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Furman To Open SoCon Football Slate Saturday At ETSU

Elijah McKoy
Elijah McKoy

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman's football squad kicks off its 2018 Southern Conference schedule this Saturday when it travels to Johnson City, Tenn., to face the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in a 7:30 contest at William B. Greene, Jr., Stadium.

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, as well as thru Tune-In Radio on the Furman/IMG channel.  The in-stadium transmitter frequency will be announced on Saturday, according to Dan Scott, "The Voice of the Furman Paladins" who is set to deliver the play-by-play.  He will be joined with commentary by former Paladin offensive lineman David Cobb.

ESPN3 will carry the video stream of the contest, with David Jackson calling the play-by-play and Mark Hutsell providing analysis.

Saturday's contest marks the return to action for Furman (0-2, 0-0 SoCon), which had its 2018 home season opener  against Colgate canceled last Saturday due to Hurricane Florence.

The canceled home opener versus Colgate ensures Furman's stretch of road games will extend to six games this Saturday at ETSU.  The Paladins finished the 2017 campaign with three road contests, including a pair of FCS playoff matchups at Elon and Wofford.  Furman played its last home game on Nov. 11, 2017 versus The Citadel, a 56-20 win.

ETSU (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) is coming off a 27-24 SoCon road triumph over VMI.  The Buccaneers kicked off their season with a 28-7 win over Mars Hill before falling at Tennessee, 59-3.

The Paladins lead the all-time series with ETSU, 25-7, and have won five straight, including the last two meetings since the Bucs resumed football and rejoined the SoCon.  Two years ago Furman raced to a 52-7 triumph in Johnson City and last year beat ETSU in Greenville, 56-35.  Saturday's clash will be the first between the two programs in William B. Greene, Jr., Stadium, which opened in 2017.

Losses to FBS nationally second-ranked Clemson and FCS 12th-ranked Elon have Furman looking for its first win of the 2018 campaign.  The Paladins have suffered five turnovers in their two games and have yet to record a takeaway.

Three quarterbacks — redshirt senior Harris Roberts, redshirt freshman JeMar Lincoln, and true freshman Darren Grainger  — have seen action already this year for head coach Clay Hendrix' s squad.

Redshirt senior running back Keland Dirks, a 2017 All-SoCon selection who rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns versus ETSU a year ago, ran for 72 yards against Elon to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for his career.

Junior receiver Thomas Gordon, meanwhile, has moved onto Furman's Top 20 career receptions (86 / 17th) and receiving yards (1,389 / 20th) charts.  The Charlotte, N.C., product missed the ETSU game a year ago due to injury.

Defensively the Paladins are paced by sophomore linebacker Elijah McKoy (18 tackles), a 2018 preseason All-SoCon pick.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information