Sports

Davidson scored 91 points in record-setting football win. Here’s how the Wildcats did it

Davidson’s William Wicks had 161 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 91-61 victory Thursday night against Guilford.
Davidson’s William Wicks had 161 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 91-61 victory Thursday night against Guilford.

Guilford scored first in the Quakers’ college football game Thursday night against Davidson at the Wildcats’ Richardson Stadium.

After that, however, Davidson went on a game-long offensive rampage, winning 91-61 and setting national and school records in the process.

The Wildcats (3-0) set two NCAA Football Championship Subdivision records and broke or tied six more program marks in the victory against the Division III Quakers. The FCS records were for total yards (964) and rushing yards (685).

“No, I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” said first-year Wildcats coach Scott Abell. “We thought it was a game we should win and that we should execute at a high level. Obviously, a lot of good things happened for us.”

Abell-headshot
Scott Abell is in his first season as Davidson’s football coach. Tim Cowie

Abell’s “gun-spread” offense, which he brought with him from Washington & Lee (Va.), accounted for the big numbers. The Wildcats averaged an astounding 15.5 yards per play (a school record) and they’re now averaging 58.0 points and 620.3 yards total offense in victories against teams from lower divisions (Guilford and Brevard are Division III, Chowan is Division II). Each of Davidson’s 13 touchdowns came on an offensive play.

In the gun-spread, quarterback Tyler Phelps runs the option out of the shotgun, getting the ball to players like running backs Wesley Dugger (186 yards, three touchdowns) and Coy Williams (168 yards) and slot receiver William Wicks (161 all-purpose yards, three touchdown).

“We showed some flashes in the first two games,” Abell said. “We had some explosive quarters and halves. But we hadn’t put it all together like this.”

davidson-fun
Davidson freshman running back Coy Williams (27), after scoring one of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns, celebrates with teammates Nick Snyder (81) and Tyler Soloman (88) in the Wildcats’ 91-61 nonconference football victory against Guilford on Thursday. Jeff Sochko Jeff Sochko/DavidsonPhotos.com

Abell said he pulled most of his starters after the first series of the second half. And the obvious downside of the game for Davidson were the 61 points scored by the Quakers (1-1). Guilford, incidentally, also scored the same number of points in a season-opening 61-35 victory last week against Methodist.

Abell said that with only two days to prepare for the Quakers (the game was moved to Thursday because of Hurricane Florence), some of Davidson’s backup defensive players got little practice time.

“Unfortunately, those guys don’t get a ton of reps, especially in a short week,” Abell said. “It really doesn’t matter what level of football you’re playing, if you’re not comfortable with the scheme you’re defending, it’s going to be tough. It was almost an unfair experience for some of those young guys to be thrown out there.”

It’s a happy moment for a long-downtrodden program (the Wildcats haven’t won as many as three games in a season since going 4-7 in 2011) that Abell was brought in to fix.

Things get tougher for the Wildcats, though. Davidson, which hasn’t won a Pioneer Football League game since 2016, opens its conference schedule Sept. 22 at Dayton. The Flyers (1-1) play Duquesne on Saturday.

Davidson records

NCAA, FCS

▪ Total yards (964)

▪ Rushing yards (685)

Wildcats records

▪ Yards in a half (525)

▪ Points in a half (57)

▪ Touchdowns in a game (13)

▪ Average yards per play (15.5)

▪ Rushing touchdowns in a game (10)

▪ Blocked kicks in a game, tied (3)

Davidson 91, Guilford 61

Guilford

6

20

13

22

61

Davidson

30

27

14

20

91

First Quarter

GUILF—Marshall 30 pass from Manley (kick blocked), 9:58.

DAV—Wicks 60 run (Matthews kick), 8:09.

DAV—Wicks 23 run (Matthews kick), 5:39.

DAV—Story 40 run (Matthews kick), 4:30.

GUILF—Team safety, 3:00.

DAV—Dugger 50 run (Matthews kick), 2:27.

Second Quarter

DAV—Louthan 84 pass from Phelps (kick blocked), 13:57.

GUILF—Bell 13 run (Algburi kick), 12:02.

DAV—Wicks 76 pass from Phelps (Matthews kick), 10:37.

GUILF—Johnson 15 pass from Manley (Algburi kick), 7:54.

DAV—Phelps 62 run (Matthews kick), 6:39.

DAV—Dugger 24 run (Matthews kick), 1:27.

GUILF—Smith 2 pass from Manley (kick blocked), 0:06.

Third Quarter

DAV—Dugger 38 run (Matthews kick), 12:14.

GUILF—Manley 1 run (kick blocked), 10:35.

DAV—Turner Jr. 32 run (Matthews kick), 7:57.

GUILF—Bell 2 run (Algburi kick), 0:21.

Fourth Quarter

GUILF—Bell 2 run (Lundy pass from Manley), 12:24.

DAV—Ross 74 pass from Leyendecker (kick failed), 11:01.

GUILF—Bell 2 run (Algburi kick), 7:09.

DAV—Williams 63 run (Williamson kick), 5:43.

GUILF—Reid 13 run (Algburi kick), 3:23.

DAV—Williams 58 run (Williamson kick), 1:10.

GUILF

DAV

First downs

41

26

Rushes-yards

51-320

54-685

Passing

378

279

Comp-Att-Int

25-49-0

8-8-0

Return Yards

307

19

Punts-Avg.

4-22.3

2-41.0

Fumbles-Lost

2-1

2-1

Penalty-Yards

4-35

10-142

Time of Possession

32:39

27:21

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Guilford, D. Bell 27-187, A. Manley 11-71, D. Reid 3-33, V. Glover 9-24, J. Houston 1-5. Davidson, W. Dugger 14-186, C. Williams 12-168, T. Phelps 4-91, W. Wicks 5-85, E. Turner Jr. 5-80, J. Story 3-43, G. Leyendecker 2-19, H. Byrnes 4-18, K. Ross 1-2, C. Clark 1-(minus 2), J. Bolden 1-(minus 3), L. Colosimo 1-(minus 3).

PASSING—Guilford, A. Manley 24-48-0-364, J. Ferrick 1-1-0-14. Davidson, T. Phelps 6-6-0-192, G. Leyendecker 1-1-0-74, H. Byrnes 1-1-0-13. RECEIVING—Guilford, M. Johnson 8-129, J. Smith 8-86, T. Alexander 1-45, G. Watts 2-36, D. Marshall 1-30, J. Houston 1-24, D. Bell 3-14, H. McKinnon 1-14. Davidson, H. Louthan 1-84, K. Ross 2-83, W. Wicks 1-76, J. Staples 3-30, C. Richey 1-6.

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