Reginald Christian/Albany State University)

TIGERVILLE, S.C. — This time it really is over.

The Albany State Rams traveled 330 miles to Tigerville, S.C., on Saturday to face North Greenville in the opening round of the Division II playoffs and came back with their biggest loss in postseason history.

Behind star quarterback Willy Korn, the No. 3 seed Crusaders (10-2) crushed the No. 6 seed Rams (8-4), 63-14.

As surprising as it was for the Rams to make the playoffs for the eighth straight season after losing their conference championship game to Miles last Saturday, it was even more stunning the way their season ended at Younts Stadium.

“Very, very surprised,” ASU senior safety Rashad McRae said. “I thought this would be a close ball game. … I (certainly) didn’t expect it to be by this margin.”

Who could have expected this?

After the 49-point blowout, which was the worst loss for Mike White in his 12 years as coach of the Rams and the third-worst loss in school history, ASU was still looking for answers about what went wrong.

“I really thought we were ready to play and make a better game of it than that,” White said. “A lot of that falls right on my shoulders. With what we experienced last week, we really felt rejuvenated. Monday, we had a good meeting and had a good practice Tuesday. I just thought we would show up a lot better than that.”

Instead, the Crusaders, who now advance to play No. 2 seed Mars Hill (N.C.) in the second round of the D-II playoffs, crushed the Rams nearly every way possible. They outgained the Rams on offense (453-309), they won the turnover battle (4-0), they converted 8-of-12 third downs and they ran both a punt and kickoff back for touchdowns.

“Special teams, turnovers, missed tackles. We were all over it (Saturday),” White said. “I would be lost for words to find what we did right (Saturday). We didn’t play well.”

The Rams came into the game looking to prove they belonged among the other 23 Division II playoff teams, but instead they proved just how much of a toll 12 games in 12 weeks — with no bye — can take on a team.

ASU battled injuries and unexpected personnel losses all season, but with running backs Adrian Alexander and Luther Edwards missing the game due to a last-minute illness and injury, respectively, it seemed as if the Rams’ lack of depth finally caught up with them.

As soon as the teams stepped on the field, ASU looked overmatched. The Rams forced a punt on North Greenfield’s first possession — the only time the Crusaders punted in the entire first half — but ASU failed to capitalize when Stanley Jennings threw an interception on his first pass.

It was a near-perfect throw to receiver Mark Bell, who let the pass deflect off his hands and right to Isaiah Johnson, setting up the game’s opening touchdown — an Idris Anderson 9-yard run with 6:10 left in the first quarter.

It also set the tone for the game.

“Our goal was to not let them go up on us, because we knew they had a high-powered offense,” Jennings said. “And on our side of the ball, we were trying to control the time and run the ball. And they did a good job stopping the run.”

It took the Crusaders, who reached the playoffs the first year the independent D-II school was eligible, nearly eight minutes to score again, but once Teryan Rucker bounded in for a 15-yard rushing TD the landslide really started coming down on the Rams.

In the final nine minutes of the half, North Greenville scored four touchdowns — a 10-yard TD pass from Korn to Sean Wright, a 62-yard punt return by Johnson, a 22-yard run by Marcus Wilson and a 75-yard kick return by Cedric Proctor.

ASU’s only first-half points came from a Jennings 1-yard touchdown.

“One thing we knew this season is we couldn’t allow teams to jump on us quick,” White said. “They jumped right out on us, on top of us. We got behind, and it snowballed from there.”

North Greenville coach Jamey Chadwell said all of those early special teams and defensive plays demoralized the Rams, who were making mistakes all over the field.

“Isaiah comes out and gets a pick right away and sets the tone. The defense set the tone from the get-go,” Chadwell said. “To get that many turnovers and to score twice on special teams I think really took their will.”

Jennings, who threw for 224 yards on 12-for-25, tossed three interceptions, the short-handed Rams backfield ran for negative 11 yards and there were missed tackles and dropped passes from start to finish.

And the Rams couldn’t figure out how to defend Korn, who started his career at Clemson before transferring to Marshall and then North Greenville, and his spread option offense.

Korn threw for 144 yards and two TDs, completed passes to six different receivers and ran for 25 yards. Korn has been the difference-maker all season for the Crusaders, who had a 148-unaswered points streak broken when ASU scored its first touchdown.

