GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Freshman Josh Simpson ran 26 times for 155 yards and a key fourth-quarter touchdown in visiting Hampden-Sydney's 47-45 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win over Guilford Saturday. Simpson also caught nine passes for 76 yards and a score as the Tigers' improved to 3-0 (1-0 ODAC) with their fifth straight win over Guilford (0-4, 0-1 ODAC).
Hampden-Sydney entered the game ranked 21st in this week's D3football.com NCAA Division III poll and ranked 22nd in the weekly American Football Coaches' Association Division III rankings.
Guilford rallied from a 37-8 second-quarter deficit on the strength of Josh Vogelbach's school record-tying five touchdown passes, four in the second half. The redshirt-freshman transfer from East Carolina pulled the Quakers to within 40-35 with 5:20 left in the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Barnette, the pair's third scoring connection of the game. Barnette hauled in Vogelbach's two-point conversion pass to get Guilford within three points. The Quakers' Brandon Smith started the nine-play scoring drive by recovering a Simpson fumble on Guilford's one-yard line.
Simpson scored on the Tigers' ensuing possession from four yards out with 1:41 left to end a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive. J.D. Ricca's 51-yard pass to Brian Rolander opened the drive and was followed by six straight Simpson runs before he found the end zone. Reed Weestra's extra point gave the guests a 47-37 edge.
Despite being outscored 260-61 in its previous five meetings with Hampden-Sydney, Guilford refused to quit and moved 80 yards in three plays before Vogelbach found Joe Joyner from 29 yards away with 1:14 remaining. Vogelbach hit Joyner in the back of the end zone with a conversion pass to make it a two-point game.
Charlie Omick recovered backup kicker Alex Trexler's ensuing on-side kick. After two Simpson runs and Guilford's final two time outs, Hampden-Sydney faced third down and 4 yards to go from Guilford's 45-yard line with 59 seconds left. Simpson's 7-yard run through the right side of the line gained the first down and let the Tigers run out the clock.
A converted receiver, Simpson gained 119 of his rushing yards on 20 second-half carries. Add his receiving yards and 62 kickoff-return yards, and Simpson accounted for 293 all-purpose yards and two scores. Ricca completed 27-of-43 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Smith caught eight balls for 111 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Aaron Williams returned a first-quarter kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and Jamie Edlow scored on a 25-yard interception return in the second quarter.
Guilford's Vogelbach entered the game midway through the first quarter and completed 14-of-25 passes for 265 yards and five touchdowns, matching Danny Strelkauskas' '98 record set against Chowan Nov. 15, 1997. Barnette caught a career-high three touchdowns among his eight catches for 119 yards. Joyner made five receptions for a career-high 151 yards and a touchdown. Charlie Stroup made a career- and game-high 10 tackles and recovered a fumble for Guilford.
The Quakers visit crosstown-rival Greensboro College next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the ninth edition of the Gate City Soup Bowl game at Jamieson Stadium. The Tigers play five-time defending ODAC champion Bridgewater in Hampden-Sydney next week in an important league contest.