ASHLAND, Va. - Freshman Matt Pawlowski's (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) 12-yard touchdown pass to classmate Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County) with 2:02 left in regulation gave visiting Guilford College a 38-35 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win at Randolph-Macon College Saturday.
Pawlowski threw two of his career-high four touchdowns in the second half to rally the Quakers (4-3, 3-1 ODAC) from a 35-21 third-quarter deficit to their third straight win. The victory moved Guilford into a share of first place in the ODAC standings after Bridgewater College upset previously unbeaten Washington and Lee University, 31-14, earlier in the day.
Randolph-Macon quarterback Zac Naccarato threw touchdown passes on the Yellow Jackets' (4-3, 2-2 ODAC) first two second-half possessions, which gave the hosts a two-touchdown lead. Guilford drew to within 35-28 late in the third quarter on Pawlowski's seven-yard scoring strike to senior Trey Billian. The touchdown capped a six-play, 88-yard scoring drive that included a 51-yard double-reverse pass by Smith to Austen Thompson that put Guilford on the Yellow Jackets' 22-yard line.
The Quakers made it a 35-31 game on Tyler Hunt's 31-yard field goal that capped Guilford's first fourth-quarter possession. A 17-yard punt return by Juquan Tellis and a 27-yard Pawlowski-to-Daniel Woodruff (Tobaccoville, N.C./North Forsyth) completion sparked the scoring drive.
After yielding two touchdowns early in the third quarter, Guilford's defense stiffened and allowed the Yellow Jackets no closer than the Quakers' 32-yard line for the rest of the game. Randolph-Macon converted three-of-seven on third-down plays in its final five possessions, and failed on both fourth-down conversion attempts. Guilford's Hunter English (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) stopped receiver Christian Cook for no gain on the Yellow Jackets' final play, a fourth-and-one from the Quakers' 40. The play secured the Quakers' first win in Ashland since 2006.
Pawlowski completed 24-of-37 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns, all career and game highs. For the third straight game, he did not throw an interception. Smith was his favorite target with nine grabs for a career-high 187 yards and two scores. He hauled in a 65-yard scoring pass from Pawlowski on the game's first play. Senior Mike Williams (Mebane, N.C./Orange) added 120 rushing yards on 17 carries and Guilford rolled up 565 total offensive yards, its most in a game since Sept. 22, 2007.
English paced the Quakers' defense with 10 tackles and a second-quarter interception that set up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Pawlowski to Woodruff. Teammate Robert Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./Reynolds) added eight stops, including a career-high two sacks.
Randolph-Macon's Naccarato completed 21-of-36 passes for 278 yards and three scores. Will McGhee rushed 27 times for 158 yards and a touchdown and also caught five passes for 61 yards. Vance Hendren and Terry Clark both caught touchdowns among their three receptions for 69 yards. Brandon Harrison returned a first-quarter fumble 91 yards for a touchdown, one of three fumbles recovered by the Yellow Jackets' defense.
The Quakers put their longest winning streak since 2007 on the line when they travel to fellow ODAC leader Hampden-Sydney College (5-2, 3-1 ODAC) next Saturday (10/27) for a 1:00 p.m. showdown.