The top-ranked West Georgia Wolves lost their first game of the 2015 season to Florida Tech, in a shocking upset. The Wolves nearly overcame what was a 22-point deficit, their largest of the season, but ultimately failed losing 28-26.
The Wolves’ rough start to the first half in Melbourne, Fla. left them demoralized heading into the locker room down 28-6. This game was a tale of two halves, holding the Panthers to a scoreless second half.
The Wolves rattled off 20-unanswered points in the final 30 minutes of the game, bringing the team within two points of sending the game into overtime, and a field goal from winning the game outright before the end of regulation.
The two points that West Georgia could have used in the final minutes of the game were taken off of the scoreboard by the Panthers, on an extra-point conversion pass attempt from Wil Garrett early in the first quarter of the game.
Despite a monster performance from running back, Devontae Jackson, who registered 181 yards on 21 carries, the team’s offensive unit was largely inconsistent, especially in the final minutes. Dallas Dickey was responsible for two turnovers, a season-high for the Wolves offensive leader, struggling to find a rhythm through the air.
Although this does dampen the Wolves’ mood heading into the team’s final week of the season, it does not change their post-season fate. It will allow the team to take significant fall in the American Football Coaches Association Poll, amongst others.
But, the most important dimension to this loss is that it may force the Wolves into a scenario where they would finish as co-champions within the Gulf South Conference.
Because of technicalities within the conference, a 6-1 record at best may not be enough to win the GSC outright. University of North Alabama is currently sitting at 5-1, and is one of the teams tied with the Wolves for first, with one game remaining against the University of West Alabama Tigers.
The third team tied for best record inside of the conference is Florida Tech, the Panthers still have a remaining match-up with the Valdosta State University Blazers remaining on their schedule.
In a perfect scenario, should the West Georgia Wolves finish their season with a victory over GSC rival, the Shorter University Hawks, they would still need the two teams tied for first to take a loss.
The only way the Wolves win the conference is with help from rivals that they themselves have already defeated. The Wolves will finish their regular season campaign at home on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The Wolves will also patiently wait to see their new positioning in the AFCA poll when it is released on Monday. Although, it is a bit of set back for what could have been considered the best team in the state of Georgia, the season is not done.
This is only the Wolves first loss since losing to the eventual NCAA Division II National Champions, Colorado State-Pueblo Thunder Wolves in the semi-finals of the post-season. West Georgia still has much to prove and will be awarded those opportunities when the post-season begins.