GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Coming off a solid 45-24 Southern Conference victory over Western Carolina, the Furman Paladins (2-3, 1-1 SoCon) will make the short trek to Spartanburg this Saturday to take on the FCS fifth-ranked Wofford Terriers (4-0, 2-0 SoCon) in the 86th renewal of South Carolina's oldest football rivalry. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Gibbs Stadium.
The game will be broadcast over Furman Sports Network Greenville flagship station WOLT-FM 103.3, Upstate affiliate WGOG-FM 96.3, as well as stadium transmitter at FM 105.9. Live stream audio will be presented online by StretchAudio through Furman All-Access at www.FurmanPaladins.com. Live stats will also be provided through www.furmanpaladins.com and in-game twitter updates available at twitter.com/FurmanPaladins
"We've obviously got a big challenge this week in going to Wofford to play one of the top five teams in the country," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler, whose Paladins are in search of a third straight win. "They are solid in every phase of the game and have been that way for several years. They do a really good job over there preparing and playing hard — all the things you want to see out of your team. We'll have to have a good week of practice and preparation."
Furman defeated Wofford last year, 26-21, in Greenville and has won two of the last three meetings, five of the last eight, and 12 of the last 17 encounters since the two Upstate schools resumed their long-time series on an annual basis in 1995. Wofford has won the last two clashes in Spartanburg, however, including a 38-17 triumph in 2010.
The Terriers and Paladins played the first collegiate game in state history in 1889, and over the years Furman has forged a 51-27-7 series lead.
After an 0-3 start, Furman has rebounded with wins over Presbyterian (31-21) and Western Carolina (45-24) and will try to even its season record against the Terriers, who remained perfect in 2012 with a 49-24 pasting of Elon last Saturday.
The Paladins' surge the last two weeks has been fueled by a ground game headlined by senior All-SoCon running back Jerodis Williams (95 att., 645 yds., 5 TDs), who ran for a career high 239 yards and two touchdowns against Western Carolina. In addition to his rushing exploits, Williams also recorded a 100-yard kickoff return — the sixth in school history — en route to 370 all-purpose yards against the Catamounts, the second highest single game tally in SoCon history.
It hasn't been a one-man show, however, as sophomore running back Hank McCloud is coming off back-to-back career high performances. After rushing for three touchdowns versus PC, McCloud racked up 20 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, part of season best 389-yard rushing yard haul by the Paladins against Western Carolina.
Furman will attempt to keep Wofford off balance with a passing game executed by true freshman quarterback Reese Hannon, the SoCon's passing efficiency leader (150.90 rating) who has thrown for over 200 yards in each of his four collegiate games. Against Western Carolina, the Greer, S.C., product threw for 230 yards and a touchdown, which covered 70 yards to senior wide receiver Will King (21 rec., 407 yds., 3 TDs), the squad's leading receiver. Another favorite target will be All-America tight end Colin Anderson (15 rec., 242 yds.).
Wofford will present a tremendous challenge to Furman's defense, entering the contest as the top rushing team in FCS (485.2 ypg). Senior All-America running back Eric Breitenstein is coming off the greatest single game rushing performance in SoCon history, a 328-yard, two-touchdown effort in the Terriers' win over Elon.
The Paladins are paced defensively by a pair of linebackers, sophomore Gary Wilkins (46 tackles) and senior Matt Solomon (44 tackles).