By: Sammy Clough, Columnist
One team. One family. One Furman. After a dominating victory over The Citadel this past Saturday on Family Weekend, Furman football has lived up to these three sentences plastered on the walls of the Pearce-Horton Football Complex.
With parents, grandparents, and siblings in attendance, the Paladins improved to a 6-1 SoCon record after a 56-20 beatdown of The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday. Tied with Wofford atop the SoCon, Furman’s playoff aspirations become one step closer with only one game left in the season.
The Paladins picked up exactly where their winning streak left off despite having a bye week the weekend prior. Furman scored 35 unanswered points out of the gate to leave the Bulldogs reeling going into halftime.
After another quick score via a 26-yard touchdown run by junior Kealand Dirks, the Paladins would go on to tie their season-high score of 56 points.
The defense improved on their SoCon leading sack total by adding five sacks along with a season-high 11 tackles for loss, seven of which were recorded by freshman linebacker Reynard Ellis.
Senior quarterback P.J. Blazejowski led the offense with 204 passing yards and two touchdowns coupled with 283 yards on the ground led by running backs Antonio Wilcox and Kealand Dirks.
The one-two punch that Wilcox and Dirks have provided Furman this season gives the Paladins the most potent total offense in the SoCon this season, one spot ahead of the Samford Bulldogs whom Furman will close their season with.
Due to the great offensive output by the starters, the Paladins had the opportunity to get many of their back-up players experience and exposure in front of the droves of family and friends in attendance at Paladin Stadium.
Quarterbacks Harris Roberts and Reece Vita both got experience under center on Saturday as the Paladins will begin looking for their replacement of senior sensation Blazejowski following his graduation.
The even offensive attack, dominating defensive performance, and overall participation in Saturday’s crucial win in the last home game of the regular season further cemented the Paladin’s mantra throughout the season.
The Paladins will close regular season play in Birmingham on Nov. 18 as they face the Samford Bulldogs in the hopes of reaching the postseason.