GREENSBORO, N.C. – Guilford College's Matt Pawlowski threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns in the Quakers' 41-30 comeback win over Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC)-rival Emory & Henry College Saturday afternoon. The victory marked Guilford's school-record ninth win of the season and keeps the Quakers in contention for an at-large selection to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Guilford, ranked 24th in the latest American Football Coaches' Association Division III Poll, awaits the announcement of the 32-team national playoff field Sunday (11/15) at 6:00 p.m. The announcement will be made online at www.ncaa.com. As Washington and Lee University (10-0, 7-0 ODAC) earned the ODAC's automatic playoff spot, Guilford (9-1, 7-1 ODAC) must hope for one of six at-large selections to the playoffs. The Quakers entered the game ranked sixth in the NCAA's Division III South Region rankings.
Pawlowski rallied the Quakers from a 23-13 third-quarter deficit by completing 17-of-20 second-half passes for 278 yards and three scores. He guided Guilford to touchdowns on four straight second-half possessions. Sophomore De'Eric Bell ran an improvised Pawlowski shovel pass 39 yards to the end zone for the go-ahead score with 9:13 left in regulation. Bell's third touchdown of the game marked the fourth and final lead change. Tyler Hunt's point-after touchdown gave Guilford a 34-30 edge.
After the Quakers' defense forced a Wasps' punt, Pawlowski and the offense returned to mount a nine-play 66-yard scoring drive. Rontavius Miller capped the drive by outleaping his defender to catch an 18-yard touchdown from Pawlowski. Hunt's point-after provided the game's final margin.
The Wasps moved to the Quakers' 34-yard line on their next possession before Guilford's Demetrius Jones stopped Chris Thompson two yards shy of a first down on a fourth-down play. Guilford's offense returned with 1:56 left to play. The Wasps used their remaining two timeouts, but Bell moved a pile eight yards for a first down, which essentially clinched the Quakers' sixth straight win.
Pawlowski completed 36-of-47 passes in his second 400-yard passing game this year and the fourth of his career. He broke his own school record for touchdown passes in a season (39) and now has 116 career scoring tosses, seventh-best in NCAA Division III history. Senior Adam Smith caught a personal-best 15 passes for 132 yards and two scores. His 18 touchdown receptions this year broke Junior Lord's school standard set in 1997 and match Lord's record for overall touchdowns in a season set the same year. Smith's league-record 46 career touchdown catches rank 14th in Division III history.
Austen Thompson added nine catches for 83 yards and Miller had five grabs for 58 yards and a score. Bell gathered 219 all-purpose yards in addition to his three scores. He ran 17 times for a game-best 96 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 64 yards and a score and had 44 kickoff return yards, which set the Guilford season standard (736).
The Quakers' Hunter Hoots led the defense with nine tackles, including a sack. Teammate Karl Roberts added seven stops and recovered a fumble that set up Pawlowski's 27-yard touchdown pass to Smith on the third-quarter's final play. Jaylan Martin made six tackles and broke up three passes.
Emory & Henry's Kevin Saxton completed 20-of-43 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Tyree Ward had three catches for 72 yards, including an eight-yard scoring catch that gave the Wasps a 16-13 third-quarter lead. Thompson also caught three passes and ran 11 times for a team-best 74 yards. His 20-yard touchdown run gave Emory & Henry a 10-point lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. Jesse Vandyke and Nick Webb also caught touchdown passes for the Wasps.
Jaylen Simmons led an active Emory & Henry defense with two and a half of the team's seven sacks. The Wasps had six sacks in the first half. Tyler Rose registered a sack and a half. Emory & Henry's Tre'von Lightfoot made a game-high 12 tackles and returned a blocked point-after kick for two Wasps' points in the second quarter. Rasheen Williams blocked the kick and finished with seven tackles.