CHARLOTTE – Gardner-Webb's Tyrell Maxwell was named Big South Conference Football Offensive Player of the Week Monday afternoon, as selected by the league office.
Maxwell (Cordova, S.C. / Edisto HS) led the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 31-6 win on the road at Elon, opening the 2016 season in record-breaking style.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior broke the Big South Conference record for most career games with at least 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing – doing so for the third time in the past two seasons. Maxwell also shattered the GWU career rushing record for quarterbacks, moving past Nick Roberts (1,182 yards) with Saturday's effort.
Maxwell now has 1,203 career rushing yards on 273 attempts to go with eight touchdowns. He has passed for 1,176 yards and seven scores.
Maxwell carried 21 times for 154 yards and a touchdown against the Phoenix, and complimented his rushing total by completing 12-of-19 passes for 102 yards. His yards on the ground were the most in a game by a quarterback so far this season at the Division I level – FCS or FBS – and his 256 yards of total offense were the most in the Big South Conference on opening weekend.
He averaged a strong 7.3 yards per carry and accounted for 16 first downs running and passing in the game.
With the game tied, 3-3, Maxwell dominated the decisive third quarter.
He took over the game, rambling for 82 yards on just five carries in that period alone, while completing 75 percent of his pass attempts (3-of-4). His 28-yard dash down the home sideline set up a 1-yard scoring run for Khalil Lewis on the initial drive of the second half to give Gardner-Webb the lead for good.
Maxwell added a 34-yard run to convert a third down on a drive that finished with another short Lewis touchdown and a 17-6 lead. Maxwell extended the lead himself early in the fourth quarter, going in from four yards out for a 24-6 advantage.
Maxwell was his most efficient on third down, completing 4-of-5 passing attempts in those situations (80 percent). All four of those completions went for first downs. Maxwell also ran for nine first downs, with two of those runs coming in third down situations. He had a 15-yard dash on a 4th-and-1 conversion as well.
The rushing total was the second-best of Maxwell's career and marked the eighth-best in the history of the Big South Conference for a quarterback.
Maxwell's masterful operation of the offense led to 327 yards rushing for GWU – its most in a game since going for 366 on November 3, 2007 vs. Savannah State. The 'Dogs totaled 29 first downs, averaged 5.7 yards per play and controlled the clock for more than 37 minutes.
Gardner-Webb also turned in a sizzling 8-of-13 (63%) effort on third downs Saturday behind Maxwell's lead.
The win was the program's first on the road over a team from the CAA since 2000 (No. 23 New Hampshire) and first road win against Elon since 1992.
Gardner-Webb (1-0) faces a difficult road test in its next game. The 'Dogs travel two hours west to take on Southern Conference contender Western Carolina in Cullowhee, N.C. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm in Whitmire Stadium.