GREENVILLE, S.C -- Senior wide receiver Logan McCarter hauled in seven passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, and the Sevierville, Tenn., native returned a kickoff 47 yards for another score to help Furman to a 56-35 victory over East Tennessee State in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
With the victory, Furman improves to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Southern Conference. ETSU drops to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
The Paladins rushed for 308 yards and passed for 301 to post a season-high 609 yards of total offense. Quarterback P.J. Blazejowski completed 17-of-22 attempts for 301 yards and three touchdowns, while Kealand Dirks carried the ball 15 times for 100 yards. Darius Morehead added a career high 97 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a pair of touchdown runs.
"I thought we played pretty well offensively," said Furman head coach Clay Hendrix following the victory. "P.J. had a great day and managed the game very well. Other than the fumble and getting stopped down there on fourth and short at their five yard line, which we can't have, we were productive running and throwing — balanced, like we want to be."
"Defensively we did some nice things. We felt if we stopped them from running the ball, which we did, we'd have some chances to get after their quarterback. We hit him a bunch and sacked him a bunch, so I'm really proud of how our guys fought."
Trailing 17-14 midway through the second quarter, the Paladins closed the first half in strong fashion, taking the lead on a 30-yard touchdown strike from Blazejowski to tight end Andy Schumpert and then covering 70 yards in seven plays for a 3-yard scoring run from Darius Morehead with less than a minute to play for a 28-17 halftime lead.
The Paladins took command with a pair of third quarter scores. Kealand Dirks' 32-yard touchdown run on a 4th-and-two play was followed by Blazejowski's third scoring strike of the contest, a 64-yard hook-up with McCarter, who gathered in the pass over the middle, turned, and sprinted untouched into the end zone for a 42-17 advantage.
ETSU closed to within 42-27 with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Austin Herink to Vincent Lowe and 41-yard JJ Jerman field goal, but Furman quickly responded when McCarter pulled down a bounding onside kick and raced 47 yards to the end zone.
McCarter's 178 receiving yards, the most by a Paladin since 2010, marked a career high and represented the sixth highest tally in program history.
Furman, which entered the game as the SoCon leader with 11 sacks after tallying five takedowns in last Saturday's 45-14 win over Colgate, saw six players combine for the six sacks against the Buccaneers.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information