GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Cody Worley ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lift FCS 23rd-ranked Furman to a 31-14 win over arch-rival The Citadel in the 2010 Southern Conference season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Worley's 2-yard scoring run in the first quarter gave Furman a 7-0 lead, and his 35-yard touchdown strike to Daniel McFadden in the fourth period put the Paladins up 24-7. The fifth-year senior, who capped his performance with a 3-yard late fourth quarter scoring run, completed 12-of-20 passes for 171 yards and rushed for 36 yards.
The victory marked the sixth straight for Furman (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) over The Citadel (2-2, 0-1 SoCon) in Greenville.
"It's great to start Southern Conference play with a victory," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb, who improved to 7-2 in league season openers. "Our defense was on the field a long time today, but I thought they played pretty well. When we scored, we scored quickly, and other times we were three and out, so that meant our defense had to play a lot."
The Paladins tallied on their first possession, moving 56 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on Worley's 2-yard run around left end with the contest barely five minutes old.
From that point, however, Furman did next to nothing offensively until the final minute of the first half when Worley hooked up with Sederrik Cunningham for a 45-yard completion to the Bulldog 7 with 10 seconds remaining. With no timeouts, the Paladins could run only one play, an incomplete pass, and had to settle for a Ray Early 24-yard field goal as time expired for a 10-0 lead.
Furman opened the second half with its most impressive drive of the game, covering 67 yards in nine plays for a 3-yard Jerry Williams scoring run that stretched the advantage to 17-0.
The Citadel got on the board in the fourth quarter on Matt Thompson's 3-yard plunge with 11:18 remaining to make it 17-7.
The Bulldogs recovered an onside kick but failed to capitalize when Thompson's third down pass was picked off by Furman's Max Lerner at the Paladin 49.
Four plays later Worley lofted a 35-yard strike behind the Bulldog secondary into the hands of McFadden to give the Paladins a 24-7 advantage with 8:39 to go.
The two teams traded scores the rest of the way, with Worley sealing the game's outcome with a 3-yard run set up by a 24-yard pass to tight end Colin Anderson to The Citadel 8.
The Citadel ran 78 plays to Furman's 50 and forged a 36:51 to 23:09 advantage in time of possession. The Bulldogs also claimed a 359-296 advantage in total offense, but Furman won the turnover battle with three takeaways to none.
Junior linebacker Kadarron Anderson paced Furman's defense with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Sterling Johnson added 11 stops, and Chris Wiley had 10. Sophomore defensive end Josh Lynn registered a career high nine tackles, including three for-loss, and Ryan Steed was credited with seven tackles, an interception, and three pass deflections.
The Paladins play at Wofford next Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. game.
Junior cornerback Ryan Steed's second quarter interception was the seventh of his career.
Senior rover Max Lerner's fourth quarter interception was also the seventh of his career.
Junior flanker Sederrik Cunningham's 45-yard reception in the second quarter marked the 25th consecutive game he has caught at least one pass. He did not play in last year's Auburn game due to the death of his grandmother.
Sophomore split end Daniel McFadden's 11-yard third quarter reception represented the first of his career. McFadden later added his first career touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, a 35-yard reception.
Josh Lynn's nine tackles marked a new career high, topping the seven stops he notched in a 45-15 season opening win over Colgate.
True freshman Ray Early's 24-yard field goal kept him perfect (4-for-4) on field goals this season.
Senior offensive guard Nic Ayoob reeturned to the starting lineup today (RG) after missing the South Carolina game due to a concussion sustained in the season opener vs. Colgate.
Senior running back Mike Brown's 62 rushing yards marked his highest tally since rushing for 90 yards in the 2008 season finale vs. Wofford.