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Furman To Face Familiar Foe Elon Saturday

Quandarius Weems
Quandarius Weems

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman continues its early season road stretch this Saturday when it travels to Elon, N.C, and Rhodes Stadium to face a familiar foe in the Elon Phoenix in a 6:00 p.m. clash that will be video live streamed via CollegeSportsLive.com.

The contest will mark the third meeting between the Paladins (0-1) and Phoenix (0-1) within the last year.  Last season the two programs split a pair of games, with CAA member Elon winning, 34-31, in Greenville during the regular season and SoCon representative Furman claiming a 28-27 verdict in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) first round playoff action.

In addition to the live stream, fans can follow the action on the IMG/Furman Sports Network via Greenville flagship station FoxSports 1440 AM, campus station WPLS 95.9 FM, and online via Stretch Audio thru FurmanPaladins.com, as well as thru Tune-In Radio on the Furman/IMG channel.  Fans in Rhodes Stadium can enjoy the broadcast via in-stadium transmitter on a frequency to be announced later this week.  Dan Scott, entering his eighth season as "The Voice of the Furman Paladins," will deliver the play-by-play, and former Paladin offensive lineman David Cobb will provide analysis.

Both teams enter Saturday's fracas ranked in the latest FCS polls — Elon a consensus No. 15 in both the AFCA and STATS polls and Furman No. 21 and No. 25, respectively.

The Paladins lead the all-time series, 12-7, and have won the last two clashes at Elon.

Furman fell to FBS second-ranked Clemson, 48-7, last Saturday while Elon opened its 2018 campaign with a 34-14 setback at South Florida. 

Saturday's game represents the fifth straight road contest for Furman, which wrapped up its 2017 campaign with three consecutive road encounters.  Furman, which has played nine of its last 14 games away from Paladin Stadium, opens its home schedule on Sept. 15 when it plays host to Colgate.

The Paladins struggled to move the football in their season opener against Clemson, managing just 163 yards against the Tigers, who boast one of the nation's premier defenses.  Furman played three quarterbacks in the contest, including redshirt freshman JeMar Lincoln and true freshman Darren Grainger.  The youth at signal caller underscores an overall young offensive unit for the Paladins, who sport only two senior offensive peformers in this week's two-deep.  One of those veterans, running back Kealand Dirks, rushed for 720 yards and nine touchdowns a year ago. The Clemmons, N.C., product needs just nine yards to reach 1,000 for his career.

Defensively, the Paladins, who returned nine starters from 2017, played well in stretches against a potent Clemson squad, limiting the Tigers to just 13 points until late in the second quarter when a review overturned a third down play that would have forced a punt from the Clemson end zone.  The reprieve sparked the Tigers to a touchdown drive, which they followed with another score to take a 27-0 advantage into halftime.

Senior All-SoCon safety Aaquil Annoor produced solid numbers in the two games against Elon a year ago, totaling 11 tackles, including three for-loss, along with a sack, an interception, and a pass breakup.

Turnovers proved costly to the Paladins in the loss to Elon in Greenville last year, as two fumbles deep in Furman territory led to a pair of touchdowns that helped stake the Phoenix to a 21-0 lead en route to the 34-31 win. Later, in playoff action, miscues nearly derailed the Paladins' 28-27 playoff victory at Elon as the Phoenix coverted fumbles at the Furman 25 and 26-yard lines into touchdowns, in addition to picking off a short pass in the end zone to short-circuit a Paladin scoring threat.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information