Tuesday, August 3, 2021

2021 Football Preseason Preview: Furman Paladins

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2021 football opponents.

For the ninth game of the season, the Paladins travel up the mountain to face the Catamounts in this season's football Battle for Purple Supremacy.

The Cats have dropped five straight to the Paladins and are looking for a victory in Whitmire to improve on the 6-16-1 record against the Paladins in Whitmire Stadium.  

Game #9 - Furman Paladins

When: Saturday, November 6 
Time: at 2:00 pm
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video:  ESPN+
Live Stats:  WCU Live Stats
Fan Message Board:  GoPaladins

The Series:  The Cats are 12-34-2 overall against the Paladins in the series that started back in 1972. The Cats have lost 5 in a row to the Paladin, with the last win coming in 2015 in Cullowhee, by a final score of  48-10.  The Cats are 6-16-1 in games played in Cullowhee.  The Cats are 2-8 in the last 10 games against the Paladins. 

The last game played vs. Furman:  February 20, 2021 - Defense Forces Three Takeaways in Road Loss at Furman, Greenville, S.C. - Western Carolina's defense forced three takeaways with a trio of interceptions, the first leading to a Catamount touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. However, Furman used a run-oriented offense and strong defensive effort in scoring 35-unanswered points to claim the Southern Conference opener, 35-7, Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.

Games that will be played by the Paladins this season before the WCU contest:  (8 games)  The Paladins open their season with three out of conference games. Furman host Big South newcomer NC A&T in Greenville, then travel to Tenn Tech and NC State before returning to Travelers Rest to host SoCon foe, Mercer.  Furman then travels north on I-85 a few miles to face Wofford, then returns home for two conference games. They host The Citadel and ETSU before traveling to Chattanooga and then on to Cullowhee.  

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 league title in the regular-season finale en route to finishing a consensus No. 20 in two major FCS polls.

Clay Hendrix's record vs. WCU:  4 - 0
Kerwin Bell's record vs. Furman:  0 - 0

Last Season's Record (Furman): 3-4 overall, 2-1 home, 1-3 away, 3-4 in the SoCon - In spring 2021, the Paladins had conference wins over WCU, Samford, & ETSU.  

Offensive Formation:  Multiple (option - flexbone look)
Defensive Formation:   3-4
Starters returning/lost:    21  /  3
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  9  /  2
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10  /  1
Specialist - Returning/Lost:  2  /  0

The Paladins completed the spring season with a 3-4 record, received All-Southern Conference football honors after the spring season and return for fall. Three Paladins — offensive tackle Anderson Tomlin, tight end Ryan Miller, and cornerback Darius Kearse — led the way by earning first-team accolades.  Securing second-team laurels were tailback Devin Wynn, nose guard Cameron Coleman, and punter Timmy Bleekrode.  In addition, two Paladins, offensive guard Jacob Johanning and linebacker Nicky Kuzemka landed spots on the All-Freshman Team.

In the fall preseason, the Paladins were picked third in a football preseason poll of SoCon media and 5th in the coaches poll. Five Paladins garnered preseason all-conference honors, earning a first-team all-conference tab was fifth-year running back Devin WynnNamed to the second team were redshirt junior offensive tackle Anderson Tomlin, fifth-year defensive lineman Parker Stokes, and redshirt junior cornerback Travis BlackshearTimmy Bleekrode, a redshirt junior, landed second-team honors as both a punter and placekicker.

2029-21 Furman Statistics (Spring 7 games)
Rushing Offense: 1211 yards
Yards per game: 158.7
Yards per rush: 3.5 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 61
TDs rushing: 7
Passing Offense: 1263 yards or 180.4 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 13.8 yards
Passing 1st downs: 56
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 91-176-10
TDs Passing: 12
Total Offense: 2374 yards or 339.1 ypg
3d Down Conversions: 37 of 107 (34.6%)
4th Down Conversions: 9 of 18  (50%)
Field Goal: 6 of 7
On-side kicks: 0 of 0
Red Zone Scores: 16 of 19 
Red Zone Touchdowns: 12 of 19 
Fumbles-Lost: 7 - 4
Sacks: 7

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