GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Six home games, including a season opening home contest, and a pair of clashes against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) foes highlight Furman's 12-game, 2019 football schedule, which was released today by director of athletics Mike Buddie.
Under the direction of Clay Hendrix, who enters his third season as head coach of the Paladins' program this fall, Furman kicks off its 2019 campaign at home on Aug. 31 against Charleston Southern in the first meeting between the two Palmetto state schools.
Furman will follow its matchup versus Charleston Southern with games against FBS foes Georgia State (Sept. 7) and Virginia Tech (Sept. 14). The Georgia State contest also marks the series inaugural versus the Panthers and Furman's first appearance in Atlanta since playing Georgia Tech in 1995.
Mercer is set to provide the Southern Conference season opening opposition when the Bears make the trip to Greenville on Sept. 21, highlighting Family Weekend activities. The Paladins have won the last two clashes with Mercer, including a 35-30, SoCon title clinching win last fall in Macon.
Furman welcomes East Tennessee State to Paladin Stadium on Sept. 28 and the opportunity to avenge last year's 29-27 upset loss to the Buccaneers in Johnson City in a contest the Paladins led 27-6 in the third quarter. That setback proved detrimental to Furman's playoff aspirations despite both teams sharing the league title.
Following the ETSU contest, the Paladins play three of their next four games on the road, beginning with Samford (Oct. 5) and also including Western Carolina (Oct. 26), and Chattanooga (Nov. 2). Furman's lone idle Saturday (Oct. 12) precedes an Oct. 19 clash against historic arch-rival The Citadel in Paladin Stadium. The game versus the Bulldogs, which will highlight Homecoming, marks the 99th meeting between the longtime SoCon rivals in a series the Paladins lead 60-35-3 and have won the last two encounters, including last year's 28-17 verdict in Charleston.
Furman has won three straight and 10 of its last 13 battles against Western Carolina and has claimed its last two meetings versus Chattanooga, including a 16-6 triumph in Greenville in 2018.
The Paladins' final three regular season games feature a Nov. 9 home contest against VMI, SoCon regular season finale at Wofford (Nov. 16), which Furman beat, 34-14, last year in Greenville, and Nov. 23 home contest versus Point University, coached by former Paladin standout cornerback Julius Dixon, a co-captain of Furman's 1988 NCAA I-AA (FCS) national championship team. Point represents Furman's first non-Division I foe since the Paladins opened the 2008 season against Mars Hill.
Furman's six regular season home games are a first since 2014 and mark only the third time in the past 10 seasons the Paladins have scheduled a half dozen home contests in a campaign.
The last time Furman faced two FBS opponents in a season was 2015: vs. Virginia Tech and UCF.
The release of the 2019 football schedule kicks off a busy week that includes Wednesday's National Signing Day Celebration, slated for Noon-2:00 p.m. at American Roadside Burger in downtown Greenville, and announcement of Furman football season ticket details on Friday.
A week into spring practice, which began on Jan. 25, Furman is projected to return 43 lettermen and 16 starters off last year's squad that went 6-4 (6-2 vs. SoCon) and won six of its final seven games to gain a share of the program's 14th league championship.
Hunter Reid, Sports Information