On a rain-soaked Saturday in North Carolina, the University of West Florida football team buried Wingate 38-17 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Shaking off a slow start, the No. 20 Argonauts dominated most of the way. As a result, their second playoff appearance in the four-year history of the program started off like the first — with a win over Wingate.
UWF (9-2) trailed 3-0 early but tied the game by the end of the first quarter. The Argos led 17-3 at halftime and 31-3 after three.
Navarre’s own Quentin Randolph gave the Argos the lead for good with 12:47 to play in the half. He caught a 56-yard scoring strike from Austin Reed. It was one of two scores for Randolph, who has six touchdowns in the last three weeks and back-to-back multi-touchdown games.
Reed also threw a touchdown pass to Tate Lehtio, giving the Argos a 24-3 lead with 13:11 to play in the third.
Touchdowns were also scored by Anthony Johnson and Jaden Gardner, with Johnson rushing for 109 yards.
Reed threw for 165 yards and was not sacked.
The Argos forced two turnovers, including a pick by Andre Duncombe Jr. on the 16th-ranked Bulldogs’ first drive of the second half.
Gael Laurent forced a fumble. D’Anthony Bell recovered it.
UWF defeated Wingate 31-0 in its playoff game in 2017. The Argos went on to play for the national title that year.
Winners of nine of their last 10, the Argos get a rematch with top-ranked Valdosta State (10-0) next Saturday. UWF lost 26-21 two weeks ago in Georgia, nearly rallying for a win after trailing 20-0.
The reigning national champs have won their last 25 games and are 4-0 lifetime against UWF.
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