Bears Pick Up Statement Win at Wingate (2018-09-23 13:42:59)

WINGATE, N.C. – The Lenoir-Rhyne Football Team (3-1, 2-0 SAC) proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they went into Wingate (2-2, 0-2 SAC) and came away with a 31-24 victory. The Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the SAC Preseason Coaches Poll, while the Bears were picked sixth. However, it's Lenoir-Rhyne who stands atop the conference standings.

Final: Lenoir-Rhyne 31, Wingate 24
Records: Lenoir-Rhyne (3-1, 2-0 SAC), Wingate (2-2, 0-2 SAC)
Location: Irwin Belk Stadium | Wingate, N.C.
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• The Bears jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the beginning of the third quarter but the Bulldogs clawed their way back. In a seven-minute span, the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns to narrow the deficit to 31-24. However, the LR defense would tighten and keep Wingate off the scoreboard for the final 16:47 of regulation.
• Grayson Willingham continued his outstanding play, going 12-for-22 for a pair of touchdowns and 239 yards. Willingham continues to lead the SAC in efficiency, posting a 174.0 rating and also leads the league with 11 touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore has gone back-to-back games without throwing an interception.
• Jaquay Mitchell was one of the biggest weapons on offense, accounting for 58 yards on the ground (on just eight carries) and reeling in three balls for 87 yards and a touchdown in the air.
• Eric Jackson finished with a pair of interceptions and racked up 61 return yards on those two picks. Amari Houston produced a pair of sacks and linebacker Clayton Horn had 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the night.

• The biggest play of the game came midway through the fourth quarter when a tired LR defense came up with a huge goal-line stand. Facing a fourth and inches, Wingate dialed up a quarterback sneak but a great interior push at the line of scrimmage stopped Wingate QB Shaw Crocker for no gain and proved to be the game winner.
• Wingate entered tonight's game with a perfect 6-0 record under the lights at Irwin Belk Stadium before the Bears handed them their first loss.
• The Bears have won three straight games for the first time since 2015.
• This marks the first time LR has defeated Wingate since 2014.

LR will return to Moretz Stadium on Saturday night as they host Tusculum at 6 p.m.