Tag Archives: Wingate

SAC wins for Bulldogs, Indians; 49ers, Bulls fall

Rude C-USA Welcome at Middle Tennessee, 73-14

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Sports Information
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Sports Information
Middle Tennessee provided an unfriendly welcome to Charlotte in the 49ers’ first Conference USA game.  The Blue Raiders (2-1) struck quick and often, scoring 42 first-quarter points on their way to a 73-14 victory.

Charlotte (2-1) fell victim to the fast-strike offense it has used to success against opponents.   Four of the Blue Raiders first-quarter scores were of the one or two-play variety and included several big plays.

“We ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” said 49ers head coach Brad Lambert.  “We‘re just turning the ball over too much.  That’s why the score is what it is.  I thought Kalif (Phillips) was running hard.  I thought the offensive line was blocking decent up front.  We’re just making too many silly mistakes and if you don’t take care of the ball you’re going to run into trouble.”

Brent Stockstill hit Terry Pettis for a 76-yard TD pass.  Jordan Parker had a TD run of 62 yards.  Stockstill connected again with Pettis for a 75-yarder and then hit Ed Batties for a 35-yarder to humble the 49ers defense.  The Blue Raiders set opponent records for points scored, margin of victory and total yards (690).

Charlotte scored a first quarter TD on an attempted onside kick that Uriah LeMay returned 48 yards for a TD and Kalif Phillips cashed in on a one-yard run for the 49ers’ second-quarter score to make it 49-14 at the half.

LeMay’s kickoff return was the third in 49ers history for a touchdown.

The Phillips’ TD drive was started when Devon Johnson forced a fumble on a sack for a 14-yard loss.  Matt Johnson hit Trent Bostick for a 31-yard gain and Phillips added a 22–yard run to get the 49ers inside the five.

At the half, Middle Tennessee enjoyed a 459-153 advantage in total offense and they had forced four Charlotte turnovers.  Charlotte forced two turnovers, including Johnson’s big sack/forced fumble.

“I think we got punched in the mouth right away and we didn’t really collect ourselves as we wish we would have,” said linebacker Nick Cook, who had a team-best 13 tackles.  “They were a very good football team.  They came out and executed what they wanted to.  There’s a lot of little things that we messed up, personally.  We’re not going to let this define us as a defense or a unit.”

Charlotte continued to deploy a two-quarterback system.  Johnson finished 5-of-12 for 60 yards with two picks.  Barden was 5-of-16 for 27 yards and one INT.

The Blue Raiders scored 17 third quarter points, including a pick-six of a Johnson pass to push over 60 points, establishing a new record for points allowed by the 49ers. Lee McNeill came in as QB in the fourth quarter and was 3-of-5 for 15 yards.  He threw one INT, which matched the 49ers’ single-game record with 7 turnovers.

“This is definitely the best team we’ve played so far,” Cook added.  “Speed-wise and athleticism-wise, it’s definitely the best team we’ve played this year.  I saw a better effort from the start of the second quarter.  We got after it a little bit.  We tried to play like it was zero-zero.  We have to have a quick memory and come back this week, work hard, learn from this film and get ready for our home opener in conference.”

Phillips pounded his way to a team-high 72 yards on 15 carries, including a 22-yarder that helped set up his second-quarter score.  Backfield mate Andrew Buie was bottled up for 28 yards on 8 carries.

Cook led the 49ers with a career-best 13 tackles, the most by a 49er this year.  He had 12 solo tackles. Red-shirt junior defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi had six tackles to give him 104 in his career – the third player in 49ers history to reach the century mark.

Charlotte did have 8.0 tackles for loss, led by Cook’s 2.0.  Charlotte’s defense forced a pair of turnovers on forced fumbles by Devon Johnson and Desmond Floyd.

Middle Tennessee ended up with 695 yards of total offense, including 316 on the ground and 379 through the air.  Charlotte finished with 219 total yards.   Stockstill threw for 369 yards and five TDs with Pettis pulling in 167 receiving yards.  Parker added 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns.  Batties had three receiving TDs. The Blue Raiders had a pair of 100-yard rushers and a pair of 100-yard receivers.

