CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Chas Short kicked three field goals, including a career long 46-yarder with just under three minutes remaining, to lift Furman (1-1, 1-0 SoCon) to a 16-6 victory over The Citadel (1-1, 0-1 SoCon) in the Southern Conference season opener for both schools Saturday evening at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The win marked the first career triumph for Furman head coach Bruce Fowler, who assumed the reigns of the program last December after serving nine seasons as defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt. He spent 18 years as an assistant coach at Furman, his alma mater, from 1984-2001.
"I'm very proud of our players and coaches and the effort that went into tonight's game," said Fowler following the 91st clash between the long-time SoCon rivals. "It was a physical contest, and I thought our guys met the challenge and did some things well to help us win the game."
Short's accurate foot proved to the difference in the contest, accounting for 10 of the Paladins' 16 points. In only his second contest since taking over the team's placekicking duties, the senior from Thomaston, Ga., who has also handled Furman's punting chores the last two seasons, converted all three field goal chances, making good from 20, 27, and 46 yards. His lone punt in the contest covered 48 yards.
Furman's winning effort also featured a strong rushing performance by junior Jerodis Williams, who followed up a season opening 142-yard, 3-touchdown outing versus Coastal Carolina with a 28-carry, 122-yard display against The Citadel.
Paladin quarterback Chris Forcier completed all nine of his pass attempts for 56 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 4-yard strike to Sederrik Cunningham to give Furman a 13-6 halftime lead
Furman used a pair Short field goals to grab an early 6-0 lead. His 20-yard field goal capped the Paladins' initial drive of the contest, which covered 51 yards in 10 plays. He later added a 27-yard effort with a 1:17 to go in the first quarter for a 6-0 advantage after a short 19-yard Bulldog punt gave Furman the ball at its own 45.
The Citadel used solid ball control in the second quarter to tie the game with two Ryan Sellers' field goals. Sellers got the Bulldogs on the board with a 20-yard boot, which culminated an 18-play, 74-yard drive that consumed 9:04 of clock.
Two plays later the Bulldogs found themselves back in business when Forcier's option pitch went to the turf and was recovered by Davis Boyle at the Paladin 35. From there Citadel moved to the Furman 17, where Sellers connected again from 35 yards out to tied the game at 6-6 with 3:13 to go in the half.
At that point the Paladins engineered their most effective drive of the contest, with Forcier and Williams, combining to account for 71 yards in 10 plays. A Forcier 4-yard strike to Cunningham in the back of the end zone with 25 seconds showing on the clock gave the Paladins a 13-6 lead.
Furman's defense forced a Citadel punt in the third quarter on the Bulldogs lone possession of the period, after which Furman responded with a 16-play, 78-yard drive. The possession failed to net points, however, after Forcier's 17-yard ramble ended with a fumble, which was recovered by Davis Boyle and the Bulldog 2.
The Citadel pushed the ball out to the Furman 49, but the Bulldogs failed to convert a fourth-and-five play with 6:23 remaining.
From there the Paladins drove to the Bulldog 29, where Short split found the mark with a 46-yard field goal with 2:58 to go, giving Furman a 16-6 advantage.
The Citadel forged a 301-271 advantage in total offense on the strength of 64-yard drive on its final possession that ended with an interception and 20-yard return by Paladin redshirt freshman strong safety Marcus McMorris.
Furman, which is off next Saturday, plays its home season opener on Sept. 24 versus Presbyterian.
Furman's 57 victories over the The Citadel (57-31-3) are the most against any opponent.
Redshirt freshman Charles Emert registered the first start of his career, getting the nod at right guard.
Jerodis Williams' 28 carries marked a career high, topping his previous high of 15 recorded against Coastal Carolina (2011)
Quarterback Chris Forcier's 4-yard touchdown pass to Sederrik Cunningham was the second of his Paladin career. His first was a 17-yard strike versus Auburn (2009).
Chas Short is a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts in his career.
With two receptions against The Citadel, senior wide receiver Sederrik Cunningham upped his career receptions tally to 83, which moved him from 18th to 16th on Furman's career receptions ledger.