GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Facing the toughest season opening three-game slate in its 33-year history as a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Furman will look to break thru into the win column this Saturday when it tackles the UCF Knights in a 6:04 p.m. ESPN3 broadcast game at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
The Paladins (0-2), who dropped a season opening, 38-35 verdict to Coastal Carolina, currently ranked No. 1 in this week's FCS Coaches Poll, and were overwhelmed, 42-3, last Saturday at Virginia Tech, will attempt to scratch in the win column against the Knights (0-2), who have also struggled in the season's first games. UCF, a member of the American Athletic Conference (AAC), was shocked at home, 15-14, by FIU on Sept. 3 and lost a 31-7 verdict at Stanford last Saturday.
Furman claimed its only meeting with UCF in football, rolling to a 42-6 triumph in 1984 in Paladin Stadium when the Knights were members of the FCS and only a few years removed from program infancy.
Saturday's game will be radio broadcast over the Furman IMG Sports Network headed up by flagship station WGOG 101.7/Walhalla and FoxSports 1440/Greenville. It will also be available via stadium transmitter (96.7 FM) and audio streamed via TuneIn.com, which is also accessible through FurmanPaladins.com
Live stats for the Furman-UCF contest will be available through FurmanPaladins.com
Since 1982 Furman has gone 5-26-1 in games against FBS opponents but is just 1-24 in such contests since 1987, the lone win coming over North Carolina in 1999. The Paladins whipped a pair of FBS transition foes in 2013, beating both Appalachian State (27-10) and Georgia Southern (16-14) on the Mountaineers' and Eagles' way to joining the Sunbelt Conference.
Furman will look to bounce back from its outing against Virginia Tech that saw the Hokies methodically build on a 14-0 halftime lead en route to the victory, which showcased strong work by the Tech defense that registered three sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery while limiting Furman to 254 total yards.
Freshman running back Triston Luke provided one of the few bright spots for the Paladins against Virginia Tech, running 10 times for 79 yards in only his second collegiate game.
Redshirt junior quarterback Reese Hannon will look to re-energize the Paladin offense and find the touch he showed in the season opener against Coastal Carolina when he passed for a school record 365 yards and two touchdowns, while also finishing with 400 yards total offense, another program standard.
His favorite targets will likely be redshirt senior wide receiver Jordan Snellings, who has collected 26 receptions for 411 yards and four touchdowns over his last five games, and redshirt junior wideout Andrej Suttles.
On defense Furman is paced by senior consensus All-SoCon linebacker Cory Magwood, last year's SoCon tackle leader (123) who garnered 11 stops versus Coastal Carolina, and junior linebacker Carl Rider, who has started the last two games after missing virtually the entire 2014 season with a pair of torn labrums. He topped the league with 136 tackles in Furman's 2013 SoCon championship campaign.
Junior Trey Robinson paced Furman with 12 tackles against the Hokies.
The Game: Furman Paladins (0-2) vs. UCF Knights (0-2)
Site: Orlando, Florida (Bright House Newtworks Stadium)
Kickoff: 6:04 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN3: Drew Fellios (pbp), Forest Conoly (analyst)
Radio: Furman IMG Sports Network (WGOG 101.7/Walhalla, FoxSports 1440/Greenville, Stadium Transmitter 96.7): Dan Scott (pbp), David Cobb (color), Chuck Hussion (sideline)
Audio Stream: TuneIn.com accessible through FurmanPaladins.com
Tickets: Available (www.ucfknights.com/tickets)
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information