The loss snaps the 49ers’ program-best four-game win streak (first two games of 2015; last two of 2014).  This is the 49ers first loss to an FBS institution.

The 49ers will host Florida Atlantic Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium in the 49ers’ first-ever Conference USA home game and the program’s first home night game.

Big road win for Catawba at Carson-Newman

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Catawba‘s defense held host Carson-Newman to a single score and posted a 14-7 victory on Saturday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium.  The Catawba Indians improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the South Atlantic Conference.  It also marked the second straight win for Catawba at Burke-Tarr Stadium, winning 25-22 in 2013.  The Eagles fall to 2-1 and 0-1.

Catawba limited the Eagles to 315 total yards with 185 on the ground.  Carson-Newman was also forced to punt seven times in the defensive battle. Jonathan Jean (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island HS) posted a dozen tackles with two going for losses, including a sack.  Kyle Kitchens (Decatur, Ga./Decatur HS) was in on seven stops, had a big sack in the closing minutes and also blocked a potential Carson-Newman field goal at the end of the first half.

Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) ran for 76 yards on 14 carries in the ball control offense that held a time of possession advantage of nearly 11 minutes.  Mike Sheehan (Wilmington, N.C./Laney HS) completed 19-of-24 passes for 163 yards.  He threw for one score and ran for another.

The Indians got on the scoreboard first when Sheehan ran in from seven yards out with 1:25 to go in the first quarter.  It capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive that featured three third-down conversions.  On those downs, Sheehan completed passes of 15 yards to Bruce Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./N. Davidson HS), 13 yards to Carlos Tarrats (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) and ran one for 15 yards to the C-N six that set up the score.

Carson-Newman pulled even early in the second quarter.  On a third down, De’Andre Thomas completed a 75-yard pass to TraShaun Ward to the Indian one.  Damian Baker scored on the next play to knot the score at 7-all.

Catawba looked poised to take the lead at the end of the half, but two sacks in the final minute forced a punt from midfield.  The Eagles used to big runs from Baker to set a field goal try from 39 yards.  Kitchens was able to keep the score tied with his block.

With both defenses forcing punts in the third quarter stalemate, the Eagles swung field position following a 65-yard punt from Christian Ramirez and a negative four-yard return that pinned Catawba on its own six.  After holding the Indians, Carson-Newman drove to the 17 and set up for a 34-yard field goal.  Once again, Catawba blocked the attempt to keep the game tied.

Four plays after the block, Sheehan hit on the biggest offensive play of the game with a 57-yard toss to Brandon Brown (Durham, N.C./N. Durham HS) to the Eagle 13.  On third down, Sheehan foundGary Williams (Southport, N.C./S. Brunswick HS) from eight yards out to put Catawba on top 14-7 with 10:35 remaining.

Carson-Newman moved near midfield on the ensuing possession then Jean and Jamal Lackey(Mocksville, N.C./Davie Co. HS) made a big fourth-down stop.  The Eagles had one last chance after Catawba missed a long field goal, but Kitchens had his sack to force a fourth and 29 that C-N couldn’t convert.  Catawba was able to run out the clock to secure the win.

Baker ran for 117 yards in the loss for Carson-Newman.  Thomas threw for 130 yards, but completed only 7-of-16 passes.  Ward had three receptions for 91 yards.

Catawba returns home to host Wingate next Saturday at 6 p.m.

Bulldogs pound  Brevard 37-0

WINGATE, N.C. – After a two-week wait, football season made its long-awaited return to the campus of Wingate University Saturday, as the Bulldogs blanked South Atlantic Conference foe Brevard College 37-0 in Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field. On a warm, beautiful fall afternoon, the Dogs put on a great all-around performance in front of a home opener crowd of 2,167 fans.

