Wingate, N.C.----The Wingate University football team (5-0 overall, 2-0 SAC) will play its second of three consecutive South Atlantic Conference road games Saturday, venturing to Catawba College for a 1:30 p.m. encounter in Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field. The Bulldogs are tied with Newberry (4-2 overall, 2-0 SAC) for first place in the SAC standings.
2017 Wingate University Football
#24 Wingate University at Catawba College
Shuford Stadium, Salisbury, N.C.
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 (1:30 p.m., Wingate Sports Network audio)
GAME DAY CENTRAL: www.wingatebulldogs.com
THE TWO TEAMS
Wingate: 5-0 overall, 2-0 SAC (2016: 8-3 overall, 5-2 SAC)
Catawba: 5-1 overall, 1-1 SAC (2016: 5-6 overall, 5-2 SAC)
The coaches: Wingate's Joe Reich is 106-73 overall in 17 years with the Bulldogs. Reich has more victories than any other WU football coach. A two-time South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year award winner, Reich helped the 'Dogs win the SAC title and advance to the NCAA play-offs in 2010. Catawba alum Curtis Walker is in his fifth year as the Indians' head coach (31-20 overall). In 2015, Walker was named the SAC Coach of the Year after guiding Catawba to the SAC title and a spot in the NCAA play-offs.
Joe Reich on Catawba: "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Catawba...this is a well-run program which is well-coached on both sides of the ball. Schematically, they do a great job on offense and defense. There are no weak spots on either side of the ball...this team has grown up together...many of the seniors have played critical roles for the team since they were sophomores. We have tried to find a weak point...and we have not been able to do so. Catawba is a very well-balanced team."
...on practice this week: "We concentrated on getting us better. We did some good things against UNC Pembroke...and we were very inconsistent (versus UNC Pembroke) as well. We did some good things...but it was not a smooth game. We are working on being consistent in practice...so we can be more consistent in games. We want to play a solid 60 minutes."
...on keys to the Wingate at Catawba game: "Last year, Catawba was plus-six in the turnover category (in our game at Wingate). We believe the keys to the game will be the turnover battle...and special teams. The squad which creates explosiveness on special teams...will have a distinct advantage."
...on players who deserve a shout-out this week: "Sophomore offensive lineman Connor Baroniunas has had a great year. He is a silent leader...who makes great plays. He does whatever we ask...Connor has made tremendous strides during his time at Wingate."
"Redshirt sophomore linebacker Robbie Wallace has been a very productive player for us this year. We are glad to have him back...Robbie is very positive influence for our program."
Last week: Wingate University redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jay Hood scored the winning touchdown with 1:34 remaining on the clock, lifting the Bulldogs to a foggy 31-28 NCAA Division II football victory over UNC Pembroke at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field Saturday. Bulldog senior running back Lawrence Pittman rushed 26 times for 165 yards and one TD for Wingate.
Eamon Smart's 17-yard scoring run lifted host Catawba to a 26-20 overtime win over North Greenville in football action on Saturday afternoon at Shuford Stadium. Smart ran for 76 yards to pace the Catawba ground game. Keyon West had seven receptions.
Last year: Catawba quarterback Mike Sheehan finished 13-of-19 for 229 yards and two touchdown passes as the Catawba Indians earned a 48-26 road victory over Wingate in South Atlantic Conference football action at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field. Wingate's Lawrence Pittman posted his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance with 21 carries for 156 yards.
The Wingate-Catawba series: Catawba leads the all-time senior college football series with Wingate 17-12. The Bulldogs have won five of the last six games (and nine of the last 13 contests) in the series. Fans can expect a high-scoring affair; the winning team in the Catawba-Wingate series has averaged 33.5 points per victory (972 points in 29 games).
Three Wingate versus Catawba contests (in the modern era) have gone to overtime. Catawba won the first two extra-time contests. The Indians earned a 44-43 victory in Monroe (1994) and a 30-24 triumph in Wingate (2005). The Bulldogs won the last OT battle with a 34-28 triumph at Wingate on Oct. 20, 2012.
In the 2012 tilt, Wingate quarterback Robbie Nallenweg found wide receiver Bryan Caffrey with the winning touchdown pass in overtime, helping the Bulldogs outlast Catawba for the 34-28 victory at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field.
In 2006, Wingate cornerback David Jones and linebacker Bobby Floyd had two interceptions each as the Bulldogs picked up a 24-8 home victory on Oct. 28. Jones was drafted by the New Orleans Saints; he played for the Bengals, the Jaguars and the Redskins in a six-year NFL career.
Quarterback Anthony Metzelaars threw for 309 yards and the Bulldog defense forced five turnovers as Wingate topped number five Catawba 35-21 at Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field on Oct. 9, 2004.
