WINCHESTER, Va. – Shenandoah University’s Dieon DuPont returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and the Hornets scored on two interception returns in Saturday’s 47-31 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win over previously unbeaten Guilford College Saturday.
Guilford’s Matt Pawlowski threw for a career-high 460 yards and three touchdowns, but was picked off a career-high three times, his first interceptions of the year.
Shenandoah’s Josh White intercepted Pawlowski on the third-quarter’s opening play and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. The theft ended Pawlowski’s streak of 242 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, which dated to Nov. 2, 2013.
Malik Sims made Shenandoah’s (3-2, 1-1 ODAC) second interception, picking off Pawlowski at the Hornets’ five-yard line. Three plays later, Shenandoah’s Leonard Scott made an acrobatic, one-handed catch near midfield and sprinted in for a 67-yard score. The play opened a 38-10 Hornets’ edge with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
Pawlowski wrapped scoring passes to Adam Smith and Hayden Read around a Hornets’ field goal, which brought the Quakers (4-1, 1-1 ODAC) to within 41-25 early in the fourth quarter. Guilford recovered an on-side kick and had first-and-goal from the Shenandoah nine, but the Hornets held.
The teams traded possessions before Pawlowski connected with Smith again, this time from 64 yards out, with 2:04 left in regulation. The two-point conversion failed, which left the score at 41-31. After Guilford’s defense forced a three and out, and the offense took over on its own 22-yard line with 53 seconds to go. Shenandoah’s Cedrick Bridges stepped in front of a Pawlowski pass on the game’s final play and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.
Shenandoah’s Cedrick Delaney carried 18 times for 118 yards and a touchdown. His 23-yard first-quarter run opened a 22-0 Hornets’ lead. Kye Hopkins added 73 rushing yards and another first-quarter score. Shenandoah signal-caller quarterback Drew Ferguson completed 12-of-19 passes for 151 yards, including the 67-yard scoring pass to Scott. Shenandoah did not turn the ball over.
Despite yielding 521 total offensive yards, the Hornets’ defense made the three interceptions and sacked Pawlowski eight times, twice the sacks allowed by Guilford in its first four games. Brandon Thompson had three sacks among his five tackles. Sims paced the Hornets with 10 stops, six solo.
Pawlowski’s 460 passing yards stand fourth in school history. Smith finished with five grabs for a season-high 149 yards, including his ninth and 10th touchdowns of the year. Guilford’s Satiir Stevenson made a game-high 12 tackles (10 solo).
The Quakers return home next Saturday (10/18) to host league-rival Bridgewater College at 1:00 p.m.