Brevard falls to Wingate in SAC opener

Box Score

WINGATE, N.C. – A suffocating defensive performance and three touchdowns from wide receiver Jordan Berry lifted Wingate to a 37-0 victory over Brevard Saturday afternoon in a nationally-broadcast matchup on ESPN3.

Berry stole the show for the homestanding Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SAC), hauling in seven passes for 73 yards. He scored on passes of five, three, and 25 yards from Kyle Johnson, who finished the day 18-for-26 for 193 yards. The duo spearheaded a Wingate offensive attack that gained 391 yards of total offense despite losing the time of possession battle by nearly seven minutes.

Brevard’s Marcus Lunsford entered the game with 139 career tackles, tying him for 10th in the school’s NCAA era. He finished the day with six stops, tied with four other Tornados for second on the team behind Keon Shaw’s seven, vaulting him into sole possession of 10th place. He now trails Anthony Shakir by 24 stops for ninth in the record book.

Freshman inside linebacker Josh Allman had the best day of his young Brevard career on Saturday. The Belmont, North Carolina product set career highs with six tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He also notched his first career interception, picking off a Ja’Shawn Joyner pass in the end zone to keep Wingate off the board after a muffed punt gave the Bulldogs a short field.

After a turnover on downs deep in Brevard territory on their first drive of the game, the Bulldogs scored on six of their next seven possessions before Brevard’s defense clamped down. The Tornados allowed 23 total yards on Wingate’s next five possessions, forcing three three-and-outs, four total punts, and an interception. The Bulldogs would finish with 121 yards of total offense after halftime as Brevard’s defense found its stride late in the game.

Wingate’s defense came into the contest allowing 30.0 rushing yards per game through the first two weeks of the 2015 season. The Bulldogs’ defense had a tremendous day against Brevard’s (0-3, 0-1 SAC) experienced offensive line, limiting the Tornados to 48 yards on the ground and 66 yards of total offense. It was the Brevard’s lowest offensive output since a 24-8 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne on October 16, 2010.

The Tornados crossed midfield just once in the contest, penetrating as deep as the Bulldogs’ 36-yard line before being sacked and penalized for a delay of game. The drive ended at the Wingate 46, with the 33 yards netted in 10 plays representing Brevard’s longest drive of the contest.

Wingate’s win gives the Bulldogs a 3-0 record for the first time since 2008, when the team started with seven consecutive wins on their way to an 8-3 campaign. The Bulldogs have now won four of their last five games at Irwin Belk Stadium and have defeated the Tornados nine consecutive times in both schools’ modern era. The teams played on five occasions in the 1930’s when both competed as two-year colleges prior to the series’ interruption for 67 years, 55 of which occurred during the Tornado football program’s hiatus.

The game marked the Wingate football program’s first contest as part of its streaming agreement with ESPN3, making Wingate the first Division II school in the nation to broker an exclusive partnership with the network.

Brevard will return to action next Saturday in the team’s first-ever trip west of the Mississippi River. The Tornados kick off at Division I FCS Southern Utah at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Featured image courtesy of Neil Hayes. Click here to view more photos by Neil.

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