GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Two weeks into the 2017 season and looking for its first victory, Furman's football team faces a stern test this Saturday when it travels to Raleigh, N.C., to face the N.C. State Wolfpack in a 12:20 p.m. ACC Network televised contest at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Click here for a complete TV channel listing of Saturday's Furman-N.C. State game.
Furman (0-2), which dropped its season opener to Wofford, 24-23, on Sept. 2 and fell to Elon, 34-31, last Saturday on a field goal in the closing seconds, hopes its series history with N.C. State (1-1) continues in the same fashion it did the last time the two programs met, in 1985. In that contest Furman dispensed with N.C. State, 42-20, to back up a 34-30 triumph over the Wolfpack in 1984. The Paladins own an 8-4-4 all-time record versus N.C. State, including a 7-2-1 mark in Raleigh.
First-year Furman head coach Clay Hendrix, a starting offensive guard for the Paladins in both the 1984 & '85 wins over N.C. State, began his coaching career with the Wolfpack as a graduate assistant under then-new head coach Dick Sheridan, who rode Furman's two wins over N.C. State, six Southern Conference championships, and a 12-2 finish in 1985 to the Wolfpack's head coaching position in 1986. Hendrix was on staff at N.C. State for two seasons before returning to Furman in 1988 as offensive line coach.
N.C. State (1-1) dropped a 35-28 season opening verdict to South Carolina but rebounded to thrash Marshall, 37-10, last Saturday. The Wolfpack went 7-6 a year ago, capped by a 41-17 Independence Bowl triumph over Vanderbilt.
Furman's early season frustration stems from the fact the Paladins are a whisker from being 2-0. After seeing a 17-10 fourth quarter lead slip away against FCS 10th-ranked Wofford, the Paladins scored with 46 seconds remaining to pull within 24-23 but couldn't convert a potential game winning two-point play. Last Saturday against Elon, the Paladins overcame a 21-0 first quarter deficit to take a 31-24 third quarter lead, only to see the Phoenix tally the game's final 10 points, including a game wining 36-yard field goal with five seconds on the clock.
Furman showcases a balanced offensive attack that has generated 208.5 yards rushing and 181.0 yards passing through two games. The ground game is paced by redshirt freshman tailback Darius Morehead, who ran for 78 yards and a touchdown against Elon, and the point man in the Paladin passing attack is senior quarterback P.J. Blazejowski (18x37, 362 yds., TD). Sophomore Thomas Gordon, a Charlotte native (Mallard Creek H.S.), has been Blazejowski's top target, highlighted by a 77-yard touchdown strike against Elon.
Defensively, Furman sports a young cast of starters that includes just one senior, weak side linebacker Adekunle Olusanya, who leads the unit with 21 tackles along with redshirt freshman bandit Chris Washington.
The Paladins' 44-man two-deep (offense and defense) against N.C. State features eight seniors, 10 juniors, 11 sophomores, and 15 freshmen.
Saturday's radio broadcast will be carried over the Furman IMG Sports Network, headed up by flagship station Fox Sports 1440. It will also be streamed through FurmanPaladins.com and via the Tune-In and iHeart applications. Dan Scott, "The Voice of the Paladins", is set to deliver the play-by-play, and he will be joined in the booth by analyst David Cobb. Former Paladin defensive back standout Marcus McMorris will provide sideline reports.
Fans wishing to sit in the Furman section of Carter Finley Stadium may purchase tickets here.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information