Wingate won a barnburner at Catawba 61-55 in 1993. In 1988, the Bulldogs won the first senior college game between the two teams 21-17 at Walter Bickett Stadium in Monroe.
Wingate vs. Catawba senior college series history
1988 Wingate 21, Catawba 17 (at Monroe)
1989 Catawba 29, Wingate 19 (at Salisbury)
1990 Catawba 22, Wingate 6 (at Monroe)
1991 Catawba 46, Wingate 20 (at Salisbury)
1992 Catawba 27, Wingate 24 (at Monroe)
1993 Wingate 61, Catawba 55 (at Salisbury)
1994 Catawba 44, Wingate 43 (OT) (at Monroe)
1995 Catawba 42, Wingate 32 (at Salisbury)
1996 Catawba 19, Wingate 15 (at Monroe)
1997 Catawba 31, Wingate 22 (at Salisbury)
1998 Wingate 7, Catawba 6 (at Wingate)
1999 Catawba 54, Wingate 13 (at Salisbury)
2000 Catawba 53, Wingate 6 (at Salisbury)
2001 Catawba 12, Wingate 0 (at Wingate)
2002 Catawba 41, Wingate 7 (at Salisbury)
2003 Catawba 35, Wingate 14 (at Wingate)
2004 Wingate 35, #5 Catawba 21 (at Salisbury)
2005 Catawba 30, Wingate 24 (OT) (at Wingate)
2006 Wingate 24, Catawba 8 (at Wingate)
2007 #15 Catawba 45, Wingate 20 (at Salisbury)
2008 #20 Wingate 34, Catawba 24 (at Wingate)
2009 Wingate 42, Catawba 17 (at Salisbury)
2010 Catawba 35, Wingate 28 (at Wingate)
2011 Wingate 51, Catawba 41 (at Salisbury)
2012 Wingate 34, Catawba 28 (OT) (at Wingate)
2013 Wingate 23, Catawba 22 (at Salisbury)
2014 Wingate 30, Catawba 19 (at Wingate)
2015 Wingate 17, Catawba 0 (at Salisbury)
2016 Catawba 48, Wingate 26 (at Wingate)
NOTE: From 1986 through 1997, Wingate played its home games at Walter Bickett Stadium in Monroe, N.C.
Wingate is number 24 in AFCA top 25: The Wingate football team (5-0 overall, 2-0 SAC) receives national poll recognition for the first time this season, as the Bulldogs are the 24th-ranked team in the AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches' top 25 poll, officials announced Monday. This poll marks the first time Wingate has been ranked since the Oct. 24, 2016 top 25 poll.
Wingate is listed in the AFCA top 25 poll for the 27th time in school history. The Bulldogs were ranked five times in 2004, two times in 2006, six times in 2007, seven times in 2008, one time in 2010, two times in 2011, two times in 2015 and one time each in 2016 and 2017.
Game notes: The last time the two teams met in Salisbury, Bulldog running back Lawrence Pittman rushed 31 times for 193 yards and two scores in Wingate's 17-0 SAC shutout over Catawba in Shuford Stadium and Kirkland Field Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015...Wingate return specialist BJ Muckelvene shares the NCAA lead in punt returns for touchdowns (with three others) with two...He is the top NCAA performer in punt return average with his 37.2 yards per return...Bulldog quarterback James Whitaker tops the SAC charts in completion percentage (60.7), while place kicker Freddy McCollum is the league's top dog in field goals per game (1.40)...
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Auntrell Mack and defensive back Cameron Mattison lead the SAC in forced fumbles (two) and interceptions per game (0.5), respectively...Linebacker Robbie Wallace is number one on the league's list in tackles per game (9.0)...
On the SAC team charts, the Bulldogs are first in completion percentage (60.7), defensive first downs (88), fumbles lost (two, tied with Catawba), turnovers lost (five, tied with Carson-Newman), punt return average (26.60) and time of possession (33:24)...
Wingate is one of 15 undefeated NCAA Division II teams...In North Carolina, only the Bulldogs and the N.C. A&T State Aggies are undefeated...
Wingate University, consistently ranked as a top 10 "best value" in the South by U.S. News & World Report, serves more than 3,600 students on three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors, 35 minors, 12 career concentrations, nine pre-professional programs, master's degrees in accounting, business, education, physician assistant studies and sport management and doctorates in education, pharmacy and physical therapy.
With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life. To view current news, video and story ideas, visit www.youtube.com/wingateuniversity.
In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 22 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past 11 years. For more information, go to www.wingate.edu.
Wingate is first among NCAA Division II Academic All-America-producing colleges in the 2000's with 96 selections. Among North Carolina's colleges and universities, Wingate is number one in this millennium with 96 Academic All-America honorees. Wingate is tops among all SAC schools with 105 lifetime Academic All-America picks. For more information on WU athletics, go to www.wingatebulldogs.com