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Furman Falls To Citadel In Season Finale, 42-20

Jerodis Williams
Jerodis Williams

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- VanDyke Jones rushed for 74 yards and three touchdowns to lift The Citadel to a 42-20 win over Furman Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium in the 92nd clash between the two long-time Southern Conference rivals.

Jones scored on touchdown runs of 25, 14, and 7 yards in helping the Bulldogs (7-4, 5-3 SoCon) claim their first win in Greenville since 1998, halting a streak of six consecutive defeats.  The loss was the worst in points differential suffered by the Paladins (3-8, 2-6 SoCon) to The Citadel since 1974 and saddled Furman with its first three-win campaign since 1994.

"We took a step back today," said Paladin head coach Bruce Fowler.  "I'm very disappointed with our effort, and I take full responsibility for the result.  We got whipped in every phase of the game and just didn't step up."

After Ray Early's 37-yard field goal pulled Furman to within 21-20 midway through the third quarter, the contest turned on a fake punt executed by Citadel's Cass Couey, who bolted up the middle and then to the outside for 18 yards to the Bulldog 48.  Eight plays later Dalton Trevino took an option pitch around left end for 17 yards into the end zone to stretch the Bulldogs' advantage to 28-20.

Furman managed only three yards on the ensuing possession, and following a punt The Citadel covered 85 yards in nine plays to break the game open on a Ben Dupree 28-yard scoring strike to Domomic Jones at the 11:03 mark of the final period.

The Bulldogs wrapped up their second half scoring outburst with Jones' third touchdown run of the contest, a 7-yard burst around left end, to make it 42-20.

The Citadel posted a 157-42 advantage in total offense in the decisive second half, dealing Furman its ninth fourth quarter shutout of the campaign.

An interception by Furman cornerback Reggie Thomas on the game's first offensive play gave the Paladins the ball at The Citadel 38 and set up a 1-yard scoring run by Jerodis Williams less than four minutes into the contest.

That was followed by a 75-yard kickoff return by the Bulldogs' Keith Gamble to the Furman 25 and Jones' first scoring run on the next play, off an option pitch, that helped tie the game at 7-7 a scant 18 seconds following the Paladins' opening tally.

A Nick Willis interception and 9-yard return to the Furman 45 led to the Bulldogs second touchdown in less than a minute, when quarterback Ben Dupree raced 45 yards on an option keeper for the score to put the Bulldogs up 14-7.

Furman tied it up at 14-14 on a Hank McCloud 8-yard scoring run and took a 17-14 lead on a career tying 52-yard Ray Early field goal with 5:14 remaining in the first half.

The Paladins appeared set to take a lead into intermission, but with less than two minutes to go the Bulldogs' Austin Boyle pounced on a fumble by Furman's Gary Robinson at the Paladin 24.  Three plays later Jones scored on a 14-yard run to help send The Citadel into halftime ahead, 21-17.

Williams led all rushers with 103 yards on 18 carries to close his Paladin career with 3,097 yards, good for fifth all-time in program history.  Hank McCloud added 12 rushes for 92 yards for the Paladins.

Dupree paced a Citadel ground attack that netted 309 yards and five touchdowns with 12 carries for 84 yards and a score.  Darien Robinson followed Jones' 74-yard performance with 12 carries for 64 yards  to top 1,000 yards on the season.

Dakota Derrick, seeing his first action since being sidelined with a shoulder injuruy in game two of the season, came on for injured Paladin starting quarterback Reese Hannon in the second quarter to pass for 65 yards, completing 7-of-17 attempts.

The Citadel's James Riley led all tacklers with 12 stops while Mitch McGrath paced Furman with 10 tackles.