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High Stakes Homecoming Saturday: Furman vs. Samford

Thomas Gordon
Thomas Gordon

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Coming off an impressive 34-14 victory over Wofford, Furman will attempt to extend its season comeback this Saturday when it plays host to Samford in a 2:05 p.m. ESPN+ broadcast contest in Paladin Stadium that will highlight Homecoming Weekend at Furman University

Furman (2-3, 2-1 SoCon) has scrambled back into the Southern Conference race following wins over Western Carolina and previously FCS fourth-ranked Wofford.  Samford (3-4, 2-2 SoCon), meanwhile, is treading similar waters, having won its last two games, including a decisive 73-22 pasting of VMI last Saturday, after opening the season 1-4.

Both teams need a win to keep any FCS playoff hopes alive.

While the Paladins will look to replicate the success they enjoyed against Wofford, putting the clamps on the Terriers' FCS leading rushing attack, the task against Samford, the consensus preseason SoCon No. 1 pick,  will require a 180 degree shift in strategy as the Bulldogs come to Greenville sporting the FCS' top passing game (387.3 ypg), part of a rocket fueled offense that is averaging 537.0 yards and 40.7 points per outing.

The Bulldogs' offensive commander is record setting senior quarterback Devlin Hodges, who has passed for 2,674 yards and 24 touchdowns already this season.  He has many talented weapons at his disposal, chief among themwide receivers Kelvin McKnight (63 rec., 880 yds., 7 TDs) and Chris Shelling (37 rec., 465 yds., 7 TDs).

While Samford air game gets the headlines, the Bulldogs' ground game, which averages a solid 149.7 ypg, will command respect.

Defensively Samford boasts a number of standouts, including reigning SoCon Player of the Year defensive tackle Ahmad Gooden (29 tackles, 5 TFL).

Furman will counter with an offense that is starting to hit stride under redshirt senior quarterback Harris Roberts, who on Monday was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 235 yards and three touchdowns while accounting for all five touchdown responsibilities against Wofford.  After missing much of preseason practice with a fractured thumb on his throwing hand and playing only three snaps in the Paladins' first two games, Roberts has breathed much-needed life and efficiency into the Paladin offense, which features an effective corps of running backs behind an improving offensive line.

Slowing down Samford's potent air game will be a major chore for Furman's defense led by linebackers Elijah McKoy (45 tackles) and Donavan Perryman (39 tackles).  The Bulldogs will also no doubt be aware of the presence of Paladin redshirt freshman bandit Adrian Hope, whose six sacks tops the SoCon and ranks fourth in the FCS.

Samford denied Furman a share of last year's SoCon crown with a 26-20 win in Birmingham that also evened the all-time series 10-10.  The Bulldogs are the only SoCon foe to own a winning record against Furman in Greenville (6-5), winning three of the last four encounters in Paladin Stadium.

The Game: Furman Paladins (2-3, 2-1 SoCon) vs. Samford Bulldogs (3-4, 2-2 SoCon) / Homecoming
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: $25 Available (FurmanPaladins.com); Children 38 inches and shorter admitted free; Timmons Arena, East Stands
Box Offices Open: 12:00 PM
Gates Open: 12:30 PM
Game Sponsor: Bon Secours

Pre-Game/Post-Game Activities:
9:00 AM      --    Alumni Check-In (Furman Mall Front Main Fountain)
9:00 AM      --    Women's Basketball Practice/Junior Day (Timmons Arena)
10:00 AM    --    Baseball Alumni Game (Latham Stadium)
11:00 AM    --    Alumni Rugby Game (Roberts Field)
                   --    Alumni Tailgates (Furman Mall)
12:30 PM    --    Paladin Club Zone Opens*
12:30 PM    --    Hospitality Zone Opens (End Zone)
                   --    Paladin Stadium Gates Open
12:40 PM    --    Paladin Regiment March/Concert (Timmons Arena to PAC Circle)
1:05 PM      --    Champions Walk (Paladin Stadium)
2:05 PM      --    Furman vs. Samford (Paladin Stadium)
7:00 PM      --    Volleyball/Chattanooga vs. Furman (Alley Gym)
                   --    Baseball/Purple vs. White Scrimmage (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 Tucanos. Wine glass giveaway.

Pregame:
1978 Southern Conference Championship Football Team Recognition

Halftime:
Furman University Paladin Regiment

In-Game Recognitions:
Quarter 1 Break --
Quarter 3 Break -- Havoc Recognition
Media Timeout (1st Quarter) -- Furman ScanSource Student-Athlete Leader of the Month (September)