“I think we played with great intensity,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “There was an intensity today about our team that I really liked from pre-game until the end.” The Bulldogs were on the road for the first two weeks of the season and were eagerly awaiting the return home to play in front of the Irwin Belk Stadium crowd. “We were hoping we would get that (intensity) coming home after being on the road for a couple of weeks,” Reich says. “We wanted to get that extra bump of intensity and we did. It felt that way the whole game.”

The intensity that Coach Reich preached was definitely evident on the field, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Redshirt junior starting quarterback Kyle Johnson (Hickory, N.C.) finished with an impressive line going 18-of-26 passing for 193 yards and three touchdowns. The Hickory High product made all three of those passing touchdowns to his fellow junior wide receiver Jordan Berry (Irmo, S.C.).

“He makes plays,” Reich says when asked about Berry’s performance. “You throw the ball up to him (Berry) and he’s going to make a play. For us, there is a lot of reassurance for when you are a quarterback or a coach that when you throw it up to that guy (Berry), you know he is going to make a play.”

Berry believed the Bulldogs had a good game plan in attacking the Brevard defense. “We knew we had them (the Tornados) outmatched in the front seven,” Berry says. “It was a great team win with great play calling.” The 2014 All-SAC performer finished the game with seven catches for 73 yards with his longest catch being a 25-yard reception from Johnson.

Wingate junior receiver Joe Wallace (Hope Mills, N.C.) and freshman receiver JT Stokes (Juliette, Ga.) combined for nine catches and 138 receiving yards. Sophomore Standout running back Lawrence Pittman (Charlotte, N.C.) encored his two superb rushing performances from the road trip with another splendid game. The Mallard Creek graduate carried the ball 12 times for 99 yards and one TD.

The special teams also contributed to the fireworks with a thrilling 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from redshirt junior wide receiver Jody Fuller (Indian Trail, N.C.) on the opening kick-off of the second half. The Bulldogs rolled from this point forward.

One of the bigger stories of the game was the performance on defense by Wingate, as the Bulldogs shut out the Brevard offense. The Bulldogs held the Tornados to 43 yards of total offense. Senior defensive back Nortavius Otis(Gastonia, N.C.) led the team in tackles with eight, followed by senior linebacker Eric Mapoles (Snellville, Ga.) who finished right behind him with seven tackles.

Wingate football is off to its first 3-0 start since 2008 when they began the season 7-0 overall. Coach Reich commented on the overall attitude and vibe of his team after coming out of the gates in a strong way. “I think they know we should be 3-0,” Reich says. “They are a smart team and they figure it out. All the celebrations are very subdued. We are heading into the meat of our schedule now and we are working to get better. This is a very a mature team.”

The Bulldogs will board the bus and hit the road once again next week as they travel to Salisbury, N.C. to take on their SAC rival, the Catawba College Indians. Catawba will head into the game with a record of 2-1 after winning consecutive games entering the matchup with Wingate.

Reich talked about the mindset of his team moving forward into a tough conference road game. “We just need to continue to get better every week,” Reich says. “It’s all about preparation for us. If we can prepare well, then we see the results on Saturdays. We haven’t really played a full game yet, but we are going to have to play a full game next week for sure.” The Bulldogs and Indians will kick off next Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.

Morehouse drops JCSU 37-35

Photo courtesy of JCSU Sports Information
Photo courtesy of JCSU Sports Information

Atlanta, Ga. (Sept. 19, 2015) –  Morehouse rode a big third quarter and held off a furious Johnson C. Smith fourth quarter rally to take a 37-35 nonconference win at B.T. Harvey Stadium on Saturday night.

The Golden Bulls defense set up their first touchdown when Carlo Thomas (East Orange, N.J.) picked off a Monquavious John pass at the 50, returning it 37 yards to the Morehouse 13 yard-line.  Two plays later, JCSU’s Tromecio Summers (Charlotte, N.C.) punched it in from five yards out.  The point-after from Erik Amaya (Kannapolis, N.C.) put the Golden Bulls up 7-0 at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter.

