We're only in mid-September, but we've already got a strong contender for the wildest game we'll see all season, regardless of classification. It's going to be tough to top Davidson 91, Guilford 61.
That's correct. Playing in the shadow of Hurricane Florence, Davidson beat Guilford 91 to 61.
Though neither program offers scholarships, this wasn't exactly a fair fight. Guilford College is a Division III member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Davidson College competes in the FCS, non-scholarship Pioneer League.
Despite that disadvantage, Guilford actually jumped out to an early lead. After a pair of three-and-outs to open the game, Guilford drove 52 yards to take an early lead, scoring on a 30-yard pass from Alex Manley to Desmond Marshall.
And then Davidson's offense cranked up, and never really stopped from there. The Wildcats ran off 36 consecutive points to essentially put the game away a minute and change into the second quarter. After the early punt, Davidson scored touchdowns on nine of its next 10 drives, and did not punt again until midway through the third quarter.
Davidson led 30-6 after one, 57-26 at the half and 71-39 after three.
The score by quarters:
Manley led all passers, hitting 24-of-48 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions plus 11 carries for 71 yards and an additional touchdown, while De'Eric Bell rushed 27 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns.
Davidson, meanwhile, did the majority of its damage on the ground. A dozen different Wildcats combined to rush 54 times for 685 yards and 10 touchdowns. That's an average of 12.7 yards per carry, spread over a whopping 54 carries. Wesley Dugger led the rushing efforts with 14 carries for 186 yards and three touchdowns, while Coy Williams carried 12 times for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
With all that success on the ground, passing the ball was pretty easy for Davidson. Three different quarterbacks combined to throw just eight passes, but they completed all eight for 279 yards and three touchdowns. That's good for a combined quarterback rating of 516.7.
Just in case you think I'm making this up:
Davidson set FCS records for total offense (964 yards) and rushing yards (685) while setting program records for total points, points in a half (57), yards in a half (525), total touchdowns (13), yards per play (15.5), rushing touchdowns (10) and blocked kicks (four).
The teams would have combined to set Division I records for total points (152), total yards (1,662) and combined rushing yards (1,005), but the NCAA only counts games involving Division I teams.
As you might have deduced from the box score, Davidson didn't experience much resistance from Guilford's defense.
The teams played last season, Davidson won by a less insane score of 42-21.
After going 2-9 a year ago, Davidson hired Scott Abell after spending six years as the head coach at Division III Washington & Lee. The Wildcats are now 3-0 under the new staff. The Wildcats averaged 41.5 points in wins over Brevard and Chowan to open the year. After the Guilford win, their scoring average leaped to 58 points per game.
Guilford, for its part, maintained its scoring average. The Quakers were 1-0 before Thursday after beating Methodist 61-35 to open their season.