GREENSBORO, N.C. – Matt Pawlowski hit Hayden Read with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 left in regulation to lift Guilford College to a 31-28 win over Greensboro College in the 17th annual Gate City Soup Bowl Saturday. The go-ahead score marked the seventh and final lead change in an entertaining season-opening contest at Grimsley High School's Jamieson Stadium.
Greensboro (0-1) went ahead 28-24 with 5:28 left in the fourth on Joseph Lewis' second one-yard touchdown run of the game. The score on fourth-and-goal capped a 17-play, 90-yard drive that included seven plays run inside Guilford's seven-yard line. It touched off emotions for both teams and the Quakers were assessed three 15-yard penalties on the ensuing kickoff. The Pride tried an on-side kick from the Quakers' 20-yard line, but Guilford's Satiir Stevenson recovered.
Guilford took over with 5:28 to play and no timeouts, but the Pride held and Guilford punted away. The Quakers' defense held and got the ball back to Pawlowski with 1:29 left at the Guilford 20.
Pawlowski found Read uncovered on the drive's first play for a 47-yard gain to the Pride 33. The Quakers then ran the same play with the same result as Read hauled in Pawlowski's pass for the go-ahead score. The winning drive covered 80 yards in two plays and 16 seconds.
Guilford sophomore JerMario Gooch thwarted the Pride's final drive by picking off Ryan Throndset at the Quakers' 10-yard line with 41 seconds remaining.
Read, a sophomore playing his first college game, also caught a six-yard score in the second quarter and was named Guilford's game Most Valuable Player. He finished with three receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Pawlowski, also a sophomore, completed 11-of-18 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Like Read, sophomore Josh Schow made his first college start and led all ball carriers with 121 rushing yards and two TDs on 23 carries. He scored on a 34-yard first quarter run that gave Guilford a 10-7 first-quarter lead, its first of the game. His six-yard jaunt through two tacklers late in the third quarter gave the guests a 24-21 edge.
Guilford junior Hunter English made a game-high 14 tackles (6 solo) and senior Alex Smith made 11. Robert Smith added 10 takedowns and Stevenson finished with seven stops, a breakup and five punt returns for 60 yards.
Senior wideout Dexter Russell, Jr. earned Greensboro's game MVP honor thanks to a game-high 11 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Throndset threw for 212 yards and two scores on 23-for-38 passing. Warren Scott paced the Pride with 22 carries for 97 yards and also caught three passes for 23 yards.
Guilford, which now leads the all-time series, 9-8, visits Methodist University Saturday (9/14) at 1:00 p.m.
Note: This year's Soup Bowl game raised 7,091 non-perishable food items for the benefit of Greensboro Urban Ministry. Guilford College retained the Soup Cup trophy for the fourth straight season. The trophy goes to the school that contributes the most food items. Both schools conducted food drives on campus and fans who brought two food items to the game received free admission.