GREENSBORO, N.C. – Zac Halbert threw a six-yard touchdown pass Rob Fields with 32 seconds left in regulation to send visiting Guilford College to a 34-27 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win at Catholic University of America Saturday.
The Quakers (2-7, 1-4 ODAC) rallied from a 20-6 second-quarter deficit to clinch its first league victory under rookie head coach Chris Rusiewicz. Guilford outscored Catholic (5-4, 1-4 ODAC), 28-7, in the final three quarters and controlled the ball for over 40 minutes.
Halbert’s winning toss came on third and five from the Cardinals’ six-yard line and capped a well-executed 12-play, 66-yard drive that started from the Quakers’ 34 line with 5:57 left. Halbert recovered a fumbled snap on fourth and inches from Guilford’s 43 and snuck forward for a critical first down to extend the drive. Halbert completed a key first-down pass to Ben King despite double coverage on third down inside the Cardinals’ 20-yard line.
Catholic took its ensuing possession down to Guilford’s 36-yard line with 2.1 seconds left in regulation, but Guilford’s Chris Jessup recorded his second sack of quarterback Greg Cordivari to end the game.
Halbert completed 25-of-36 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. King finished with 13 catches for 200 yards and a 20-yard touchdown pass that gave Guilford a 27-20 lead late in the third quarter. Halbert’s passing and Aaron McNeely’s running helped the Quakers control the ball for over 40 minutes. McNeely became Guilford’s first 100-yard rusher of the year with 24 carries for 100 yards, both career highs. Teammate Josh Williams added 52 rushing yards and two short first-half touchdowns.
Guilford’s defense forced three turnovers and yielded its fewest points since its season opener. Rookie safety Satiir Stevenson scored his second defensive touchdown of the year when he collected a deflected pass and returned it 55 yards for a score 1:55 before halftime. Alex Smith (7 tackles) tiptoed the sideline to make a third-quarter interception, which setup Halbert’s scoring pass to King. Brad Gayhardt also had a sack among seven stops and recovered a fumble forced by Jessup.
Catholic quarterback Greg Cordivari completed 30-of-48 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns, but was 11-for-20 for 110 yards in the second half. Wesley Stringfield made nine catches for 119 yards and a score. Andrew Ouellette caught seven passes for 105 yards and two touchdown passes. His 25-yard scoring catch 20 seconds into the second quarter opened a 20-6 Catholic advantage. James Fucilio had 14 tackles and teammate Conor Stueckler added 13 stops and an interception.
Guilford closes the 2011 campaign next Saturday (11/12) against visiting Emory & Henry College at 1:00 p.m.