The Golden Bulls went up 14-0 following a seven play, 61 yard drive capped by a 25-yard over-the-shoulder reception by Fred Scott.  Scott beat his defender with a double move and hauled in the floating pass.

Morehouse was able to get on the board late in the first quarter when John connected with Don Cox for a 10 yard strike in the back of the end zone to make it 14-7 with just 1:14 left before halftime.  JCSU could not generate any more points and punted to the Morehouse 28.  Morehouse would rush for five yards and took the 14-7 lead into halftime.
The Maroon Tigers big third quarter started after JCSU missed a 40 yard field goal at the 9:33 mark.  On the first play after the miss, John found Justin Browning for a 77 yard touchdown pass.  The point after was clanked off the left upright as JCSU still held the 14-13 lead.  On the ensuing series, JCSU was forced to punt and Matias Lambrecht‘s (Venice, Fla.) punt was partially blocked, giving Morehouse good field position at the JCSU 22.  One play later, Morehouse went ahead after a 22 yard strike from John to Devon Martin.  The point after gave Morehouse the 20-14 lead with 7:05 remaining in the third.

The Morehouse defense forced an interception that eventually led to Martin’s second touchdown grab of the game, this time from 20 yards out to extend the Maroon Tiger lead to 26-14.
The Golden Bulls answered to make it 26-21 thanks to a six-play, 72 yard drive capped by a 30-yard Steve Reneau (Rialto, Ca.) touchdown reception on a well -executed screen pass .  On the kickoff Morehouse extended the lead to 34-21 following a 100 yard kickoff return from Amyr Smith.  The two-point conversion attempt was good, making it 34-21 Morehouse at the end of the third quarter.

JCSU would then embark on an 11 play, 75 yard drive to start the fourth quarter that ended on a  three-yard bootleg from freshman Harold Herbin (Fayetteville, N.C.) on a fourth and goal play.  Amaya’s extra point drew JCSU closer at 34-28 with 10:30 left.

The JCSU defense then limited Morehouse to a 20 yard field goal by Alexis Gonzales to make it 37-28 with 5:16 left.  On the next JCSU possession, the Golden  Bulls marched 83 yards in 11 plays to cut the lead to 37-35 thanks to a Fred Scott (Stone Mountain, Ga.) three yard scoring grab to pull within 37-35 with 3:12 left.

Morehouse was then forced to punt on a fourth and 13 but JCSU was flagged  on a questionable roughing the kicker penalty, giving Morehouse a fresh set of downs.  The Maroon Tigers were then able to melt the clock, thwarting the JCSU comeback and preserving the 37-35 win.

Offensively, freshman running back Desean Binyard (Winston-Salem, N.C.) carried 14 times for 78 yards while Herbin rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.  Tromecio Summers scored a touchdown and had 16 yards on five carries.

Fred Scott paced the JCSU receivers, hauling in seven catches for 108 yards and two scores while Eugene Holmes had five catches for 67 yards.  Steve Reneau caught one pass, good for 30 yards and his first career  touchdown.

Harold Herbin finished 22-for-40 for 274 yards and three touchdowns, throwing two interceptions on the evening.

Defensively, Austin Jacques (Springdale, Md.) anchored the JCSU defense, collecting 10 tackles on the night, including a sack, two and one-half  tackles-for-loss and one quarterback hurry.  Basir Wright (Douglasville, Ga.), Travon Leake-Anderson (Richmond, Va.) and Keith Darnell (Jonesboro, Ga.) each finished with six tackles each.  Carlo Thomas continued his solid play, by collecting his third interception of the season.  Thomas also had three stops and two pass breakups on the night.

JCSU plays in its third-straight road game next Saturday as it starts CIAA play at Virginia Union.  Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. at Hovey Field in Richmond, Va.

Davidson bye week

The Davidson Wildcats had a bye week and return to action Saturday to open up Pioneer Football League play at Morehead State in Kentucky.

