In last year's season finale, the Terriers gave up 27 unanswered points to the Paladins, leading to a 27-14 defeat.
The Terriers took the 2012 matchup by a score of 20-17; this tight game kept the Terriers' perfect record (5-0) alive before it was broken at Georgia Southern.
Furman, skippered by Bruce Fowler, ended 2013 with a mark of 8-6(6-2 SoCon), finishing in a three-way tie for first place with Samford and Chattanooga. The Paladins did compete in the FCS playoffs, however, as a result of holding the tiebreaker over Samford.
Furman's 2013 Season
The Terriers weren't the only team to lose to Gardner-Webb. The Runnin' Bulldogs edged Furman 28-21 to open the season. Furman's non-conference opening block continued with another touchdown loss, this time to Coastal Carolina (35-28), and a one-point victory over Presbyterian (21-20).
Just like the Terriers, Furman opened up SoCon play at The Citadel. The Paladins beat the Bulldogs by a touchdown, 24-17. Elon spoiled the home opener, defeating the Paladins 28-25. The following week, Chattanooga notched a 31-9 win at Finley Stadium.
Furman was also able to send Appalachian State (27-10) and Georgia Southern (16-14) away with losses for the final time (in the foreseeable future). These games sandwiched a visit to Death Valley to take on LSU. The Paladins took advantage of several Tiger turnovers to keep it very close, up until LSU's second-half burst that gave the Tigers a lopsided 48-16 victory.
The Paladins then closed out the regular season with three more wins, against co-champion Samford (34-27), Western Carolina (32-20), and the Terriers (27-14).
Furman defeated South Carolina State 30-20 in the first round of the FCS Playoffs, before their season was ended by the familiar Bison of North Dakota State (38-7).
Last year, we struggled in the second half against the Paladins. This wasn't the first time this kind of thing has taken place; in 2012, our offense was nonexistent in the second half, and we narrowly escaped with a three-point victory.
That seemed to be one of the major problems in not only our season-closing block of four losses, but additionally in our down-to-the wire wins against Elon and at Western Carolina. Also, we've had a problem with our opponents capitalizing on our mistakes, but we have been unable to do the same.
Hopefully, this year will be different. Perhaps we can get something going on offense, while continuing to cultivate our defense and take advantage of any and all opportunities that come our way.
This will be a tough football game, featuring two hard-nosed squads. The Terriers need to keep tabs on the option and make sure to take heed of the words of the Van Halen song "Right Now": "miss the beat, you lose the rhythm, and nothing falls into place."