FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Quarterback Travis Murphy (N. Augusta, S.C./N. Augusta) passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in Methodist University’s 40-22 football win over visiting Guilford College Saturday.
Murphy, who also ran for a game-high 109 yards, completed 10-of-22 passes for 200 yards in the Monarchs’ (1-1) home opener. He threw a 47-yard strike to Adam Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla./Eagles View) late in the first quarter that opened a 17-0 Methodist advantage. Murphy connected with Thomas again from 12 yards out early in the third quarter to open a 24-8 edge.
Guilford made it a 27-16 game early in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Zac Halbert (Shelby, N.C./Crest) to Ben King (Archdale, N.C./Trinity (Appalachian State)), but Methodist responded with a 38-yard scoring pass from Murphy to Vaughn Cross (Tampa, Fla./Armwood). Murphy broke multiple tackles and ripped off a 71-yard scoring jaunt midway through the quarter that effectively put the game out of reach.
Guilford’s Quan Parker (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) returned a fourth-quarter punt 56 yards for a touchdown that capped the game’s scoring. The runback marked Guilford’s longest punt return and first for a touchdown since Sept. 2008.
Methodist’s defense forced five Guilford turnovers, which led to 20 Monarchs points. Navahri Holden (Lake Placid, Fla./Lake Placid) returned an interception 10 yards for the game’s first score 6:05 into the contest. Roderick Sawyer (New Bern, N.C/New Bern) returned a third-quarter interception down to the Quakers’ 30-yard line, which set up Tyler Mosko’s (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Am. Heritage) career-long 45-yard field goal. He kicked a 35-yard first-quarter field goal that followed the first of two Guilford fumbles.
The Monarchs’ active front line stymied held the Quakers’ running game to 62 yards on 41 attempts. Methodist’s run defense and Guilford’s deficit resulted in more passing by the Quakers Saturday as Halbert completed 22-of-38 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown. King was his favorite target as the redshirt junior made 10 receptions for 118 yards, both game highs. He now has six career contests with 10 or more catches and seven with at least 100 receiving yards. Lawrence Blake (Lynchburg, Va./Heritage) added five grabs for 92 yards, both career highs.
Guilford freshman Jordan Farmer (Advance, N.C./Davie County) (9 tackles) shared game-high tackling honors with Methodist’s Holden. Classmate Hunter English contributed seven stops, three behind the line of scrimmage, and recovered a fumble. Justin Williams-Blackwell (Bullock, N.C./J.F. Webb) had a first-quarter interception.
The Quakers return to Greensboro next Saturday (9/17) to host Averett University in a 7:00 p.m. nonconference contest. The game marks the first home game for rookie head coach Chris Rusiewicz.