Week 1 485 College notes

Blake Brewer C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week

Blake Brewer kicking a field goal against Georgia State - Charlotte Sports Information photo
Blake Brewer kicking a field goal against Georgia State – Charlotte Sports Information photo

Junior K Blake Brewer (Concord, N.C./Cannon School) became the first Charlotte 49ers player to earna Conference USA Player of the Week award when he was named C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week after Week 1. Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league’s media.

Brewer was 3-of-3 on field goal attempts and added two PAT’s in a perfect kicking perfomance that helped the 49ers defeat Georgia State, 23-20, in their FBS debut. Brewer connected from 45, 35 and 22 yards and kicked what proved to be the game-winner in the three-point win. His 45-yarder was the ninth successful kick from 40 or more yards in his career and he matched his own school record for most field goals made (3) without a miss.

The 49er Point After:

Charlotte 23 at Georgia State 20

Atlanta, Ga.  (Georgia Dome); Sept. 4, 2015

 49: Jamal Covington

Captains: Danny Book; Trent Bostick; Caleb Clayton-Molby; Branden Dozier

Flag carriers:  TL Ford II; Nick Cook; Anthony Covington

Game Ball:  Presented to Haley Ratliff, daughter of Offensive Line coach Phil Ratliff, who died, Aug. 9

 The 49ers first game at the FBS level

The 49ers first game against an FBS opponent

The 49ers first FBS win

 Three players started their 23rd straight game (every game in 49ers history):

 OL Danny Book;  OL Jamal Covington;  DL Larry Ogunjobi

 Key stat of the game:  3rd down conversions – CHA 11 of 21; GSU 3 of 15

TL Ford II caught five passes – each one for a first down, twice on 3rd and long (3rd & 10; 3rd & 9) Matt Johnson was 10-of-12 on third down with 7 completions for first downs.  On three of four scoring drives, Johnson completed a 3rd and long for a first down to keep the drive alive.

  1. 3rd & 10 – 19 to TL Ford II during FG drive, 10-0
  2. 3rd & 9 – 9 to TL Ford II during 74-yd TD drive, 20-3
  3. 3rd & 17  – 30 to Kofa in FG drive, 23-6

CB Terrance Winchester returns fumble 43 yards for TD on 4th play from scrimmage:

Terrance Winchester scored the sixth defensive TD in 49ers history and the second fumble return for a TD in school history. 

Winchester tied the school record with two takeaways in a game (FR; INT) and joins Greg Cunningham (2014) and Micah Bryan (2013) as the only 49ers with both a fumble recovery and interception in the same game.

Charlotte is 5-1 in games in which it scores a defensive TD.

Winchester’s TD came just 1:32 into the game.  It was the fourth fastest TD in school history.

  1. 00:17 – Matt Johnson – Austin Duke 65 yd TD at NCCU, 2014 (1st play)
  2. 00:30 – Matt Johnson 8 yd TD run at JMU, 2013 (2nd play)
  3. 00:46 – Mark Hogan 32 yd INT return vs. Campbell, 2013 (2nd play)
  4. 1:32 – Terrance Winchester, 43 yd fumble return, 2015 (4th play)
  5. 1:43 – Kalif Phillips, 6 yd TD run vs. Johnson C. Smith, 2014 (6th play)

Matt Johnson hits Austin Duke for 63-yard TD reception:

Austin Duke’s 63-yard TD catch is his eighth career TD catch of 60 or more yards.

7 of Duke’s last 8 TD catches have been 60 or more yards.

Matt Johnson threw a TD pass for his eighth straight game (7 games before injury, last year).

Johnson and Duke have connected for 8 career TD passes of 60+ yards.

The 63-yard TD pass was the 10th of Johnson’s career of 50+ yards

The TD drive took 1:21.   The 49ers had 22 TD drives of 1:30 or less, last year. 

Blake Brewer Hits Three Field Goals:

Blake Brewer tied his own school record with three field goals made (45, 35, 22)

His 3-of-3 kicking also ties his record for most FGM without a miss

His 45-yarder is the 9th FGM of 40+ in his career.

