College Football Final – Guilford 55, Methodist 7

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Senior quarterback Matt Pawlowski passed for 397 yards and five touchdowns in Guilford College’s 55-7 football win at Methodist University Saturday. Sophomore De’Eric Bell added three touchdowns and 254 all-purpose yards.

Guilford’s defense held Methodist (1-1) to 237 total yards, including a school-record -8 rushing yards on 18 carries. The Monarchs’ scored on a 93-yard Brandon Boyd kickoff return in the first quarter, but did not tally any offensive points. The Quakers’ defense thwarted two drives with interceptions deep in their own territory.

While the Monarchs forced a three-and-out on Guilford’s first possession, the Quakers scored on their second drive when Pawlowski connected with Adam Smith from six yards out. The catch marked Smith’s fourth touchdown reception of the year and the 32nd of his career, one shy of Junior Lord’s school record. Pawlowski ran for a two-point conversion, which gave the Quakers an early 8-0 lead.

Guilford’s Zack Parris recovered a successful on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff at his own 46-yard line. Ten plays later, Bell scored the first of his three touchdowns, a 26-yard run on a third-down-and-11 play.

Boyd ran the ensuing kickoff back for Methodist’s lone points, but Guilford answered late in the first quarter on a one-yard scoring run by Josh Schow, capping a drive that included a 40-yard pass from Pawlowski to Bell.

Pawlowski threw scoring strikes of 41 yards and 43 yards to Rontavious Miller and Daniel Woodruff, respectively, while Methodist’s offense struggled for first downs. Bell caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Pawlowski seven second before halftime that gave the Quakers a 41-7 lead at the break.

Pawlowski found a wide-open Woodruff on a 61-yard sideline scoring strike on the Quakers’ opening third-quarter possession. Woodruff made just two catches, but both were for long touchdowns and covered a combined 104 yards.

Methodist drove to the Quakers’ 10 after Woodruff’s second score before Guilford cornerback Tyriek Able intercepted Jordan Vann in the end zone. Able stepped out of bounds at the Quakers’ three, which enabled Pawlowski to conduct a 13-play, 97-yard scoring drive capped by Bell’s third score, a four-yard run. Tyler Hunt’s extra point provided the game’s final margin and effectively ended the day for Guilford’s starting skill-position players.

Pawlowski completed passes to eight different receivers, including Smith, who finished with six grabs for 111 yards. Bell had four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, plus 66 rushing yards, 57 kick-return yards and 71 punt-return yards. Schow ran for a game-high 80 yards and a score on 16 carries.

The Quakers’ previous record of 13 rushing yards allowed in a game was set versus Methodist in 2001. Guilford combined on seven tackles for loss, including two by Devin Mason. Tim Marshall made a team-high six stops in his first college start. Able had five tackles and Demetri Sheridan notched his first college interception to stop a fourth-quarter Methodist drive in Guilford territory.

The Quakers return home next Saturday (9/19) to open their home schedule and host Averett University at 7:00 in Guilford’s annual Homecoming contest.