GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Troy Mitchell threw for 182 yards and two touchdowns to lead Western Carolina to a 35-17 win over Furman in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
The win snapped Western Carolina's eight-game series losing streak to Furman and marked only the Catamounts' second victory over the Paladins in the last 17 meetings, and first win in Greenville since 1994.
Western Carolina improves to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in SoCon action while Furman falls to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the SoCon.
Mitchell completed 12-of-19 passes, including touchdown strikes of 39 and 21 yards to Spearman Robinson, who finished with five receptions for 120 yards. Mitchell also rushed 16 times for 70 yards for the Catamounts, who compiled 415 yards total offense, including 233 on the ground. Darius Ramsey led all rushers with 113 yards and a touchdown.
Hank McCloud rushed for 35 yards for Furman to become the 12th player in program history to run for 2,000 yards in a career.
Mitchell helped stake Western Carolina to an early lead by leading the Catamounts on a six-play, 71-yard drive to open the game. His 39-yard connection to Spearman put WCU on the board with the game less than three minutes old.
Aided by an Andrej Suttles 42-yard punt return to the Western Carolina 29, Jon Croft Hollingsworth converted a 51-yard field goal at the 12:34 mark of the second quarter to make it a 7-3 game.
The Catamounts' Fred Payne set up WCU's next score when he stepped in front of a Woodruff pass and returned it to the Furman 22. Two plays later Mitchell lofted a 21-yard scoring strike to Robinson in the back corner of the end zone for a 14-3 lead.
WCU upped its advantage to 21-3 on a 19-yard scoring burst by Ramsey with 3:32 left, but the Paladins countered on their last possession of the half, covering 84 yards on 11 plays for a Woodruff 5-yard touchdown pass to Duncan Fletcher that made it 21-10.
The Catamounts stretched it to 28-10 when Detrez Newsome scored on a seven-yard run midway through the third quarter.
Furman attempted to rally behind true freshman quarterback P.J. Blazejowski, whose 28-yard, early fourth quarter connection with Jordan Snellings capped a 9-play, 92-yard drive that cut WCU's lead to 28-17.
The Paladins' Nick Miller followed up the score with a fumble recovery at the Western Carolina 24 on the ensuing kickoff return, but Furman couldn't convert the opportunity as Hollingsworth's 35-yard field goal attempt missed.
Western Carolina salted the game away after stopping Furman on fourth down at its own 37 and then using eight plays to cover the distance for Newswome's second scoring run of the game, a 2-yard burst off the left side with 2:17 to go.
Woodruff completed 10-of-20 passes for 133 yards and a score for Furman, and Blazejowski, making his collegiate debut in relief of Woodruff, ran nine times for 56 yards while passing for 75 yards and a score.
Jordan Snellings had three catches for 112 yards for the Paladins.
Cory Magwood led all tacklers with 15 stops.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information