Furman Wins Handily in Homecoming Game
By James Hughes, Contributor
Big plays were the story of the homecoming game, as Furman beat SoCon rival Samford 35-17. It was Furman’s third straight conference win and kept the Paladin’s conference title hopes alive.
Just before the end of the first half, Paladin receiver Andrej Suttles snagged a pass from QB Reese Hannon, made defenders miss, and ran downfield into the end zone for a 85-yard score. Not to be outdone, linebacker Marcus McMorris hauled in a fourth quarter interception and ran for a 89-yard defensive score. Other players got involved in the passing game as well, with RB Tanner Skogen tossing a 46-yard touchdown pass to add to Furman’s lead.
Surprisingly, Samford outgained Furman on both the ground, 159-117, and through the air, 372-219. Despite being outgained in yardage and time of possession, Furman never trailed after scoring midway through the first quarter.
Bulldog QB Andy Summerlin threw 69 passes and completed 44 of them. However, he failed to get any into the end zone and tossed two interceptions that helped Furman stay ahead.
On the other side, three different players threw passes for the Paladins for a total of only 16 passes, completing 12 of them, including two touchdowns.
On the ground, Hank McCloud once again led the Paladins in rushing, with 70 yards on 14 carries. Four other players contributed in the rushing game, including Richard Hayes III and Marcus Anderson, both of whom had rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Marcus McMorris had a big day. Besides his interception returned for a TD, he also tallied a sack and a forced fumble that he recovered. He finished the game with 11 total tackles, which was third best on the team. Trey Robinson pulled in an interception as well, and Ira McCune and Brian Ross both registered a sack. Greg Worthy led all Furman defenders with 14 total tackles.
Furman Beats West Carolina to Move Above .500
The Furman Football team notched its third straight win after beating West Carolina 32-20. The win puts Furman (6-5, 5-2 SoCon) above .500 for the first time all season, and the team sets at 6-5 heading into its final game of the season.
The Paladins led the Catamonts from the opening possession to the final whistle, and have positioned themselves for a chance to gain a share of the Southern Conference title with a win next week against Wofford.
The obvious MVP of the game was kicker Ray Early who kicked a single game school record of six field goals. Early kicked four field goals in the first half alone, putting Furman up by 12 before West Carolina reached the end zone for the first time. The longest kick of the day came at the end of the opening drive, when Early booted a 48-yard field goal.
Early had help from his teammates as well. Wildcat quarterback Richard Hayes III hit a new career high by rushing for 144 yards on 12 carries, including an electric 60-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. His performance was the second most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback in school history.
Starting QB Reese Hannon notched 144 yards passing, going 17 of 31 with no turnovers. RB Ernie Cain scored on the ground with 3-yard run early in the second half. Defensively, nickelback Jarius Hollman led the team in solo tackles with 7. He also recorded a sack and forced a fumble. MLB Marcus McMorris also had a strong day with 8 total tackles.
Furman continued its streak of mistake-free football: the team didn’t have a single turnover but forced four fumbles and recovered two of them. The teams were fairly even as far as total offense, with Furman racking up 412 yards and Western Carolina just topping that with 434 yards. However, the Paladins also dominated in time of possession, holding onto the ball over 6 minutes longer than Western Carolina.
The Paladins will play their final regular season game at home against Wofford (5-5, 4-3 SoCon) on November 23.