Livingstone College football did something on Saturday it hadn’t done since its head coach Sean Gilbert was a member of the Carolina Panthers — beat Winston-Salem State in Bowman Gray Stadium.
Livingstone College got two clutch field goals from its freshman kicker Jason Zaputa in the final minutes to beat WSSU 23-21. Zaputa hit a game-winner from 44 yards out with 27 seconds remaining to give his team the victory.
“If the ball would have been on the 40. I was confident, because we practice a lot,” Zaputa told HBCU Gameday after the game. “We practiced way further than that. Just in case. Moments like this.”
It was the first win for LC at Bowman Gray Stadium since 1998 it edged out WSSU for the CIAA title and was the second consecutive over WSSU for the program.
The Blue Bears jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Rams scored 21 unanswered points to take a one-point lead with 9:19 remaining. Zaputa, who had already hit a 50-yard field goal early in the second quarter, hit a 39-yard field goal with 4:29 remaining before knocking down the game-winner.
Livingstone out-gained WSSU 358 yards to 287, controlling the ball for 35 minutes. Receiver Devonte Deloatch caught the ball 11 times for 110 yards to lead LC, which got a pair of rushing touchdowns from Jymikaah Wells who finished with 59 yards on 17 carries.
The win was the second in a row for Livingstone, which started the season 0-4 and came into the game allowing 35 points per game.
“We took another step growing and I’m proud of our team,” Gilbert said. “Winston is a tough team. You know, we just got to continue to play the way we play and we’ll see what happens.”
Livingstone College will head to face Fayetteville State on Saturday while Winston-Salem State will travel to Durham to face Shaw University.