Nov. 22, 2008
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Ben Widmyer ran for two touchdowns and passed for another score to lead FCS ninth-ranked Wofford to a 35-10 Southern Conference victory over 20th-ranked Furman Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium.
Widmyer ran 11 times for 80 yards and scored on runs of 19 and four yards, and the senior quarterback completed 8-of-11 passes for 125 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown strike, to pace Wofford (9-2, 7-1 SoCon).
The triumph was the second straight for Wofford (9-2, 7-1 SoCon) over Furman (7-5, 4-4 SoCon) but the Terriers' first in Spartanburg over the Paladins since 1998, breaking a four-game Furman winning streak at Gibbs Stadium.
"I want to compliment Wofford and coach Mike Ayers on their victory. They are very difficult to defend, and they proved that again today," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "I thought the big turning point in the game was when we went for it on fourth-and-two (late in the second quarter) and didn't get it, and they turned around and went down the field and scored just before the half. Instead of possibly being tied at halftime, we were down bascially two touchdowns. That really put us in the hole, and we never recovered."
Wofford rushed for 313 yards in the contest, led by Dane Romero' game high 97 yards. The Terriers outgained Furman 438-365.
Furman managed 139 yards on the ground, including a team high 10-carry, 90-yard effort by Mike Brown. Redshirt freshman Sederrik Cuningham collected a career high 11 passes for 89 yards and rushed for 28 yards on five carries for the Paladins.
Furman grabbed an early 7-0 lead, taking the opening kickoff and covering 72 yards in five plays. A Mike Brown 55-yard run to the Wofford 9 was followed three plays later by a Brantley Kendall 1-yard plunge into the end zone less than three minutes into the game.
Wofford was forced to punt on its first possession, but the Terriers oiled up their offensive machine on their second possession, moving 64 yards in 15 plays and converting a pair of fourth down plays along the way before Dane Romero scored on a 5-yard run with 2:30 to go in the first quarter to knot the game at 7-7.
The Terriers took the lead for good on their next possession with an 12-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 19-yard touchdown run on an option keeper by quarterback Ben Widmyer at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter.
Furman appeared poised to answer back after taking the ensuing kickoff and moving from their own 26 to the Wofford 4. After Tank Baker was stopped for no gain on a third-and-two play, the Paladins went for it on fourth down with a direct snap play to Sederrik Cuningham, but the freshman was tackled at the line of scrimmage.
After taking over possession with 3:03 to go in the half, Wofford turned in seveal big plays for their last strike of the first half. A 37-yard pass from Widmyer to tight end Fenn Allen gave the Terriers a first down at the Furman 49. Four plays later Widmyer beat a Paladin blitz by finding Andy Strickland alone behind the Paladin defense for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds to go on the first half for a 21-7 lead.
Furman used a 32-yard Matthew Cesari field goal of the final play of the half to make it 21-10, but that would be it for the Paladin offense, which turned the ball over on downs on all four of its second half possessions, including stops at the Wofford 16, 38, 3, and 36.
The Terriers, meanwhile, padded their lead with a pair of second half touchdowns, tallying once in both the third and four periods.
Playing in the final game of his Paladin career, free safety Thomas Twitty racked up a game high 16 tackles.
Saturday's contest marked the final game for 17 Paladin seniors, who exit Furman with a four-year overall record of 32-17 and 19-10 Southern Conference mark.