Sept. 12, 2009
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. -- Tersoo Uhaa rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Furman used timely contirbutions from its defense and special teams to claim a 38-20 win over Chattanooga in the Southern Conference season opener for both schools Saturday evening at Finley Stadium.
The win marked the 15th consecutive triumph by Furman (2-0, 1-0 SoCon) over Chattanooga (1-1, 0-1 SoCon) and eighth straight victory by the Paladins at Finley Stadium. Furman also recorded a rarity in the contest, scoring touchdowns on the final play of the first, second, and third quarters.
"It's always good to open the conference season with a win, especially on the road," said Paladin head coach Bobby Lamb, who improved to 8-0 versus UTC, "When you can put points on the board with your defense and special teams like we did tonight, it really gives you a lift, and we needed it because we didn't do much offensively in the second half. We've got work to do."
Chattanooga opened the game by recovering an onside kick, but the advantage was short-lived. On the Mocs' first play from scrimmage, Paladin All-Southern Conference rover Max Lerner stepped in front of a B.J. Coleman pass and returned it 43 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Matthew Cesari's PAT made it 7-0.
A Chris Wiley fumble recovery at the Furman 30 halted UTC's next possession, and the Paladin offense put together its first scoring drive of the contest, moving 70 yards in eight plays for the score. A 38-yard catch and run by freshman Jerry Williams on a screen pass gave Furman the ball at the Mocs' 5-yard line, and three plays later quarterback Jordan Sorrells rolled to his left and found tight end Chris Truss open in the back of the end zone for the score and a 14-0 lead.
After the Mocs cut it to 14-7, the Paladins closed out the first quarter when Tersoo Uhaa bounced outside and outraced the UTC defense to the end zone for a 34-yard run to stretch the advantage to 21-7.
Both teams traded scores in the second quarter. A 35-yard Craig Camay field goal with 8:36 to go made it 21-10, but Furman responded on its final possession of the first half by covering 77 yards in 18 plays. A 29-yard pass from Sorrells to tight end Colin Anderson gave the Paladins the ball at the Mocs 1 with just over a minute to go. After being stopped twice short of the end zone, the Paladins called timeout with four seconds remaining, and short while later Uhaa delivered with a 1-yard plunge off right tackle on the final play of the half for a 28-10 margin. In the second half Furman took advantage of poor UTC special teams play to take command of the contest. Ryan Steed's recovery in the end zone following a high snap on a punt gave the Paladins a 35-13 lead with no time left in the third quarter.
Matthew Ceari's 27-yard field goal with 10:21 left stretched Furman's margin to 38-13.
Furman forged a 337-314 advantage in total offense, rushing for 198 yards and passing for 139. Uhaa paced all rushers with 87 yards. Bryan Fitgerald paced UTC with 69 yards rushing.
Sorrells completed 11-of-19 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown while UTC's Coleman completed 22-of-31 attempts for 225 yards and two scores. Both signal callers tossed an interception.
Blue Cooper paced Chattanooga's receiving corps with 13 catches for 109 yards.
Paladin cornerback Jordan Griffin led all tacklers with 12 stops.
Furman plays at Missouri next Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. EDT Fox Sports pay per view contest.