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Furman To Face Florida Gators Saturday

Chris Forcier
Chris Forcier

Furman vs. Florida Game Notes & Stats (PDF)

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman Paladins hit the road for the 2011 regular season finale Saturday against the Florida Gators.  Kickoff for the pay per view televised contest at Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m.

The contest will be broadcast over Furman Sports Network Greenville flagship station WOLT-FM 103.3, Upstate affiliate WGOG-FM 96.3, as well as stadium transmitter at FM 105.9. Audio will be presented online by StretchAudio through Furman All-Access at www.furmanpaladins.com.  Live stats will also be provided through www.furmanpaladins.com and in-game twitter updates available at twitter.com/FurmanPaladins

Furman (6-4, 5-3 SoCon), ranked 24th in the latest Sports Network Poll, stumbled in its last outing, dropping a 41-34 Southern Conference decision to Elon last Saturday at Paladin Stadium to fall from second to fourth place in the league standings.  The Paladins could have virtually assured themselves a bid to the FCS playoffs with a victory over Elon but now face the prospect of having to beat Florida (5-5) to secure a spot in the 20-team playoff field, which will be announced this Sunday.

Florida dropped a 17-12 road decision to South Carolina last Saturday and has lost five of its last six games in the rugged Southeastern Conference.

Furman and Florida have met on the football field eight times over the years, with the Gators holding a 6-2 series advantage.  Florida claimed a 27-3 win over the Paladins in 1990 in the last clash between the two programs.

A 20-10 win over FCS third-ranked Appalachian State on Nov. 5 clinched a winning season for first year head coach Bruce Fowler's Paladins, who also registered a two-game improvement in league play in 2011 following a 3-5 SoCon mark a year ago.

Furman is led offensively by quarterback Chris Forcier, who leads FCS in passing efficiency with a 180.9 rating.  The senior signal caller, who has completed 65.4 percent of his passes this fall, threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday against Elon.  He heads into the Florida contest tied with former Paladin (and University of Florida transfer) quarterback Ingle Martin for most touchdown passes in a season (22).

On the season Forcier, a three-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Week honoree, has passed for 2,099 yards and run for 248 yards.

Forcier's top receiving targets include the SoCon's top tight end, Colin Anderson (38 rec., 668 yds., 7 TDs) and wide receivers Tyler Maples (33 rec., 532 yds., 3 TDs) and Sedrrik Cunningham (16 rec., 293 yds., 3 TDs).

Junior running back Jerodis Williams (180 att., 922 yds., 7 TDs), the SoCon's second leading rusher, leads the Paladin ground attack.  He is bidding to become the first Paladin 1,000-yard rusher since 2003.

Furman's defense has played a key role in the Paladins claiming wins in three of the last four games, recording a 12-3 advantage in turnovers with seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries, including cornerback Ryan Steed's 48-yard recovery and return for a touchdown against Elon.  Furman leads the SoCon in turnover margin (+1.10) and has notched 21 sacks this fall, more than doubling last year's league low nine takedowns.

The Paladin defense may have to go into the Florida game without its leader, senior linebacker Kadarron Anderson, who sustained a sprained knee early in the second half of the Elon contest.  A starter in 32 consecutive games over the past three seasons and participant in 44 contests in his career, Anderson, the SoCon's leading tackler this year with 111 stops this fall, has 372 career tackles, good for 13th in school history.

Other defensive stalwarts include junior bandit Mitch McGrath (79 tackles, 12 tackles for-loss, 4 sacks, 4 INT) and senior cornerback Ryan Steed, who has recorded interceptions in each of the last four games to up his career total to 14.