GREENSBORO, N.C. – With reigning National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry looking on, Guilford College's football team put on an all-star performance in Saturday's 58-21 Homecoming football win over visiting Averett University Saturday.
Guilford (3-0) is ranked 25th in this week's D3football.com Top 25 Poll and 21st in the latest Division III HeroSports.com rankings.
Curry, akin to Averett head coach Cleive Adams, saw Quakers' senior quarterback Matt Pawlowski complete 23-of-27 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters of work. Three of his scores went to Adam Smith, which made the senior Guilford's career touchdown receptions leader with 35.
Two first-quarter touchdown runs by Josh Schow helped Guilford to a 21-8 lead after one quarter. The Cougars' Kelly Hall connected with Myles Bennett from 18 yards out to make it a 21-14 game early in the second before Pawlowski and Smith took over. The pair first connected on a 13-yard scoring strike midway through the quarter.
After Guilford's defense stuffed the Cougars (0-3) on a fourth-and-goal from the one, Pawlowski led his charges 99 yards in 10 plays before connecting with Smith on an improbable touchdown 35 seconds before halftime. Pawlowski's pass was intended for Daniel Woodruff near the goal line. Woodruff got an hand on the underthrown ball, as did Averett defender Jamal Forney, who tipped the ball up, enabling the opportunistic Smith to pluck the pigskin out of the air and stroll into the end zone. Smith caught a two-point conversion pass from Pawlowski to give Guilford an insurmountable 35-14 lead.
The Quakers' defense shut down Averett in the second half and allowed just one Cougars' first down in that time. Averett running back Ray Brown recovered a wild pass from center in his own end zone where he was tackled by Daytwyn Rascoe for a safety that gave Guilford a 51-14 edge.
De'Eric Bell's four-year touchdown run capped an eight-play scoring drive on the ensuing possession and ended Guilford's scoring for the night with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
Both teams substituted liberally in the final quarter when Averett's Michael Reives returned a Quakers' fumble94 yards for a touchdown, which provided the final margin.
Bell ran for 115 yards on 15 carries. Jalen Wiley added a career-high 87 rushing yards on 11 fourth-quarter carries. Smith's 11 catches for 195 yards and career-high three scores paced the receivers. Chad Christopher added eight grabs for 100 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown catch that opened the game's scoring. Rascoe paced the Quakers' defense with 12 tackles, one sack and four stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Averett's Hall completed 24-of-35 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown. Terrance Owens II made five catches for 90 yards and teammate Bennett added five grabs for 67 yards and a touchdown. Hall led the Cougars' ball carriers with 32 yards on 16 carries as Averett managed only 36 rushing yards on the night. Hunter Shepherd shared game-high tackles honors with 12.
Following a bye week, coach Chris Rusiewicz's Quakers open Old Dominion Athletic Conference play Oct. 3 at Washington and Lee University.
Note: Stephen Curry played against the Quakers' basketball team in 2008 as a star at Davidson College. He had 29 points, 10 assists and nine steals in the Division I Wildcats' lopsided 107-83 win over Division III Guilford… an overflow crowd of an estimated 2,850 fans witness the Quakers' first home game of the year.