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Wingate overwhelms J.C. Smith (again) in football season opener
Explosive offense crushes Golden Bulls 42-6
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 11:00 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Johnson C. Smith running back Emanuel Wilson is tackled by Wingate's Robbie Wallace (10) and Cedric Jones in the Bulldogs' 42-6 win Thursday at McGirt Field in the football opener for both teams. Wingate, No. 21 in Division II, is 7-0 all-time against the Golden Bulls, including the last five years in a row.

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If there’s a positive in Johnson C. Smith opening against Wingate, it’s the Golden Bulls likely won’t play anyone as good afterward.

Wingate, ranked No. 21 in Division II, blew past the Golden Bulls 42-6 in Thursday’s season opener at McGirt Field with quick-strike passing and superior line play to run their advantage in the all-time series to 7-0, including the last five openers. JCSU, which overhauled its coaching staff and roster in the offseason, had no answer for the Bulldogs, who played up to their hype.

“We’re going to keep working and get better,” Golden Bulls coach Kermit Blount said. “I thought we lost it up front on both sides of the football. We’ve got to improve that and get better. Although we lost the ball game, I think we gained something in that process and it’s all about continuing to coach these young men and get better.”

One area of need is the secondary, which Wingate torched early and often. Bulldogs quarterback Shaw Crocker connected on 18-of-20 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns and receiver B.J. Muckelvene grabbed three passes for 89 yards and a score. Wingate, which outgained JCSU 493 yards to 275, made liberal use of the deep pass, with three scores of at least 49 yards.

“I don’t know if we threw enough deep balls at them in practice, but certainly we’re going to try to eliminate that part of the mix,” Blount said. “We gave up too many easy plays. When you give up four big plays and you counter with one big play that we had at the end of the game, you expect to lose the ball game.”

Big plays aside, the Golden Bulls didn’t to enough small things to contend with Wingate. The trailed 14-0 after one quarter and ultimately trailed by 42 when Damon Rice’s 90 yard scoring run with two minutes left broke up the shutout. Emanuel Wilson, a redshirt freshman and North Mecklenburg High graduate, ran for 54 yards on 16 carries in his collegiate debut as JCSU outgained Wingate on the ground 194-125. The Golden Bulls didn’t accomplish much in the air, with quarterback Antonio Wallace completing 6-of-15 passes for 81 yards as Wingate’s defense constantly harassed him while tallying a pair of sacks.

“I thought Emanuel did a good job,” Blount said. “We’ve got to work on vision a little bit on a couple runs he made that could’ve been bigger runs as opposed to the two that he had. I thought Sammy [Crouch] did a good job for us as well. At the same time, it takes those five guys up front to get it done for us. If those five guys are not getting it up front, we could put Ezekiel Elliot back there and it [doesn’t] matter.”


Can changes lift J.C. Smith Golden Bulls to CIAA football relevance?


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