CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Troy Mitchell passed for 305 yards and three touchdowns and added a pair of rushing scores to propel Western Carolina to a 48-10 victory over Furman in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
Mitchell, a senior, staked Western Carolina (6-3, 4-2 SoCon) to a 14-0 first quarter lead with his two rushing scores and completed 27-of-35 passes, including scoring strikes covering 29, 36, and 21 yards, to finish the contest with 360 yards in total offense and five touchdown responsibilities.
The win snapped the Catamounts' four-game home series losing skid to Furman (4-5, 2-3 SoCon) and marked only the second triumph over the Paladins in Cullowhee in the last nine meetings.
Western Carolina's spread offense generated 581 yards in offense, rushing for 276 and passing for 305. Furman finished with 329 total yards.
The Paladins' troubles started early when Antonio Wilcox's fumble at the Western Carolina 37 was recovered by the Catamounts' Sertonuse Harris at the Western Carolina 31. From there WCU quickly covered 69 yards to grab a 7-0 lead following a Mitchell 3-yard scoring run.
Furman's Issac Garcia fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, giving the Catamounts the ball at the Paladin 26, and three plays later Mitchell reached the end zone on a 2-yard run to give WCU the quick 14-0 lead.
Western Carolina made it 21-0 early in the second quarter on the first of Mitchell's three scoring strikes, a 29-yard connection with Tyler Sexton to complete an 11-play, 70-yard drive.
Mitchell's next tally covered 36 yards to Steffon Hill to stretch the lead to 28-0 at the 9:27 mark of the second quarter.
The two teams traded field goals the rest of the way to send the game into halftime with the Western Carolina leading, 31-3
Furman took the second half kickoff and drove 73 yards before being stopped back twice from the WCU 1-yard line to turn the ball over on downs.
The Paladins' lone touchdown came on redshirt freshman fullback Kealand Dirks' 1-yard run, the first of his career, on the final play of the third quarter.
P.J. Blazejowski took over for Reese Hannon at quarterback in the second half and completed 7-of-12 passes for 132 yards while rushing for 24 yards.
Detrez Newecome ran 21 times for 184 yards for Western Carolina, and Steffon Hill paced the Catamounts' receivers with 10 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for a score.