Historic and impressive. It’s the best way to describe Sunday evening for the University of West Florida football team, which learned it received an invitation to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in program history.
In just their second year of existence, the Argos won seven games, including Saturday’s 34-29 come-from-behind win over 18th-ranked West Georgia on the road. That win, coupled with the fact that UWF toppled 2016 national runner-up North Alabama a week earlier at home helped catapult UWF to the postseason.
At 7-3 and seeded sixth, the Argos will take on third-seeded Wingate on the road Saturday in North Carolina. The Bulldogs are 9-1.
The Argos needed to win Saturday to have any shot at a postseason berth. Things didn’t look good early as they trailed 16-0. UWF trailed 16-14 at halftime but took the lead on Austin Blake-Smith’s 5-yard grab from Mike Beaudry in the third quarter that put the Argos on top 21-16.
UWF went just 5-6 in its first season but won three of its final four games this season to finish on a high note. They finished tied for second in the Gulf South Conference with a 5-3 record. A year ago, they were 3-5 in league play.