Sunday, February 14, 2021

Game #1 - Furman Paladins

Fr the first game of the spring season, the Cats travel down the mountain to Travelers Rest, SC for the spring 2021 football edition of The Battle for Purple Supremacy.

The Cats have dropped four straight to the Paladins and are looking for a victory in Paladin Stadium.

Game #1 - Furman Paladins

When: Saturday, February 20 at 2 pm
Where: Paladin Stadium, Travelers Rest, SC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcers:  Gary Ayers, Daniel Hooker, & Greg McLamb
TV/video: ESPN+
-announcersMark Childress, PBP; Bryant Lambert, analyst; Erin Summers, sideline
Furman Message BoardGoPaladins

Furman attendance policy"Furman will operate in Phase IV, which allows football season ticket holders to attend the Feb. 20 contest, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Paladin Stadium.  In addition, tickets for parents and families of Furman players, and for a limited number of students, faculty, and staff, will be provided for the game.  There will be no game-day ticket sales."

The Series:  The Cats are 12-32-2 overall against the Paladins in the series that started back in 1972. The Cats have lost 4 in a row to the Paladins, with the last win coming in 2015 in Cullowhee, by a final score of  48-10.  Coach Speir is 2-6 overall vs. the Paladins.

Game Notes:   Western Carolina    -     Furman

The last game played vs. Furman:  October 26, 2019 - Second Half Surge Lifts No. 14 Furman over Western CarolinaCullowhee, N.C. – Upset-minded Western Carolina went toe-to-toe with No. 14 Furman over the opening two quarters on a rain-soaked Homecoming Saturday afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. However, in the end, the nationally-ranked Paladins used a strong second-half defensive effort and a ball-control offense to bounce back with a road win, fending off the Catamounts, 28-7.

Games that will be played by the Paladins this season before the WCU contest:  This is the opening game of the spring season for both teams, the Paladins did not play a fall schedule

Head CoachClay Hendrix - Introduced as Furman’s new head football coach on December 19, 2016, Clay Hendrix in three seasons has reinvigorated a Paladin football program accustomed to success. Hendrix, a former standout Paladin offensive guard and assistant coach who returned to his alma mater following a decade as an assistant coach at the US Air Force Academy, directed Furman to an 8-5 campaign and Football Championship (FCS) playoff appearance in 2017, improving on a three-win 2016 season and defying a preseason No. 7 Southern Conference tab by playing for a share of the league title in the regular-season finale en route to finishing a consensus No. 20 in two major FCS polls.

Last Season's Record (Furman): 8-5 overall, 5-1 home, 3-4 away, 6-2 in the SoCon - In 2019, the Paladins had conference wins over WCU, Mercer, ETSU, Samford, Chattanooga, and VMI.

Offensive Formation:  Multiple (option - flexbone look)
-2019 Offensive:  33.5 ppg. (23rd in FCS)
Defensive Formation:   3-4
-2019 Defensive:  20.5 ppg (14th in FCS)
Starters returning/lost:    14  /  8

Furman is the preseason pick to win the Southern Conference by league media and is the No. 8 pick in the HERO Sports FCS Preseason Poll. The Paladins are coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2019 that saw them post a 6-2 SoCon slate en route to an at-large berth to the FCS playoffs. The Paladins return 14 starters and 47 lettermen from that squad, which finished the season ranked inside the top 25 nationally. Furman earned a spot in the 2020 HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top 25, checking in at Nos. 14.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Paladins return QB Darren Grainger (79-for-161, 1,222 yards, 13 TD, 93 rushes, 316 yards, 5 TD), TB Devin Wynn (179 rushes, 1182 yards, 14 TD), and RB Devin Abrams (100 rushes, 615 yards, 6 TD)

Defensively, Furman returns, LB Braden Gilby (70 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 1 PBU), DB Travis Blackshear (59 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2 PBU, 2 INT, 1.0 sacks), and BAN Adrian Hope (40 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries).

Paladin standouts Adrian Hope and Devin Wynn were named to the HERO Sports 2020 Preseason All-American teams.

2019 Furman Statistics
Rushing Offense: 3434 yards
Yards per game: 264.2
Yards per rush: 6.0 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 157
TDs rushing: 39
Passing Offense: 1880 yards or 144.6 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 7.6 yards
Passing 1st downs: 76
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 131-248-6
TDs Passing: 16
Total Offense: 5348 yards or 408.8 ypg
3d Down Conversions: 73/160
4th Down Conversions: 9-19
Field Goal: 13 of 16
On-side kicks: 1 of 3
Red Zone Scores: 40 of 44 (91%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 37 of 44 (84%)
Avg per punt:  43.8 yards
Fumbles-Lost: 18-9
Sacks: 26