Cavaliers face tough challenge Saturday against No. 18 Wingate

UVA Wise quarterback Lendon Redwine and the Cavaliers face a tough challenge Saturday when they host Wingate. 

WISE — After a disappointing road loss to Tusculum last weekend, Virginia-Wise is back at home Saturday to face South Atlantic Conference leader Wingate.

The Cavaliers (3-4, 2-3) host the No. 18 Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0) at Carl Smith Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.

Wingate suffered its first loss of the season last week, a 26-20 nonconference decision against Barton.

UVA Wise is looking to halt a two-game losing streak and defeat a second ranked team this season. The Cavaliers knocked off then-No. 16 Lenoir-Rhyne 35-28 on Oct. 2.

DEFENSIVE POWER

Wingate brings the SAC’s top defense to Wise, having limited opponents to fewer than 300 yards per game.

The Bulldogs also boast arguably the league’s best special teams unit. They are second in the league in net punting, punt returns and kickoff returns, and placekicker McClean Robertson is 12-for-14 on field-goal attempts.

BIG PLAY

Big plays have led to the Cavaliers’ success this season. They’ve struck 39 times for 20-yard-plus plays.

Senior Devin Heckstall has been the team’s primary catalyst for the big play this season. The wide receiver has 14 receptions of at least 20 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown catch.

UVA Wise also has forced 15 turnovers this fall while averaging four sacks per game.

HOME FIELD

UVA Wise is gunning for its fourth victory at home this season, which would be the most for the program since becoming an NCAA Division II member.

The last time the Cavs won at least four times at home was in 2011, when they went 4-2 at home as a NAIA member.

This is just the second meeting between UVA Wise and Wingate, the programs’ first in Wise. In the Bulldogs’ 2019 victory at home, they rushed for 295 yards and won 45-13.

AROUND THE SAC

In other SAC games Saturday, Catawba is at Mars Hill, Lenoir-Rhyne hosts Limestone and Carson-Newman travels to Newberry. Tusculum plays at home against Barton in a nonconference contest.

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