“Your defense and your alignment is pretty much out of whack (playing against Korn),” McRae said. “It’s just the little things that happened (Saturday) on the special teams that got us in this situation.”

Korn said his team’s focus is now squarely on Mars Hill, which was the only Division II team to beat North Greenville this season.

“We have to enjoy this victory for a couple of hours and then get ready for the next one,” said Korn, who turned the ball over three times in North Greenville’s regular-season loss to Mars Hill.

The Crusaders scored two more times in the third quarter on a 7-yard pass from Korn to Freddie Martino Jr., and a 30-yard interception return by Jereme Green.

In the fourth quarter, both teams stuck in their backup quarterbacks — ASU’s Blaize Schaeffer and North Greenville’s Aaron Seigler — and each led their team to a touchdown. Schaeffer threw a 1-yard TD pass to Darius Nelson, and Seigler ran for a 33-yard TD.

It was a demoralizing way to end the season for the Rams, who began the year with high expectations and were ranked as high No. 6 in the nation after the second game of the season.

White said both final losses — last week’s last-second defeat against Miles and Saturday’s setback against North Greenville — were tough to swallow.

“Both of them sting,” he said. “Our first goal was to win the conference, and our next goal was to get in the playoffs. We were so happy coming to Tigerville to play, but we just didn’t show up (Saturday). I take the blame for that one, but we will be back. We will be back.”

NOTES: Saturday's defeat was the Rams' third-worst lost in program history. The worst was a 66-7 loss to South Carolina State in 1965, while the second-worst loss was to Tuskegee, 56-6, in 1991.

Comments

whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

I guess now ASU knows who the North Greenville Crusaders are. WOW!

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

I knew when I saw the Greenville coach's picture in the paper, I knew that ASU was toast.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

North Greenville's first time ever post season game. Did pretty good, huh? Christ Makes The Difference at North Greenville and it sure seems He did in this contest.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

RB should have shown some pride and cut his hair like I said last week.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

"Many questioned the NCAA Division II selection committee's decision to include the Rams through an "earned access" bid over other schools with similar records in far tougher conferences."

Yes and those many questions are confirmed as a pretty bad choice at this time in retrospective.

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Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

So. Every year can't be a stellar year. Good job Rams. Take a rest and build up for next year.

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

ASU never does good in the playoffs. They have won 3 playoff games in their whole playoff history.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Funny how ASU always has an excuse everytime they lose. One time they lost because it was raining, another time because of biased officiating and now the announcers on radio blame it on a 12 game schedule. Maybe next year they can play 1 game and be rested up for the playoffs. Pathetic! For once man up and just admit you got you butts kicked and quit making excuses. They didn't deserve to be there in the first place and this game proves it. The headline the other day read "Not Done Yet" Well they are done now, well done in fact. stick a fork in them, they are done. 63-14...Wait a minute, was this Rams football, or Rams basketball?

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the Herald's writeup on this game is just hateful.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Coach White on another great season. You made the playoffs again and you keep the streak alive. Thanks for many years of successfull football at ASU. ASU is still the best place to be!!! I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT!!!

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

I'd rather not make the playoffs than put up a pathetic performance like that. If I was a Rams fan, I would put a paper bag over my head. Streak alive? Not much of a streak to brag about if you lose all the time. If the Rams hadn't of bribed them, they wouldn't had made the playoffs this year. They didn't deserve to be there and this embarrassing loss proves it.

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bubbavet 2 years, 5 months ago

YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND. HE IS TYPICAL OF THE IDIOTS IN THIS AREA. IF THEY LOST 500 TO 0. HE WOULD STILL SAY THE SAME THING.

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The_Dude 2 years, 5 months ago

North Greenville obviously cheated by getting that Korn boy from Clemson. Teams with Division I transfers should have to spot the opposing team 14 points each game to make it closer. They probably had a couple more transfers, so ASU should have been winning 42-0 before the game started. Dang, the Rams still would have lost. Nevermind.

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

Go on with that bs excuse! Every D2 school has Division 1 transfers on it including ASU. ASU got embarrassed by a better team and that is it! This is your lesson of the day young man.

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The_Dude 2 years, 5 months ago

Are you stupid or something? It was a joke.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

coachjohnson42 LOVES getting his ASS KICKED!!?? He's a pretty strange dude but we all knew that from what he's written here. Have a great year coach!

