Football part of historic night against D-I Davidson

Guilford College defenders tackle the Davidson College ball carries in the 91-61 loss on Sept. 13. // Photo By: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

In most football games, scoring 61 points is a certain victory, but for Guilford College it turned into a 91-61 loss to NCAA Division I Davidson College, 91-61, on Thursday, Sept. 13. Davidson’s offense put up 964 offensive yards, including 685 rushing yards and scored 13 touchdowns, all school records.

The game was scheduled to be played on Sept. 15 but due to the threat of Hurricane Florence it was moved up to Thursday.

“Monday night I got a call asking if we’d be interested in possibly playing Thursday or Wednesday,” said head coach Chris Rusiewicz. “Obviously going against a triple-option I wanted the extra day, so I said we’d be willing to consider Thursday but definitely can’t do a Wednesday.”

Guilford scored the first touchdown of the game on a 30-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Manley to senior wide receiver Desmond Marshall. Davidson then put up 36 points to lead 36-6 after the first quarter.

Davidson only passed eight times in the game, and all eight passes were completed for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Davidson quarterback Tyler Phelps was 6-6 with 192 passing yards and rushed four times for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Wesley Dugger had 186 rushing yards and three touchdowns and running back Coy Williams had 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcat rushing offense. Only 14 Quakers made the 46 tackles to try and stop the Wildcat offense.

“They were in position to make a lot of plays, but they just weren’t making the best of the opportunities because they weren’t experienced around that type of offense,”  Rusiewicz said.

The Quakers offense racked up 698 total yards of offense, 378 passing and 320 rushing. Redshirt senior running back De’Eric Bell ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns.

Manley threw for 364 yards on 48 passing attempts and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Montek Johnson had eight receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.

“People aren’t taking into consideration that the reason that they had to put up that many points is because we kept scoring,” Rusiewicz said. “If that was a 31-0 game, I don’t think there’s as much conversation about the outcome of that football game.”

Senior linebacker Trevon Williams had six tackles, an extra-point block and a fumble recovery.

“When you’ve got a young group in the defense in general, there’s not a whole lot of experience back there,” Rusiewicz said. “Two days of preparation for that type of offense at that high level was a challenge and we knew that it was going to be, we were hoping our guys would play hard and do all the right things.”

While the game was high-scoring, other games this season have been high-scoring but have been blowouts.

“There were games this weekend that finished 73-7, and there was one the week before that was 91-7,” Rusiewicz said. “So for us to be 91-61 tells me that our guys fought all the way to the end and played hard.”

Through two games, Bell has 412 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns and 206 kick return yards. He averages 338 all-purpose yards through the first two games.

Manley has 568 passing yards and five touchdowns this season, as well as 123 rushing yards. He has not thrown an interception but has lost a fumble while rushing. Manley is only 36 for 75 passing, for a 48 percent completion percentage.

“(Manley) is going to continue to get better each week. Getting into conference play we’re hoping that he improves more and more each week as we get better and better each week,” Rusiewicz said. “He’s going to get much better as time comes. (He’s at) 50 percent of his completions, we’d like to see him in the mid -60’s.”

While the offense has put up a lot of points in the first two games, the defense has allowed 126 points. Junior linebacker Bryce Smith leads the team with 19 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Jarod Russ has 12 tackles, including 3.5 sacks. Russ also has forced a fumble and has 5.5 tackles for a loss.

“There’s a lot to learn before we get into conference play because that’s not how we want to play football here,” Rusiewicz said. “The potential talent on defense is very high, we’ve got ourselves a very good defensive line, we’ve got ourselves a very good linebacker core, our secondary is very young but they’re able to play, and the reality of it is, it’s now time to grow up and lick their wounds and get out there and respond from this because that’s going to tell how good we’ll be.”

The Quakers return to action on Sept. 29 when they face Bridgewater College in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference opener and homecoming game.