Story and photo courtesy of Wofford Athletics
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford football team used a big performance by the defense to come away with a 20-17 win over Furman on Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium. The Terrier defense had three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter, to earn a hard fought victory.
The Terriers open the season 5-0 and 3-0 in the SoCon. Furman is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein had 158 yards on 21 carries. Cam Flowers and Brian Kass each had rushing touchdowns, while Jeff Ashley had a 52-yard touchdown reception. Furman was led by Jarodis Williams with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“In the second half we came up with some huge plays,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “I can’t say enough about the way we hung together. We are 3-0 in the conference and that is where we wanted to be at the end of the game. You are going to get penalties because you are playing hard, but we are going to correct the ones from today and move on. The great thing about this team is five weeks in a row we have gotten better. We have had to because the hill that we are climbing is getting steeper and steeper.”
The teams both punted on their opening possessions of the game. On the next drive by the Paladins, they converted three straight third downs before scoring on a 27 yard run by Jerodis Williams. Furman had a 7-0 lead at the 4:17 mark of the first quarter. Wofford drove the ball down the field on their next possession, but Will Irwin fumbled after making a first down catch and the ball was recovered at the 19-yard line by Cortez Johnson.
Furman picked up two first downs before Phillip LeGrande hit Reese Hannon as he threw a pass and the ball was intercepted by Tarek Odom at the line of scrimmage. After two first downs, Cam Flowers scored from ten yards out to make it a 7-7 game with 11:09 on the clock in the second quarter.
The Paladins gained two first downs, including one on a facemask penalty, to drive into Wofford territory. The drive stalled and Furman punted, with the Terriers taking over on the 22-yard line. Wofford was unable to gain a first down and punted. Furman was able to move down the field and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Jerodis Williams. The Paladins had a 14-7 lead with only 54 seconds left in the first half.
To open the second half, Wofford used a 33-yard run by Eric Breitenstein to get inside the ten-yard line and Brian Kass scored from one-yard out on fourth-and-one. The score was 14-13 in favor of Furman after the extra point hit the right upright with 11:15 on the clock in the third quarter. The Paladins used a 40-yard completion to Colin Anderson to set up a 24-yard field goal by Ray Early. Furman had a 17-13 advantage with 9:23 left in the third quarter.
On the next drive for the Terriers, Brian Kass ran for two first downs. Kass then found Jeff Ashley for a 52-yard touchdown pass when Ashley beat the cornerback and was open on the near sideline. Wofford had a 20-17 lead with 6:49 left in the third quarter. Furman picked up one first down before two penalties backed up the Paladins. Ray Early punted 82-yards and Wofford started their drive on the two-yard line. The Terriers gained one first down before punting.
Furman drove deep inside Wofford territory, but Reese Hannon was intercepted by Mike McCrimon at the nine-yard line. He returned it 25 yards before fumbling, however James Zotto was there to recover the ball. Wofford used runs of 18 yards and 32 yards by Eric Breitenstein to move the ball inside the ten. On fourth-and-two, the pass was incomplete and the ball was turned over on downs with 11:06 left in the game. Furman converted a fourth-and-one from their 35-yard line to keep the drive alive, but had to punt.
Wofford started their next drive on the three-yard line with 5:55 remaining on the clock. The Terriers had a run of 18 yards by Eric Breitenstein and a 24 yard run by Will Irwin to move the ball into Furman territory, but the drive stalled and Wofford punted. Furman got the ball back with 1:19 left in the game and Reese Hannon was sacked by Alvin Scioneaux on the first play. On the second play, Blake Wylie picked off a pass from Hannon to seal the victory for the Terriers.
Wofford had 364 total yards, with 303 on the ground. Furman had 319 total yards, 170 of which were passing. The Terriers had 17 first downs to 20 for the Paladins. Wofford was 5-of-12 on third downs. Furman was 8-of-15 on third down. Wofford had seven penalties, while Furman had only three. Furman had the time of possession by a 30:01 to 29:59 margin.
Next week, the Terriers begin a tough two-game road trip with a visit to Georgia Southern at 6:00 p.m. followed by a trip to Appalachian State on October 20.