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

But are they HBCU National Champs again? I though maybe so...??!! Last year was a sudden surprise right? I mean, I was surprised so maybe it's true again this year for some reason? Herald, please keep us updated. Thanks!

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

They are not winning the HBCU Championship. You got to have the best record in Black College Football and ASU does not have the best record.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

"Smashed"? Come on, Herald Staff Reports...couldn't you think of a word that was just a bit more gentle, more pallatable? How about "Edged" or "Bumped" or maybe even "Outscored". That would have made the game seem a lot more even and easier to take, especially if the Rams didn't belong there to start with. You shouldn't hurt their feelings like that.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

"Blowout" that's easier to take. Thanks.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

Paper Bag with slumping horns..........that would be about right.

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cspecial222 2 years, 5 months ago

DON'T WORRY ABOUT THESE IDIOT HATERS WHO ARE PROBABLY RACIST WHO COULDN'T MAKE IT AS AN ATHLETE AND WAS PROBABLY UPSET BECAUSE VALDOSTA STATE DIDN'T MAKE IT. WELL I'M PROUD OF THE RAMS FOR HAVING A WINNING SEASON AND MAKING THE PLAYOFFS.IT GIVES THEM SOMETHING TO SHOT AT NEXT SEASON.WE HAVE TO GO OUT AND CORRECT AGE OLD PROBLEMS SUCH AS FINDING LINEMEN WHO CAN PLAY., FIND A KICKER WHO CAN MAKE THE BASIC, FUNDAMENTAL KICKS, LACK OF A KICKER HAS HURT EVER SINCE I CAN REMEMBER.COACHES, AFTER YOUR HOLIDAYS ARE OVER, GET OUT THERE AND BRING IN SOME OF THESE TOP- NOTCH PLAYERS.THERE'S PLENTY IN OUR SURROUNDING AREAS SUCH AS MILLER, SEMINOLE,COOK,CALHOUN,BROOKS, AS WELL AS OTHERS.COACHES HAVE TO BEAT THE BUSHES AND STOP THE FAVORITISM RECRUITING.I LOOK FOR US TO BE BACK NEXT YEAR AS SIAC CHAMPS AS WELL AS NATIONAL CHAMPS. GO RAMS!

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

Did you meant Black College Champions??? ASU has never won a National Championship.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

You're right coach, dominiquedamac nailed it right on the head. ASU has never won a championship. Surprised you would agree to something, but at least you are agreeing to the truth.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Basically what you are saying is that the Rams need a whole new team. Maybe the cheerleaders should try out for the team. They can't do no worse than the jabroni's that are currently on the roster. A new head coach wouldn't hurt either.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Coach White should have slipped the referee a couple of Benjamins to call a penalty on some of those plays to nullify some touchdowns, at least maybe the score would have been closer. The story headlines read "Rams limping into playoffs", after that game they were carried out of the playoffs on stretchers.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

Did VSU get invited to the playoffs 8 years in a row????? NOPE!!!

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Who cares? ASU doesn't do anything when they get there, & VSU has won more championships that ASU...Wait a minute, ASU has never won a national championship. I know now why they invited the Rammettes to the playoffs. They needed a warm up team to play against as a warm up for their next opponent.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

ASU got invited (Did not earn a spot in the playoffs, obviously the Rams never showed up to play. They did the right thing in giving up after the first 5 minuters of the game, they never stood a chance anyway.

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

Did ASU win only 3 playoff games in their whole football history? Yep!!

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findingcivility 2 years, 5 months ago

To all you bloggers with negative and mean comments about ASU Rams football: Football is just a GAME! Remember that the GAME has nothing to do with scholarship and the reason these young athletes are in higher education. Instead of tearing down and degrading the young scholar athletes over a GAME; how about giving them some words of encouragement that might include continuing to strive and succeeding to win the "GAME" of life?!!!!

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Well I hope their grade performance is better than their football performance, but I doubt it.

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findingcivility 2 years, 5 months ago

Your comment is indicative of your ignorance and negativity!!! Get a life! Their grade performance IS all that matters. These athletes would not be playing if their grades were not up to par. The GAME (football) is so meaningless and inconsequential in the scheme of things. You would serve humanity to a greater extent by supporting our youth rather than bashing and demeaning them.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

Am I commenting too much about this topic?

