Oct. 17, 2009
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Kyle McKinney blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game to deliver a 26-24 Furman homecoming day victory over Samford in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
McKinney, a senior defensive end who last year blocked a potential game tying PAT attempt in the last minute of an eventual 28-27 Furman victory in Birmingham, broke through the left side of Samford's line to deflect Cameron Yaw's game winning attempt, allowing Furman (4-2, 3-1 SoCon) to hold on for the win -- its sixth straight over Samford (3-4, 1-3 SoCon) and 11th consecutive homecoming triumph.
"My hair is already gray, and this type of finish is making it even grayer," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "We played well in the first half and felt pretty good heading into the locker room at halftime after making a big goal line stand, but we just couldn't sustain anything in the second half. Samford is one of the best second half teams I've seen, and we knew it would be a fight to the finish and it was. We just made one more play than they did."
"This was a heck of a football game," Samford head coach Pat Sullivan said. "It was disappointing for us to lose it. That's two years in a row (against Furman) where we had our chances. Cameron didn't lose the game at the end, we had so many chances. Just one play here or there could have made a difference, but give Furman some credit."
With Furman holding a 26-24 lead, Furman's Matthew Cesari missed a 39-yard field attempt with 1:51 to go, and from there Samford used nine plays to drive from its own 21 to the Furman 22. A 39-yard completion by Bulldog quarterback Dustin Taliaferro to Jonathan Lowery to the Furman 36 helped set up Yaw's game winning attempt, but McKinney's deflection was recovered by Samford's Richie Fordham, who was tackled by Furman's Max Lerner at the Paladin 24-yard line to end the game.
Furman built a 20-7 lead in the first half behind two touchdown passes by quarterback Jordan Sorrells and 2-yard scoring run by Tersoo Uhaa. The Paladins preserved the lead with a goal line stand just before the break, stopping Taliaferro inches short of the end zone on a fourth down keeper to halt an 18-play, 88-yard drive.
Sorrells, who completed 21-of-28 passes for 205 yards, threw his third touchdown of the contest, an 8-yard strike to tight end Chris Truss, with 38 seconds to go in the third quarter to put Furman ahead 26-10. The Paladins, however, misfired on the PAT -- their second PAT failure of the contest -- to allow Samford to stay within two scores.
Alex Barnett's 1-yard scoring plunge and enusing two-point conversion with 11:53 to go sliced Furman's lead to 26-18.
After forcing a Furman punt, Samford put together an 11-play, 65-yard drive to make it 26-24 following Chris Evans' 1-yard scoring run with 6:23 to go. The Bulldogs, however, could not convert on the the 2-point try.
Both teams traded punts, and following a 25-yard return by Furman's Adam Mims to the Samford 22 with 3:35 left, the Paladins appeared set to run out the clock. On a third-and-two play from the Samford 14, however, Furman was flagged for a false start penalty, and after a loss of two yards on third down Cesari's 39-yard field goal attempt missed.
Samford outgained Furman 423-319 in total offense due, in large measure, to a second half that saw the Bullodogs roll up 264 yards while limiting the Paladins to 91. Samford also registered 48 offensive snaps to Furman's 22 over the final two periods.
Taliaferro completed 29-of-46 passes for 306 yards, including eight to Lowery, who finished with 143 yards.
Furman linebacker Kadarron Anderson notched a career high 19 tackles.
The Paladins play at The Citadel next Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. game.