Greensboro, N.C. (10/27/07) -- Sophomore running back Zak Thornton ran for 262 yards and four touchdowns in Randolph-Macon College's 34-16 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win at Guilford College Saturday afternoon. The win gives Randolph-Macon (7-1) seven wins for the first time since 1998 and keeps the Yellow Jackets atop the league standings with a 4-0 mark. Guilford slips to 4-4 (0-4 ODAC) with its fourth loss in five games.
Thornton carried 41 times and matched the ODAC's seventh-highest single-game rushing total. He gained 194 second-half yards and ran for three fourth-quarter scores as the Yellow Jackets broke open a 14-10 game with 20 points in the final quarter. Thornton's career-high rushing yardage is the fourth-highest single-game total in NCAA Division III this year, pending the outcome of this weekend's games.
The Yellow Jackets' top-rated defense forced four turnovers, three of which led to Randolph-Macon scores. After the first of two Guilford goal-line stands, the Yellow Jackets' Eric Dardozzi picked off Guilford quarterback Josh Vogelbach at the Quakers' 30-yard line. He returned it four yards and two plays later, Thornton scored from nine yards out for a 7-3 Randolph-Macon lead, which was the where the score stayed at halftime.
The Quakers' defense stopped Randolph-Macon on downs at the Guilford eight-yard line on the third quarter's opening possession. The Yellow Jackets' defense held on the ensuing possession, forcing a short Guilford punt. Three Thornton carries down to the Quakers' four-year line set up a four-yard scoring pass from sophomore Brandon Braner to junior tight end Stuart May with 8:18 left in the quarter. Rookie Scott Shope's extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-3 edge.
Guilford answered with a 14-play, 78-yard scoring drive capped by redshirt freshman running back Justin Parker's one-yard scoring run. Sophomore Hunter Chappell's point after made it a 14-10 game, but the Quakers drew no closer. Randolph-Macon junior cornerback Scott Ahonen picked off Vogelbach at the Quakers' 31-yard line and returned it 12 yards late in the third quarter. Thornton took over and carried twice before scoring from one yard out on the fourth quarter's opening play. The point-after failed, but the Yellow Jackets had a 20-10 edge.
Randolph-Macon's Christian Stahl stopped Guilford's fake punt near midfield on the Quakers' next possession. Thornton carried five straight times and scored from 19 yards out, which led to a 27-10 Yellow Jackets' lead with 9:43 left.
Thornton scored his fourth touchdown, this one from eight yards out, with 5:05 left. Junior Hassan Shonekan's fumble recovery set up the seven-play, 57-yard scoring drive that featured six Thornton carries for 47 yards.
Thornton had a hand in 41 of Randolph-Macon's 65 offensive plays and increased his season rushing total to a league-high 1,251 yards. Braner completed eight-of-12 passes for 100 yards with one score. May hauled in four passes for 67 yards. Dardozzi paced the Yellow Jackets' defense with 13 tackles (9 solo), an interception and two breakups. Shonekan recovered two fumbles and made nine tackles.
Vogelbach, who entered the game as NCAA Division III's leading passer, completed 36-of-58 passes for 389 yards and a score. He passed the 300-yard passing plateau for the 18th time in his 28-game college career. Vogelbach moved into 11th place among NCAA Division III's career touchdown leaders with his 101st scoring pass, a late six-yard toss to senior Joe Joyner. Junior receiver Kevin Vaughn made 10 catches for 179 yards. Teammate Chad Kastor added nine receptions for 73 yards. Juniors Danny Langston and Mike Six made 10 stops apiece to lead the defense.
Randolph-Macon visits Bridgewater College next Saturday in a 1:00 p.m. ODAC match. The Quakers close their 2007 road schedule at Catholic University of America at noon.