Sunday, September 30, 2018

Wingate Drops Close Game to Florida Tech, 26-23

WINGATE - The Wingate University Bulldogs looked to be on their way to tying the game in the final minute of regulation Saturday afternoon, but a failed PAT returned for a score finished off a 26-23 victory for visiting Florida Tech in NCAA Division II football action at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field. The Panthers improve to 4-1 overall, while the 'Dogs fall to 2-3 on the season. Wingate's last two losses have come by a total of 10 points.


"We had some opportunities and had a nice drive there at the end. Unfortunate to miss the chance to tie it up, it's something we've done a million times so it's unfortunate. Florida Tech is a very good football team. I'm proud of our guys. We kept fighting, they've got a lot of good fight in them. It just goes back to consistency of execution. Hopefully, we grow from this. I saw a lot of good things from people, just need to be consistent next week."


- Back-to-back home losses for first time since 2015
- First ever meeting between Wingate and FIT
- The Bulldogs fall to 2-5 all-time against Gulf South Conference schools
- Two straight home losses after winning last nine regular season home games


- Wingate compiled seven more yards of total offense than Florida Tech (390-383)
- The Bulldogs gained 171 yards on the ground, 61 more than the Panthers
- FIT held a 273-219 edge in passing yards
- WU had four more first downs; Wingate also had the game's lone turnover
- The 'Dogs were four-for-14 on third down; Panthers went three-for-13
- Florida Tech piled up seven sacks that totaled a loss of 49 yards; WU did not have a sack
- The Panthers scored on all three red zone trips; Wingate was three-for-four inside the 20
- The Bulldogs won the time of possession battle by just over six minutes


- JT Stokes had seven catches for 185 yards and a touchdown
- Second straight 100-yard receiving day for Stokes, who had 186 yards last week
- Nijere People had 23 carries for a career-high 133 yards and two TDs
- Domineke McNeill added 53 rushing yards on 10 carries
- Both WU running backs averaged over five yards per carry
- Shaw Crocker was 10-for-20, throwing for 219 yards and a TD
- Robbie Wallace and Auntrell Mack had 11 tackles each, including 0.5 TFLs apiece
- Kam Johnson collected nine tackles; seven tackles for Cardell Rawlings
- Cameron Mattison added seven tackles, 0.5 TFL and a pass breakup
- Chris Birozes averaged 43.6 yards on seven punts, none of which were returned
- Birozes had his 10th punt of at least 50 yards


- Trent Chmelik completed 15-of-23 passes for 273 yards and three TDs; added 42 rush yards
- Romell Guerrier had five catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns
- Brian Spurgeon added two catches for 77 yards with a long of 60
- J.T. Hassell had nine tackles including four sacks, adding a QB hurry
- Adonis Davis had 11 tackles with a sack, pass breakup and QB hurry
- Jimmy Hinel added 1.5 sacks; John McClure had seven tackles and an interception
- Kyle Gullikson and Curtiss Thies each punted four times for an average of 33.8


- The first 20 minutes of the game went scoreless until McClure's pick and return set up FIT
- Chmelik hit Max Linder for a 15-yard TD on the first play after the pick to make it 7-0
- WU answered with a 71-yard scoring drive, with a 21-yard BJ Muckelvene catch getting it to the FIT 35
- After Crocker's six-yard run, Peoples ran it in from 23 yards out for his second score of the year to tie it
- Wingate's next drive went for 68 yards on a season-high 17 plays
- McNeill went for runs of 13, 12 and eight, while Peoples got six yards on fourth and one
- McNeill's 12-yard run got it to the six, with Peoples getting it to the three on first down
- WU had to settle for a McLean Robertson 20-yard field goal for a 10-7 halftime lead


- The first 13 minutes went scoreless, but another one-play TD drive put the Panthers back on top
- Chmelik hit Guerrier for a 69-yard score to make it 14-10
- The 'Dogs regained the lead on the ensuing possession, going 65 yards on six plays
- Crocker hit Stokes for 58 yards on third and eight to get it to the Florida Tech two
- Peoples scored his second TD of the day to give Wingate a 17-14 lead on the last play of the quarter


- Chmelik hooked up with Spurgeon for 60 yards on the first play of the next drive to get to the WU 15
- Chmelik hit Guerrier in the end zone on the next play to put the Panthers back on top 21-17
- Schaneville capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive with a 20-yard field goal to give FIT a 24-17 lead
- With 5:47 left, Wingate was able to go75 yards on 10 plays
- Crocker found Stokes for 25 yards on third and 15, followed by an eight-yard Peoples run
- Crocker's 25-yard strike to Stokes got it to the FIT 16
- Two players later, Crocker found Stokes in the end zone to make it 24-23
- The snap on the PAT bounced and the desperate attempt at a kick was blocked
- Tyrone Cromwell blocked it, while John McClure had the scoop and score to make it 26-23


- Wingate is on the road for the second time this season next weekend
- The Bulldogs travel to UNC Pembroke Saturday for a 7 p.m. start
- That is followed by two more home games against Catawba and Mars Hill