UNA will have a different look on offense and in the kicking game when the Lions take on West Georgia on Thurday night in Carrollton, Ga.
Luke Wingo will get his first start at quarterback Thursday, taking over for Chris Alexander. Meanwhile, Taylor Pontius will take over as the kicker on extra points and field goals, replacing Michael Schuster.
Wingo earned the promotion with his performance in Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Valdosta State. The freshmen completed 17 of 31 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown, while also running for a 9-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Even though the Lions ended up losing, Wingo led a rally that produced three touchdowns over the final 22 minutes and gave UNA a chance to pull out the win. Valdosta State was able to run off the final 3:56 of the clock to earn the win. Had the Blazers not been able to run out the clock, UNA might have been able to complete the comeback.
Coach Bobby Wallace has little choice but to make the change at quarterback after Wingo’s performance Saturday. The passing game just has not developed this season with Alexander at quarterback. Alexander is still expected to see action and maybe coming in off the bench will be good for him. Alexander worked extremely hard to earn the No. 1 job in the spring and this fall. It just seems like he presses a little in games, which has led to some mistakes.
Wingo is a true freshmen and any young quarterback is going to make mistakes. But when he makes mistakes they are aggressive mistakes. Wingo was raised on football — he is the son of former Alabama linebacker Rich Wingo, who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers. Even though he is young, Wingo shows that he has confidence in himself and you can see that his teammates have confidence in him. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in his first start.
As for the kicking situation, Schuster has not made a field goal in the last four games, although he has only tried three. Still, if he had made just one of his two attempts against Valodsta State it might have been a different game.
There is no doubt that Schuster has a great leg. He just needs to improve his consistency. Pontius, meanwhile, has also shown a very strong leg, consistently putting the ball in the end zone on kickoffs. Now we’ll see if the success he has enjoyed on kickoffs can carry over into making field goals. This is a crucial game for the Lions, so a field goal could be the difference.
Remember, this is the GSC Game of the Week, so it will be televised on CSS at 6:30 p.m.Share on Facebook