Sept. 25, 2009

Courtesy of Wingate Athletics

GREENVILLE, Tenn. - Wingate University redshirt junior running back Nelson Woods (Charlotte, N.C.) rushed 17 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs defeated Tusculum College 42-31 Thursday night in South Atlantic Conference action at Pioneer Field.

The contest was broadcast nationally by CBS College Sports. With the victory, Wingate improves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC. Tusculum is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the SAC. Wingate ends Tusculum’s 12-game home winning streak with the victory.

Wingate never trailed in the wild-and-woolly contest. The Bulldogs posted 450 yards total offense, while the Pioneers blazed a trail for 352 yards total offense. Wingate sophomore running back Vince Jordan (Mt. Gilead, N.C.) almost joined Woods in the 100-yard club, as he rushed 18 times for 99 yards and one score.

Bulldog redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Haffly (Locust Grove, Ga.) completed 15-of-28 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Wingate redshirt junior wide receiver Perry Floyd (Gastonia, N.C.) caught six passes for 58 yards. Classmate Delric Ellington (Charlotte, N.C.) grabbed five passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

The Wingate defense recorded four sacks. Bulldog redshirt junior linebacker Greg Harmon (Hope Mills, N.C.) had 11 tackles (five solo) and 2 1/2 tackles for loss. He also shared a sack. Wingate senior safety Tylan Merkerson (Oxford, Ga.) had two huge interceptions in the Tusculum end zone. He added six tackles and one pass break-up.

The Bulldogs opened the scoring with a touchdown by Jordan at the 11:57 mark of the first quarter. Woods put the exclamation mark on the first half with a 62-yard scoring run, posting his second TD with 4:06 to play in the second frame. Wingate led 28-21 at intermission.

Woods’ third TD gave Wingate a 35-21 advantage with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter. Tusculum answered with 10 straight points. TC graduate student Jamar Ferguson (Jasper, S.C.) capped a nine-play drive with a three-yard scoring scamper to make the score 35-28 with 14:18 to play.

Tusculum junior place kicker Gareth Rowlands (Wales, Great Britain) booted a 46-yard field goal with 4:52 remaining to pull the hosts within four at 35-31. Wingate answered with a seven-play, 71-yard drive to put the game on ice. Haffly found Ellington on a 35-yard catch-and-run play at the 2:09 plateau. Bulldog senior place kicker RP Lopez (Lakeland, Fla.) connected on his sixth (of six extra points), finishing the scoring.

Pioneer true freshman quarterback Bo Cordell (Cincinnati, Ohio) completed 29-of-40 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. TC senior tight end Jarrell NeSmith (Russellville, Ala.) recorded nine catches for 132 yards. Cordell utilized seven receivers Thursday night.

The Bulldogs host Brevard College Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1:30 p.m. The Pioneers entertain Lenoir-Rhyne University the same day at 7 p.m.