PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The University of West Florida’s football team is headed to the NCAA Division II national semifinals for the third time in the college’s six-year program history.

The Argos defeated Wingate, 45-14, on Saturday to win the Super Region 2 championship at Pen Air Field.

“What an amazing game,” UWF coach Pete Shinnick said. “It might be one of the best, if not the best defensive effort I have ever seen in my life. Fired up about that.”

The Argos had four defensive touchdowns, with three of those defensive scores coming in to start the second half.

Seven different UWF players scored touchdowns. Only two were offensive guys. Three were pick-6, interception returns from Anthony Johnson Jr, Keon Voison and Kode Lowe, who combined to tie the NCAA Division II playoff record for interception scores in a game. 

“It really has been different groups each time,” said Shinnick, who was hired in 2014, two years before UWF’s inaugural first game. “(2017) was a special time with it being the first. We won (national title) in ’19 and this is a brand-new start of another group. The University of West Florida is an amazing place. We’ve known that since the beginning. And we just continue to find the right pieces to make this program what it is.”

Wingate (11-3) ranked No. 22 entering the game, was UWF’s first-round playoff opponent in 2017 and 2019, both years the Argos went to the national title game. 

The sixth-ranked Argos (12-1) will play at fifth-ranked Ferris State (12-1), located in Big Rapids, Michigan, this Saturday at 11 a.m. (CST) for a chance to reach the Division II national championship game for the third time.