GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Jerodis Williams' 10-yard touchdown run with 2:06 remaining lifted Furman to a 14-7 Southern Conference victory over Chattanooga Saturday afternoon at Finley Stadium.
The win marked the ninth straight road triumph for Furman (5-3, 4-2 SoCon) over Chattanooga (4-5, 2-4 SoCon) and the Paladins' 16th decision in the last 17 clashes with the Mocs, whose last home win over Furman was in 1993."
Both defenses played good football, but we were able to get a big return on the kickoff after their score and then we hit a couple of key passes to set up the touchdown," said Furman first year head coach Bruce Fowler. "We knew this was going to be tough game, but the important thing is we kept our composure and made plays when we had to. I couldn't be more proud of our team."
Keyed by junior bandit Mitch McGrath, who registered nine tackles, four sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble, Furman's defense limited Chattanooga to only 169 total yards, the fewest allowed to an opponent since 2006. The Mocs passed for only three yards, the lowest tally by a Paladin foe since 1993, and managed only 2.6 yards per snap.
Terrell Robinson's 1-yard touchdown plunge with 4:16 to go gave Chattanooga a 7-6 lead, but on the ensusing kickoff the Paladins' Hank McCloud collected his own fumble at the Furman 16 and returned it to the Paladin 47.
Quarterback Chris Forcier followed with a 23-yard completion to the Sederrik Cunningham to the Chattanooga 30 and two plays later connected again with Cunningham for 13 yards to the UTC 12. After a 2-yard run by Tersoo Uhaa moved it to the 10, Williams rambled around left end into the end zone to give the Paladins a 12-7 lead with 2:06 remaining.
The Paladins converted the two-point play on a Forcier completion to Ryan Culbreath to stretch the lead to 14-7.
After that Furman's defense slammed the door. Following the kickoff, Josh Lynn sacked UTC quarterback on the Mocs first play, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Mitch McGrath at the Mocs' 14.
The Paladins' ran four times and turned the ball over on downs with 52 seconds left. McGrath then capped his brilliant performance by sacking Mocs' backup quarterback Sloan Allison, whose fumble on the play was recovered by Colton Keig at the UTC 6.
After a scoreless first half, Furman cornerback Ryan Steed set up the Paladins' first score by picking off a Robinson pass at the UTC 42.
A 23-yard completion from Foricer to Culbreath moved the ball to the UTC 14, and four plays later Ray Early gave the Paladins a 3-0 lead with 30-yard field goal three minutes into the second half.
Early made it 6-0 with a 44-yard field goal with 10:51 to go in the game.
The Paladins appeared poised to take control after forcing a UTC punt on the ensuing possession, but a rugby-style line drive kick by Mocs' punter Joel Bradford bounced off Furman's Austin Williams' leg and was recovered by UTC's Don Cope at the Furman 43. Eleven plays later Robinson punched it into the end zone to put the Mocs up, 7-6.
Forcier completed 9-of-14 passes for 177 yards for the Paladins, who finished with 261 total yards.
Furman racked up a season high six sacks and forced four turnovers in the contest.
The Paladins entertain Appalachian State next Saturday in Greenville. Kickoff is set for 1:30.
Furman's 14-7 victory over Chattanooga extended the Paladins' road winning streak over UTC to nine games, dating back to 1995. The nine-game road winning streak is the longest against any Paladin foe and is the second longest against any Furman opponent in the school's SoCon history (began in 1936). The longest is 10 vs. VMI (began in 1981 and extended thru 2003 when the Keydets left the SoCon).
Furman and UTC did not score in the first half, making it the first combined first half shutout experienced by Furman since 1992 vs. Georgia Southern in Greenville.
UTC's three passing yards today (1-for-8, 2 INTs) were the fewest passing yards by a Furman opponent since Georgia Southern failed to pass for a yard (1-for-5, 1 INT) versus Furman in 1993 in Statesboro.
Ryan Steed's third quarter interception was his second in consecutive weeks and 12th of his career. With 12 pickoffs, he is now tied for seventh most in program history.
Furman's six sacks today versus Chattanooga were the most by the Paladins since 2001 when the Paladins racked up nine sacks in a 34-17 NCAA quarterfinal playoff win over Lehigh in Greenville.
With 18 sacks through eight games, Furman has now doubled last year's sack tally of nine recorded in 11 games.
In rushing for 60 yards versus UTC, Jerodis Williams upped his career rushing total to 1,710 yards and into Furman's career Top 20 (now 16th).
Senior linebacker Kadarron Anderson climbed two positions, from 15th to 13th, on Furman's career tackles ledger with his 13 stops today versus UTC. Anderson now has 355 career stops, which is tops among active SoCon defenders.