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EBM 2 years, 5 months ago

The level of ignorance that some of you possess has become so evident!!! ASU lost..get over it!! That's the name of the game, someone has to lose and someone will win! ASU just needs to regroup for next year, go home have a great Thanksgiving with your families and put Saturday behind you!!! I hope the stupidity I've been reading on here isn't a direct reflection of whatever form of education you possess. AND THIS IS COMING FROM A ASU ALUMNI!!!!!

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cspecial222 2 years, 5 months ago

LEAVE THESE NUTS ALONE. WE ARE RAMS. GO BOTHER VSU. YOU ARE ALL HATERS WHO HAS NEVER DONE ANYTHING OR BEEN NOTICE.YOU WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT AGAIN.ALBANY STATE WIN BEAT VSU AND BE CHAMPS NATIONALLY AND WHATEVER ELSE BEFORE VSU EVER WILL SO KEEP ON HATING. HAL MUMMY IS GONE.THEY HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING SINCE THEN.LEAVE ALBANY STATE ALONE.YOU DON'Y HAVE CLASS ENOUGH TO TALK ABOUT THE RAMS.GO BOTHERN DARTON COLLEGE WOMEN BASKETBALL PROGRAM, THEY ARE MORE YOUR SPEED. DON'T RESPOND TO THEM AGAIN RAMS FANS, LET THEM TALK TO THEMSELVES.

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 5 months ago

ASU can't beat VSU. Why do you think VSU has beaten ASU 14 of the last 15 games?? ASU can't even win a playoff game...how can they win a National Championship?

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Your grammar is about as bad as the play of the Rams. You say Albany State Win beat VSU....I think you meant Albany State will beat VSU. Course I have heard that before. In fact I heard that last year. All Rams fans talked about was put VSU back on the schedule and we will prove we can beat you. So VSU was put on the schedule and once again VSU won. Of course that was no surprise to me. after all VSU beats ASU at everything. Football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, softball even academically. Face is VSU is superior to ASU.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Actually now that you mention Darton, I think Darton's women's basketball team could beat ASU's men's football team.

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VSU73 2 years, 5 months ago

In the Friday or Saturday paper an ASU Ram player mentioned that some thought that VSU should have been in the playoffs. No knowledgeable football/VSU fan would have made such a comment. VSU finished last in the GSC. End of season. Let's talk facts, not emotions. The convoluted "Earned Access" rule can only be described as akin to a social promotion in education: you got it, but you didn't earn it. The team that got robbed this year was probably Lenoir-Rhyne. They were sitting at #7 prior to the VSU/UNA game with the loser of that game moving out of the top 6 and L/R moving into the 6th spot. Not so fast….ole “Earned Access” once again reared its ugly head and ASU jumped over a higher rated team to take the 6th and last spot. This happened to VSU a couple of years ago also. The next issue relates to strength of schedule. The SIAC is simply a weak conference. They can beat up on each other, but seldom on anyone outside their conference. Come on ASU, if you want respect, join the GSC and see if you can actually EARN a spot in the playoffs for a change.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

Im glad I didnt go to VSU.....If they produce people with evil racist views like this blog, forget it....Vomit State University at its worst!!!

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VSU73 2 years, 5 months ago

For your information, our family is a split ASU/VSU family. The facts speak for themselves.

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VSU 2 years, 4 months ago

If anybody should know anything about vomiting, it would be you coach. I imagine you are sick to the stomach after that @$$kicking ASU received in their unearned playoff game. North Greenville stomped a mudhole and walked ASU dry. I know it also makes you sick that ASU can't beat VSU. Just the other night, the lady Rams lost to VSU again in the women's basketball. ASU the school for losers.

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EBM 2 years, 5 months ago

And in all honesty, I"m not surprised by the comments from VSU supporters. But I will say this tho, these degrading and racist comments are not only a direct reflection of Valdukie State University, but it's also a reflection of they mind set that all alot of PWC's have towards HBCUs'....

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VSU 2 years, 4 months ago

ASU is the most racist school I know! Just like they tried to block Darton from becoming a 4 year school offering nursing programs. ASU reeks of racism and that is why nobody respects them.

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