Saturday, November 15, 2014

Terriers suffer 31-14 setback to Furman in lackluster outing

On Saturday afternoon at Greenville's Paladin Stadium, the Furman Paladins (3-8, 2-4 SoCon) bested the visiting Wofford Terriers (5-5, 3-3 SoCon) by a score of 31-14.

The loss marked the second consecutive week in which the Terriers, who fell 31-13 at UT-Chattanooga last Saturday, kept a close halftime score but subsequently failed to score in the second half. Both teams came into the contest, the 125th anniversary of the squad's first tilt in 1889, hoping to salvage something from less-than-expected campaigns so far.

Furman, led by quarterback freshman quarterback P.J. Blazejowski, scored on their very first possession, when Jordan Snellings stretched a relatively short reception into a sixty-one yard touchdown.

The Terriers, who were without team-leading running back Lorenzo Long in the first quarter due to a violation of team rules, played Chase Nelson instead and despite the efforts of the freshman from Alpharetta, Ga., along with those of Ray Smith and quarterback Michael Weimer, the Paladin defense found a way to stop Wofford on the Terriers' first two possessions.

Another pass-heavy drive for Furman, which went thirty-two yards in seven plays before being halted on a long third-down play, ended in a 44-yard field goal from freshman Jon Croft Hollingsworth that put the Paladins up 10-0.

After serving his quarter-long suspension, Lorenzo Long quickly helped put the Terriers on the scoreboard, punching in a touchdown from a yard out. When Terrance Morris sacked Blazejowski on the Paladins' ensuing possession, the ball came out and was recovered by Steven Cornellier on the Furman 22-yard line. Long, aided by the blocking power of Tarek Odom, who had a carry for no gain the play before, scored from the two-yard line to give Wofford its first advantage of the contest.

Furman's next drive ended due to the increasing power of the Wofford defense, but the ball was given right back when Weimer's pitch to Ray Smith bounced off of him and was recovered by a Furman defender.

Blazejowski was able to score from one yard out, giving the Paladins a halftime lead of 17-14.

The Paladins started out the second half strong, moving seventy-seven yards in nine plays, due largely to the contributions of Hank McCloud, senior running back who scored from the one.

Wofford's next drive ended prematurely, as a mishandled exchange between Weimer and Long put the football, which was recovered by Furman's Brian Ross, on the ground.

Furman punted on their ensuing possession, and the Terriers began to drive, with rushes of twenty-nine (Will Gay) and thirteen (Ray Smith), before they were again stopped by the Furman defense and turned it over on downs, as Weimer's throw on fourth-and-seven fell incomplete after being tipped by a Paladin defender.

The teams traded punts, then Furman put the game out of reach with a 59-yard connection to Andrej Suttles for a touchdown.

The Terriers were outgained by Furman, 381-300; 281 of Wofford's yards came on the ground, as they averaged 5.2 yards per rush on 54 rushing attempts. Wofford made nineteen first downs, were 7-for-12 on third downs, and went 0-for-2 on fourth-down conversions. The Terriers were flagged for five penalties, all in the first half, and lost two fumbles. Furman won today's time-of-possession battle, 30:56-29:04.

Ray Smith led the squad in rushing with 130 yards on fifteen carries. Lorenzo Long added 55 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns on his thirteen carries, while Will Gay gained 46 yards on five carries, and Chase Nelson had 40 yards on seven carries.

Michael Weimer only attempted eight passes, completing two of them for just nineteen yards. The two receivers were Nick Colvin (12 yards) and Will Irwin (7 yards).

Nick Colvin, along with his 22 rushing yards, gained 77 yards on three kickoff returns. David Marvin was a perfect two-for-two on his extra points, and Brian Sanders punted three times for an average of 36 yards (108 yards total; long of 44 yards).

Next Saturday, the Terriers will host new SoCon member Mercer (6-5, 1-5 SoCon), who won a non-divisional game against the Warner Royals this Saturday, 56-0. While they haven't played them since 1941, Wofford has never notched a victory against the Bears.

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