CARROLLTON, Ga. – The 2018 West Georgia football season came to an end on Saturday afternoon at University Stadium, as the Wingate Bulldogs played the role of spoiler, handing 10th-ranked West Georgia a 41-31 loss in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs.
The Wolves end the season at 10-2, losing two-straight after opening the season with a 10-0 record. Wingate advances to the second round next week, where the Bulldogs will face the winner of Lenoir-Rhyne and Florida Tech.
Devontae Jackson capped off the opening drive for the Wolves with a 60-yard scamper that put the Wolves up early. Jackson’s run was the exclamation point on a four-play, 72-yard drive.
The Wolves defense then forced a punt, but a fumble on the ensuing possession, set up Wingate in good field position. Once again, the defense held their ground, limiting Wingate to a field goal as the Bulldogs’ McLean Robertson connected on a 29-yard field goal.
West Georgia then went three-and-out, but on the punt, Wingate’s Floyd Louallen blocked Christian Ramirez’s kick and found the end zone, putting Wingate up 10-7 at the 4:35 mark of the first quarter.
Wingate then scored again, turning a first-quarter Candler interception into an early second quarter touchdown as Nijere Peoples carried it in from two yards out, stretching the Bulldog lead to 17-7.
After another Candler interception, the Bulldogs took over in UWG territory, but the Wolves’ defense held strong, forcing another field goal as Robertson hit his second of the game, this one from 46 yards out.
Omar Cervantes put three more on the board for the Wolves with a 37-yard field goal with 5:31 left in the half, then Candler cut the lead to three at 20-17 with a 15-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds left in the period.
In the third quarter, the Wolves outscored Wingate 14-7, with Candler providing a 17-yard touchdown pass and a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Wolves a 31-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs kept UWG off the scoreboard in that final quarter and countered with a pair of scores for the final score at 41-31.
Jackson finishes his career as the most prolific runner in West Georgia history, and with 121 yards rushing on Saturday, became the first 6,000-yard all-purpose back in school history and the first 4,000-yard rusher in school history.