ASHLAND, Va. – Rookie quarterback Burke Estes came off the bench to throw two touchdowns and rally Randolph-Macon College to a 31-10 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win over visiting Guilford College Saturday.
Backed by a strong defensive effort, the Yellow Jackets (8-1, 5-1 ODAC) scored 31 unanswered points in their third straight win, which puts them in control of the ODAC title race entering next Saturday’s game at rival Hampden-Sydney College. Hampden-Sydney dealt Shenandoah University its second league loss Saturday, 37-34. Randolph-Macon controls its destiny by virtue of an October 29 win over Washington and Lee University, which also suffered its second league loss Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets’ defense limited Guilford’s offense to 10 points and 253 total offensive yards. The Quakers entered the game ranked sixth in NCAA Division III with 534.1 total offensive yards per game and 24th nationally with 40.4 points per contest. The last time Guilford had less than two offensive touchdowns in a game was in a 52-0 loss to Hampden-Sydney November 2, 2013.
Estes, playing his third college game, relieved starter Joseph Vairo in the second quarter and threw a 15-yard touchdown to Sean McDonald for Randolph-Macon’s first points of the day, which made it a 10-7 game. His 19-yard scoring slant to Christian Redman early in the fourth quarter opened a 24-10 Yellow Jackets’ advantage. Estes completed nine-of-16 passes for 126 yards, all career highs, in the most extensive playing time of his brief career.
Marcus Mitchell’s diving interception of a tipped Karsten Miller pass at Guilford’s 36-yard line set up Randolph-Macon’s go-ahead score, a one-yard Eric Hoy run 1:04 left before halftime. The touchdown sent the Yellow Jackets into intermission with a 14-10 lead.
Guilford entered the game ranked third in Division III with 230 first downs (28.8 per game), but Randolph-Macon held the Quakers without a first down on their first five second-half possessions. The Yellow Jackets controlled the clock behind the running of sophomore Tre Frederick, who picked up 98 of his 144 rushing yards in the second half. He scored on a 20-yard run one play after Guilford turned the ball over on downs from its own 20-yard line with less than four minutes left in regulation. Frederick carried 35 times, 23 times in the second half, which helped the Yellow Jackets control possession for over 21 minutes in the second half and nearly 38 minutes in the game.
Cole Burdette led Randolph-Macon’s defense with a game-high 11 tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. Xavier Strothers added 1.5 sacks among his five tackles. Randolph-Macon registered four sacks, broke up four passes and had an interception.
Hunter Causey paced the Quakers’ offense with 96 rushing yards on 17 carries, his first sub-100-yard rushing game since entering the starting lineup five games ago. Miller, the ODAC’s completion percentage leader, was hassled into 16-for-33 passing for 122 yards. He scored the Quakers’ lone touchdown in the first quarter on a one-yard keeper. Guilford’s defense set up the score with a fumble recovery on Randolph-Macon’s first offensive play from its own 15-yard line. Jared Davis and Karl Roberts had nine tackles apiece for Guilford’s defense.
The Quakers (4-5, 1-5 ODAC) look to stop their first five-game losing skid since 2011 in their season finale next Saturday (11/12) at Emory & Henry College.