Defense:

LB Nick Cook, who missed all but one game, last year, forced a fumble and had a fumble recovery while leading the 49ers with six tackles (six solo).

S Branden Dozier, last year’s leading tackler, shared the game-high with six tackles (five solo).

Charlotte had 8.0 tackles for loss, led by DL James Middleton (2.0) and LB Caleb Clayton-Molby (1.5)

Defensive linemen James Middleton (2.0), Larry Ogunjobi (1.0) and Devon Johnson (1.0) each had at least one tackle for loss.

Back on Defense: 

The 49ers had several starters who missed some or all of last year but returned as starters in game one to make immediate impacts:

  1. CB Terrance Winchester (missed 4 games with injury): FR for TD; INT, 4 tackles
  2. LB Nick Cook (missed final 10 games with injury): tm-hi 6 tackles; 1 FF; 1 FR
  3. LB Caleb Clayton-Molby (missed final 8 games with injury): 3 tackles, 1.5 TFL
  4. DL Devon Johnson (missed all of 2014 rehabbing injury):  2 tackles, 1.0 TFL
  5. DB Devin Pearson (missed all of 2014 as red-shirt): 3 tackles, 1 FF

Rushing Balance:

Kalif Phillips had 19 carries (90 yards), Matt Johnson had 17 carries (32 yards) and West Virginia transfer Andrew Buie had 16 carries (56 yards).  Last year, Phillips (229 carries) had 52% of the 49ers rushes.

Turnovers:

The 49ers lost the turnover battle, 5-3 – the second time in 49ers history that they won the game despite losing the turnover battle.  Charlotte beat Wesley, last year despite losing TO battle, 3-2. 

The 5-3 margin is the largest TO deficit that the 49ers have had, yet still won.

The five turnovers are the second most in school history

 Charlotte improved to 10-0 in program history when it leads at the half.

Dating back to last year, the 49ers have won three straight games.

Charlotte ran 86 offensive plays

 NEXT UP:

The 49ers host Presbyterian (FCS) Saturday, Sept. 12 at 12 noon (ASN/WCCB).

Charlotte is 2-0 in their first home games in its first two years

Charlotte is 1-0 vs. Presbyterian.  The 49ers posted their first FBS road win at Presbyterian, 45-21, in 2013. 

The two teams also faced each other when the CCUNC was a two-year institution playing a combination of varsity, JV and B teams from 1946-48. 

Tough opener for Davidson

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Davidson football team fell to The Citadel Bulldogs, 69-0, in their season opener Saturday evening at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

In addition to 602 yards on the ground and eight rushing touchdowns, The Citadel (1-0) held the Wildcats (0-1) to just 104 total yards.

Running back Evan McField recorded a game-high 132 yards off 20 attempts with one touchdown, while Isiaha Smith ran for 109 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead both teams.

Defensively, the Bulldogs held Davidson (0-1) to just 46 yards rushing, while forcing four interceptions.

Linebacker Zack Popovec led both teams with a career-high nine tackles for the Wildcats, while defensive lineman Chris Woods and defensive back Ben Rowell each tallied a personal-best eight tackles.

Catawba falls to #4 West Georgia

SALISBURY, N.C. — NCAA II fourth-ranked West Georgia scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to claim an opening 44-13 win over host Catawba on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field.  The Wolves overcame five turnovers in the win, forcing four and holding the Catawba Indians to just 145 total yards.

Quarterback Dallas Dickey was nearly perfect for West Georgia, completing 15-of-17 passes for 204 yards and a pair of scores.  He also ran for a touchdown.  Aares McCall eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground with 107 yards on 11 carries.

Dickey threw both of his touchdown strikes in the third quarter to help the Wolves break away from a 16-13 lead at the half.  His first strike went for 47 yards to Qa Walker and the second went to Shaq Hall for 29 yards to push the margin to 30-13 midway through the period.  West Georgia tacked on two fourth-quarter scores for the final margin.

