Story and photo courtesy of Wingate Athletics
WINGATE, N.C. - Wingate University redshirt junior quarterback Robbie Nallenweg (Asheville, N.C.) completed 30 of 44 passes Saturday afternoon, piling up 292 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a convincing 37-9 victory over 16th-ranked Albany State (Ga.) University at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field. The Bulldogs improve to 1-1 overall on the season, while the Golden Rams fall to 1-1 overall.
Nallenweg spread the wealth Saturday afternoon, hitting nine different receivers throughout the game. His four touchdown passes went to four different receivers. Preseason All-American senior wide receiver Chris Bowden (Forsyth, Ga.) had seven catches for 72 yards and a score, while redshirt sophomore Bryan Caffrey (Bayside, N.Y. ) also hauled in seven catches, going for 62 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Patrick Derenda (Manassas, Va.) had seven receptions for 58 yards and a score, while senior Josh Clawson (Clover, S.C.) also registered a touchdown reception.
Wingate also had 95 rushing yards Saturday, with four different running backs getting at least four carries. Redshirt freshman running back Mycah Gaylord (High Point, N.C.) and sophomore running back Nestor Lantigua (Wellington, Fla.) each had nine carries and 32 yards, with Lantigua scoring a touchdown.
Wingate held Albany State to 269 yards total offense and only 34 rushing yards. Junior safety Timmy Rogers (Sumter, S.C.) led the defense with seven tackles, two pass breakups and a half sack. Senior linebacker Robert Fletcher (Lancaster, S.C.) and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jakeem Polk (Lakeland, Fla.) each had interceptions.
Senior linebacker Malcolm Ricks (Pompano Beach, Fla.), senior safety Jarvis Smith (Godfrey, Ill.) and redshirt sophomore linebacker Trace Williams (Tampa, Fla.) each forced one fumble. Redshirt sophomore punter Austin Anthony (Greensboro, N.C.) averaged 42.6 yards on five punts. The Capital One Academic All-America® candidate placed two boots inside the 20-yard line.
The Bulldogs struck first, as true freshman Phillip Staples (McDonough, Ga.) gave Wingate good field position with a 17 yard punt return to the ASU 27-yard line. Five plays later, Lantigua found pay dirt from the one-yard line. Kicker Paul Grammaticopoulos (Paris, France) added the PAT to give Wingate a 7-0 lead at the 7:19 mark of the first quarter.
Nallenweg threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter to give Wingate a 21-0 lead. Bulldog redshirt sophomore wide receiver Cory McNulty (Jacksonville, Fla.) blocked an ASU punt to give Wingate first and 10 on the Golden Rams’ 10-yard line. Nallenweg connected with Caffrey five plays later for a four-yard TD. Redshirt senior Matthew Sierk (Saluda, N.C.) hit the first of his two extra points to make the score 14-0 at the 9:17 mark.
Polk’s interception set up Wingate’s next TD. Nallenweg needed only three plays and 56 seconds to move the Bulldogs 58 yards. The drive ended when Nallenweg found Bowden for a nine-yard TD. Albany State freshman place kicker Zachary Holley (Snellville, Ga.) hit a 26-yard field goal with one second to go in the second stanza, making the score 21-3 Wingate at intermission.
Wingate and Albany State traded touchdowns during an 81-second span in the third frame. Nallenweg concluded a nine-play, 68-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring connection with Derenda at the 10:37 mark. Three plays later, ASU senior quarterback David Kooi (Pensacola, Fla.) threw a 62-yard scoring strike to sophomore wide receiver Jessie Atkins (Camilla, Ga.). The Kooi-to-Atkins link cut the Golden Rams’ deficit to 28-9 with 9:16 to play in the third.
A Golden Rams fumble gave the Bulldogs the ball on the ASU 20-yard line late in the third quarter. Nallenweg and his troops needed six plays to traverse this distance. The scoring play was a three-yard TD pass from Nallenweg to Clawson. Grammaticopoulos added a 22-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.
Wingate won the possession time battle 33:26-to-25:48. The Bulldogs were six-of-eight in the red zone, after converting only one-of-three red zone chances in week one versus Saint Augustine’s. Grammaticopoulos averaged 60.3 yards on seven kick-offs. Wingate’s pass rush recorded three sacks, compared to one for Albany State.
The Bulldogs complete a two-week home stand Saturday, Sept. 15, hosting local rival UNC Pembroke at 1:30 p.m. The Golden Rams return to North Carolina in week three, traveling 647 miles to Elizabeth City State University for a 6 p.m. contest the same day.