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Paladins To Kick Off Home Season Saturday Versus Western Carolina

2018 Furman Team Captains
2018 Furman Captains

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- By the time Saturday rolls around 321 days will have passed since Furman's football team last teed it up in Paladin Stadium.  That stretch will end when the Paladins entertain the Western Carolina Catamounts in a 2:05 p.m. Bon Secours sponsored contest that will highlight Family Weekend at Furman University.

Since steamrolling The Citadel, 56-20, on Nov. 11, 2017, Furman has played six consecutive road games — a stretch that includes the final three outings of the 2017 season and first three games of the current campaign.  The extended road run became reality after the Paladins' Sept. 15 scheduled home opener versus Colgate was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.

Saturday's game will mark Furman's latest start to a home season since 1982 when the Paladins opened with three straight road games before playing VMI on Oct. 2 in Paladin Stadium.

Furman fans hope a home game is just what the Paladins (0-3, 0-1 SoCon) need following a shocking 29-27 Southern Conference season opening loss to East Tennessee State last Saturday in Johnson City.  Furman, which built a 27-6 third quarter lead, did nothing offensively over the last quarter and a half and saw the Buccaneers score 23 unanswered points to collect the victory.

Western Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SoCon), meanwhile, outlasted VMI, 52-50, in a offensive showcase last Saturday in Cullowhee to get its league schedule off a good start.  The Catamounts opened the season with a 33-26 win over Division II Newberry and turned back Gardner-Webb, 28-10, on Sept. 14.

Furman has been tough on Western Carolina of late, winning the last two clashes and eight of the last meetings.  Last year the Paladins used a bruising ground game that generated 363 yards, including a career high 202 yards from Antonio Wilcox, to beat the FCS 18th-ranked Catamounts, 28-6, in a driving rainstorm in Cullowhee.  Two years ago it was much the same as Furman rolled to a 49-21 win over the Catamounts in Paladin Stadium.  The Paladins lead the all-time series 31-12-2 and are 10-1 in their last 11 clashes with WCU in Paladin Stadium.

Also playing a big role in last year's win was Furman running back Kealand Dirks, who ran 15 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns.  That outing extended the success the current redshirt senior has enjoyed in his career against the Catamounts, which began in earnest in 2016 when he rushed for a career high 171 yards and a pair of scores in a 28-point triumph in Paladin Stadium.

ESPN+ will carry the video stream of the contest, which will also be televised in the Upstate of South Carolina, western North Carolina, and northeastern Georgia via WYCW Channel 62 (CW62) with Bob Mihalic calling the play-by-play and Sam Wyche providing analysis.

In addition to the live stream and commercial television broadcast, 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 Paladin Stadium can enjoy the broadcast via in-stadium transmitter on 95.9 FM.  Dan Scott, "The Voice of the Furman Paladins," will deliver the play-by-play, and former Paladin offensive lineman David Cobb will provide commentary.

The Game: Furman Paladins (0-3, 0-1 SoCon) vs. Western Carolina Catamounts (3-0, 1-0 SoCon) / Family Weekend
Site: Greenville, S.C. (Paladin Stadium, on the campus of Furman University)
Kickoff: 2:05 PM ET
Video Stream/TV Broadcast: ESPN+/WYCW "CW62", Bob Mihalic (pbp), Sam Wyche (color)
Radio: Furman IMG Sports Network (FoxSports 1440/Greenville; Stretch Internet @FurmanPaladins.com; Tune-In Radio),  Dan Scott (pbp), David Cobb (color), Marcus McMorris (sideline)
Live Stats: StatBroadcast (accessible thru FurmanPaladins.com)
Tickets: $20 Available (FurmanPaladins.com); Children 38 inches and shorter admitted free; Timmons Arena, East Stands
Box Offices Open: Noon
Gates Open: 12:30 PM
Game Sponsor: Bon Secours

Pre-Game/Post-Game Activities:
8:00 AM      --  Parents' Program Fun Run (PAC)
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM -- Family Weekend Check-In/Registration (Daniel Chapel)
10:00 AM    -- Trolly Tour/Book Store Opens
11:00 AM    -- Family Tailgate (Mall)
11:00 AM    -- Rugby Game (Rugby Field)
12:30 PM    -- Paladin Club Zone Opens*
12:30 PM    -- Hospitality Zone Opens (End Zone
12:40 PM    -- Paladin Regiment March/Concert (Timmons Arena to PAC Circle)
1:04 PM      --  Champions Walk (Paladin Stadium)
7:00 PM      -- Furman vs. The Citadel (Volleyball/Alley Gym)
7:00 PM      -- Purple-White Scrimmage (Baseball/Latham Stadium)
 
*Paladin Club Zone, located in the area between the home stands and field house, opens 90 minutes prior to kickoff.  Food provided by Shortfield's.  Season ticket holders can pick up their gift at the Paladin Club Zone.

Halftime:
Furman University Paladin Regiment

In-Game Recognitions:
Quarter 1 Break -- Women's Soccer 2017 SoCon Championship Recognition
Quarter 3 Break -- Book Giveaway
Media Timeout (1st Quarter) -- Furman ScanSource Student-Athlete Leader of the Month (August) & Volleyball 2017 SoCon Championship Recognition

Hunter Reid, Sports Information