GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Fresh from a convincing 45-15 season opening victory over Colgate on Saturday, the FCS 24th-ranked Furman Paladins step outside the division this Saturday to take on the FBS 13th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in a 7:00 p.m. pay-per-view contest at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
The clash will mark the first meeting between the Paladins and Gamecocks since Oct. 16, 1982, when Furman under head coach Dick Sheridan stunned USC, 28-23, on the strength of two touchdown passes by quarterback David Charpia and a blocked punt recovery in the end zone by Ernest Gibson, who later spent six years in the NFL. Current Paladin head coach Bobby Lamb was a backup quarterback that day, though he did not play in the game.
South Carolina holds a 26-20-1 advantage in the series, which has been contested only twice since 1960. Furman is South Carolina's oldest football foe, having whipped USC, 44-0, on Dec. 24, 1892, in Charleston in the Gamecocks' first collegiate football game.
The Paladins have compiled a 5-20-1 record versus FBS (formerly I-A) opposition since being reclassified (along with the Southern Conference) to FCS (formerly I-AA) in 1982, but are just 1-19 mark since 1987. The lone victory came in 1999 over North Carolina (28-3). There have been several "near-misses," however, including a 19-17 loss to Aloha Bowl-bound Georgia Tech (1991), a 20-14 defeat to Wyoming (2001), a 41-38 OT loss to Fiesta Bowl-bound Pittsburgh (2004), and a 45-42 setback to North Carolina (2006).
From 1982-86, Furman compiled a 4-1-1 mark versus FBS competition, claiming wins over South Carolina (28-23, 1982), Georgia Tech (17-14, 1983), and North Carolina State twice (34-30, 1984; 42-20, 1985), and a tie with Georgia Tech (17-17, 1986). A 26-0 loss to N.C. State in 1982 was the lone Furman setback during that span.
Bobby Lamb was the starting quarterback in Paladin wins over Georgia Tech in '83 and in both triumphs over N.C. State in 1984 & '85.
In 1990 the Paladins dropped a 27-3 decision to an AP 19th-ranked Florida squad coached by Steve Spurrier.
Last year Furman was soundly beaten by FBS foes Missouri (52-12) and Auburn (62-31).
The Paladins opened the 2010 campaign on Saturday with a convincing 45-15 triumph over 25th-ranked Colgate at Paladin Stadium. Fifth-year senior quarterback Cody Worley came off the bench to pass for 133 yards and three touchdowns to key the victory, which also saw starting junior quarterback Chris Forcier run seven times for 130 yards, including an 85-yard second half scoring sprint. Tersso Uhaa ran for a career high 125 yards and scored twice for the Paladins, who finished the game with 536 yards in total offense.
Defensively, Furman limited Colgate to 260 total yards, 171 yards below the 431 yards per game the Paladins surrendered in 2009. Senior rover Max Lerner paced the defense with a career high 13 tackles, and junior rover Ryan Steed notched 10 stops and a pair of forced fumbles in the victory.
Saturday's game will be broadcast over Furman Sports Network Greenville flagship station WOLT-FM 103.3 and also available over Upstate affiliate WGOG-FM 96.3 and via stadium transmitter at FM 105.9. In addition it will be presented online by StretchAudio through www.furmanpaladins.com. Chuck Hussion, "The Voice of the Furman Paladins," will call the play-by-play, and set to deliver color commentary is former Paladin All-America center Corey Stewart, with another former Paladin, David Cobb, handling sideline reporting duties.
Livestats of Saturday's contest are free through www.furmanpaladins.com. Fans can also follow timely updates through www.twitter.com/FurmanPaladins.
Pictured: Junior running back Tersoo Uhaa.