Guilford Stops Randolph-Macon, 28-21
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Matt Pawlowski passed for a career-high 394 yards and four touchdowns in Guilford College's 28-21 football win over visiting Randolph-Macon College Saturday. Adam Smith caught seven passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns to help the Quakers (5-2, 4-0 ODAC) improve to 4-0 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) for the first time in school history.
With Shenandoah University's 36-35 upset win at Hampden-Sydney College Saturday, Guilford owns first place in the league standings with its 4-0 record.
Senior running back Will McGhee posted his third 200-yard rushing day of the season with 250 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries for the Yellow Jackets (5-2, 3-1 ODAC).
Pawlowski and Smith connected on an 86-yard scoring play on Guilford's first possession, which started the game's scoring. Guilford took a 21-0 lead into halftime after a wide-open Smith corralled a 58-yard touchdown catch 4:32 before the break. Perhaps the pair's biggest score came with 13:01 left in the game when Pawlowski found Smith from 18 yards out to restore Guilford's two-touchdown lead. The Yellow Jackets used their powerful running game to score touchdowns on consecutive third-quarter possessions, which trimmed the Quakers' lead to 21-14.
McGhee broke through the center of the line for a 54-yard scoring jaunt midway through the fourth quarter, which drew Randolph-Macon to within 28-21.
Guilford's defense held Randolph-Macon scoreless on its final two possessions to preserve the win. The Yellow Jackets moved to the Quakers' 28-yard line with about four minutes to play, but a personal foul penalty moved them back to their own 43. Zac Naccarato's fourth-down pass to Christian Cook sailed out of the end zone and returned the ball to Guilford, which punted it back three plays later. Out of timeouts, Randolph-Macon started its final drive from its own 17 with 49 seconds remaining but could not advance the ball past midfield. Greg Petrohovich's attempted lateral on the game's final play was recovered by Guilford's Tyler Eller as time expired.
Pawlowski completed 21-of-29 passes and was picked off for just the second time this season. Smith's career-high 226 receiving yards rank third in school history and are the most by a Quaker since Ben King's '10 school-record 251 receiving yards in 2010. Nick Mearite also caught seven balls and Hayden Read had a 14-yard touchdown among his two receptions. Josh Schow led Guilford's ball carriers with 71 rushing yards.
Robert Smith's season-high 12 tackles paced the Quakers' defense. Sophomore Daytwyn Rascoe made a career-high 11 stops, including one on a first-quarter fake field goal attempt that saved a touchdown. Alex Smith made a diving interception of Naccarato in the second quarter and also had four tackles. Jaylan Martin contributed nine tackles, a season best.
McGhee averaged 6.6 yards per carry and raised his league-leading rushing total to 1,256 yards in just seven games. Naccarato completed 11-of-18 passes for 133 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown to Christian Cook in the third quarter. Cook finished with a team-best five receptions for 38 yards. Calvin Davis led Randolph-Macon's defense with seven tackles and Marcus Mitchell picked off a Pawlowski pass in the second quarter.
Guilford hosts Hampden-Sydney (5-2, 3-1 ODAC) next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Tigers are the preseason ODAC favorites and had a 3-0 league record before today's loss to Shenandoah.