2016 Furman Football Versus Wofford Preview

Nov 5, 2016

Furman and Wofford will renew the Deep South's Oldest Football Rivalry Saturday when the Terriers and Paladins clash at Paladin Stadium in a 1:30 p.m. ESPN3 broadcast Southern Conference contest that will highlight Homecoming Weekend at Furman University. Although Georgia and Auburn boast the oldest gridiron rivalry in the Deep South, having first met in 1892, Bulldog and Tiger scholars should duly note that three years prior, in 1889, Furman and Wofford first met on the football field and went on to battle twice more in 1890 before Georgia and Auburn laced up the cleats for the first time. All told, the Paladins and Terriers have squared off 89 times over the years, with Furman holding a 53-29-7 lead. The home team has won the last eight games, including Wofford's 38-28 verdict last year in Spartanburg. Furman has claimed four straight verdicts in Greenville, where the Paladins sport a 33-10-5 all-time mark versus the Terriers. Furman (2-6, 2-3 SoCon) brings momentum into Saturday's contest, having beaten East Tennessee State (52-7) and VMI (24-10) in its last two outings. Wofford (5-3, 3-2 SoCon), meanwhile, is coming off an impressive 31-21 win over Mercer in Spartanburg after falling to league leader The Citadel, 24-21, in overtime two weeks ago. The Paladins have posted back-to-back 500-yard total offense performances behind the strong play of senior quarterback Reese Hannon, who passed for 291 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a career high 84 yards against VMI. The Greer, S.C., product, who last month set new Furman career passing and total offense standards, has thrown for 1,494 yards and 15 touchdowns over the last five games, completing 65.5 percent of his passes during the stretch. His favorite targets are senior wide receiver Andrej Suttles (37 rec., 546 yds., 6 TDs) and freshman Thomas Gordon (30 rec., 453 yds., 3 TDs), who hooked up with Hannon on an 83-yard scoring strike against VMI — the eighth longest pass play in program history. Furman's ground game, which will be tested by a Wofford defense that is ranked second in FCS in rushing defense and third in total defense, has been more productive the last two games and is coming off a 215-yard display against VMI. Antonio Wilcox had 68 of those yards against the Keydets, scoring on an 11-yard run and adding an 8-yard touchdown catch. Defensively, the return of Paladin senior linebackers Carl Rider and Byron Johnson for the last two games has been significant, with the duo combining for 30 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and a interception in two Paladin victories after missing a pair of games due to injuries. With 315 tackles Rider is on the verge of cracking Furman's Top 20 career tackles ledger, and Johnson has 169 stops in his Paladin tenure. The Paladins rank last in the SoCon in turnover margin but recorded a turnover margin win against VMI with interceptions by Byron Johnson and cornerback Nick Miller. In addition to the ESPN3 video stream, Saturday's game will be radio broadcast over the Furman IMG Sports Network, headed up by flagship station FoxSports 1440/Greenville. Fans can also listen via in-stadium transmitter (107.7 FM) and over TuneIn.com, which is accessible through FurmanPaladins.com. StatBroadcast live stats will be available through FurmanPaladins.com Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information