GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Coming off a bye week following a 52-7 road victory over East Tennessee State on Oct. 15, Furman returns to action this Saturday when it travels to Lexington, Va., to take on the VMI Keydets in a Southern Conference football showdown at Foster Stadium.
Kickoff for the ESPN3 broadcast event is set for 1:30 p.m.
The contest will be radio broadcast over the Furman IMG Sports Network, headed up by flagship station FoxSports 1440/Greenville. Fans can also listen via in-stadium transmitter (107.7 FM) and over TuneIn.com, which is accessible through FurmanPaladins.com.
StatBroadcast live stats driven by ETSU will be available through FurmanPaladins.com
Fans can follow the contest via Twitter @PaladinFootball and @Furman Paladins
Furman (1-6, 1-3 SoCon) broke through in the win column in a big way against ETSU, halting a nine-game losing skid behind the strong play of fifth-year senior quarterback Reese Hannon, who completed 16-of-18 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns in a little over two quarters of play. The Greer, S.C., native threw touchdown strikes of 28, 9, and 56 yards to help Furman shake off its first quarter doldrums and guided the Paladins to two more scores in the second period en route to a 35-0 halftime advantage.
Furman led 49-0 after three periods and capped its scoring outburst with a Jon Croft Hollingsworth 46-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers avoided the shutout by scoring with a little over a minute to go against Paladin reserves.
The Paladin offense operated at peak efficiency, scoring on its first eight possessions before running out the game clock on its ninth possession of the contest.
Hannon's stellar play at ETSU extended his recent stretch of impressive productivity that has seen him complete 65.4 percent of his passes (100-for-153) for 1,203 yards and 13 touchdowns over the last four games. In a 301-yard, two-touchdown performance against Samford on Oct. 8, he became Furman's career passing (6,651 yards) and total offense (6,657 yards) leader.
A favorite target for Hannon of late has been fifth-year senior wide receiver Andrej Suttles (35 rec., 518 yds., 6 TDs), who caught four passes for 128 yards, including scoring strikes covering 28 and 56 yards, against ETSU. The Dallas, Ga., product currently stands second all-time in receptions (169) and receiving yards (2,333), and is sixth in touchdown catches (14).
All told Furman rushed for 198 yards and finished with 511 yards in total offense versus ETSU — both season highs.
Defensively, the Paladins got a huge lift with the return of veteran senior linebackers Carl Rider and Byron Johnson. The duo, who had missed the previous two contests due to injuries, combined to account for 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for-loss, and a sack against the Buccaneers. The owner of 30 career starts, Rider is Furman's active tackles leader with 306 career stops, and Johnson, with 21 career starts, has accumulated 162 tackles in his career.
Redshirt sophomore Chinedu Okonya has come on for the Paladins at defensive end, earning starts in three of the last four games, highlighted by a team leading eight tackle, two-sack performance against ETSU.
VMI (3-4, 1-3 SoCon) has dropped its last two contests, falling at Samford, 55-21, on Oct. 15, and at Chattanooga, 30-13, last Saturday. The Keydets registered their last win, a 37-7 verdict, on Oct. 8 at ETSU.
VMI quarterback Al Cobb leads the Keydets' offense that mirrors Furman's in its ability to move the football through the air. The junior signal caller averages 242.4 yards per game passing and has thrown nine touchdowns this fall.
Furman, which holds a 24-9 lead in its series with VMI, topped the Keydets, 24-21, last year in Greenville. Two years ago it was a different story as VMI downed Furman, 31-15, in Lexington to halt the Paladins' 21-game series winning streak. Furman sports a 10-6 record versus VMI in Lexington.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information