GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sophomore Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) passed for a career-high 394 yards and four touchdowns in Guilford College’s 28-21 football win over visiting Randolph-Macon College Saturday. Classmate Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie) 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 (Fishersville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield) 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 (Spotsylvania, Va./Riberbend) fourth-down pass to Christian Cook (Reisterstown, Md./Calvert Hall) 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 (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) attempted lateral on the game’s final play was recovered by Guilford’s Tyler Eller (Stuart, Va./J.F. Webb (N.C.)) 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 (High Point, N.C./Ragsdale (UNC Pembroke)) also caught seven balls and Hayden Read had a 14-yard touchdown among his two receptions. Josh Schow (Herndon, Va./Herndon) led Guilford’s ball carriers with 71 rushing yards.
Robert Smith’s (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) season-high 12 tackles paced the Quakers’ defense. Sophomore Daytwyn Rascoe (pikesville, Md./McDonough) made a career-high 11 stops, including one on a first-quarter fake field goal attempt that saved a touchdown. Alex Smith (PInnacle, N.C./West Stokes) made a diving interception of Naccarato in the second quarter and also had four tackles. Jaylan Martin (Morganton, N.C./Freedom) 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 Cook in the third quarter. Cook finished with a team-best five receptions for 38 yards. Calvin Davis (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) led Randolph-Macon’s defense with seven tackles and Marcus Mitchell (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) 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.