Cary Littlejohn (Columbus, N.C./Polk Co. HS) produced the lone Catawba touchdown with a five-yard run late in the second quarter to pull the Indians within 16-13.  He finished with 57 yards on the ground.  Bruce Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./N. Davidson HS) caught three passes for 22 yards.

Kyle Kitchens (Decatur, Ga./Decatur HS) had a big day on defense for Catawba.  He was in on seven tackles with three going for losses, including a sack.  He would force two fumbles and recover one.

Wingate blanks Johnson C. Smith

Charlotte, N.C.—-Wingate University redshirt junior quarterback Kyle Johnson (Hickory, N.C.) passed for a touchdown and rushed for a score, leading the Bulldogs to a 14-0 victory over Johnson C. Smith University Saturday night at the Irwin Belk Complex and Eddie McGirt Field. The contest was the season opener for both teams.

The shutout is Wingate’s fifth during the school’s senior college football history (1986-present). Four of Wingate’s five shutouts have come at the expense of CIAA members. The Bulldogs blanked Saint Augustine’s 30-0 last season (Sept. 13, 2014) and Fayetteville State 19-0 on August 26, 2006. Wingate opened the 2002 season with a 24-0 decision over the JCSU Golden Bulls (August 31).

“We believe this was a good first game for us,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “We saw good things on both sides of the ball. We had some penalty challenges…but we were able to overcome those with big plays on defense and ball control on offense.”

Johnson completed 15-of-20 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. He rushed six times for 51 yards. The two-year team captain opened the Bulldogs’ scoring with a nine-yard TD run in the first quarter. Johnson’s scoring scamper concluded a 13-play, 80-yard drive. Wingate junior place kicker Caleb Baird (Kinston, N.C.) added the PAT to make the score 7-0 ‘Dogs with 8:27 left in the first frame.

Wingate took the slim margin to the halftime locker room. Johnson and his offensive teammates struck again in the third quarter, putting together an eight-play, 79-yard march to take a two-touchdown margin. Bulldog redshirt junior wide receiver Jody Fuller (Indian Trail, N.C.) did the honors, hauling in a 38-yard TD pass from Johnson. Baird’s extra point concluded the scoring with 5:52 remaining in the third stanza.

The Bulldogs forced three fumbles to win the turnover margin 3-1. In his first game in the Navy Blue and Vegas Gold, redshirt freshman Robert Wallace (Covington, Ga.) had a team-best eight tackles with three tackles for loss (14 yards), 1.5 quarterback sacks (13 yards) and one fumble recovery. Three Wingate defenders had six tackles each.

Wingate senior defensive back Nortavius Otis (Gastonia, N.C.) forced the fumble which led to the Bulldogs’ second score. The JCSU Golden Bulls had second-and-two on the Wingate 23-yard line when Otis made his big play. Robert Wallace recovered and the Bulldog offense went to work.

Reich improves to 13-2 overall in season openers during his 15 Wingate seasons. He believes the Bulldogs are ready to take the next step. “We have some film now, so we can see where we need to improve,” Reich says. “Everyone always says the most improvement comes from game one to game two. We hope this is true.”

“We didn’t execute all the way through the game,” Reich says. “We give much credit to Johnson C. Smith. They have a young freshman QB with a tremendous upside… and they are very well coached. We were fortunate to pick up the victory.”

Wingate sophomore running back Lawrence Pittman (Charlotte, N.C.) made a triumphant return to his hometown, rushing 19 times for 94 yards (both career-highs). The Mallard Creek High School product also caught one pass Saturday night.

Both Fuller and junior wide receiver Jordan Berry (Irmo, S.C.) caught five passes each. Fuller had five catches for 64 yards and one touchdown. Berry recorded five receptions for 39 yards. Wingate redshirt sophomore tight end Jake Jensen (Fayetteville, N.C.) had two catches for 23 yards.

Wingate hits the road again next week, visiting Durham County Memorial Stadium to face Shaw University (6 p.m. kick-off). The WU Bulldogs and SU Bears will meet for the first time in history. Johnson C. Smith is also on the road next Saturday, visiting Kentucky State University.