GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Dakota Derrick passed for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added 71 yards rushing to power Furman past Western Carolina, 31-17, in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Making his first collegiate start, Derrick, a sophomore from Conway, S.C., completed 12-of-23 passes and tossed touchdown passes of 18 and 6 yards in helping the Paladins (5-4, 3-3 SoCon) to their fifth consecutive victory and 12th triumph in the last 13 games with the Catamounts (2-7, 1-5 SoCon).
Western Carolina used a pair of second quarter touchdown run to erase a 14-3 first half deficit and grab a 17-14 halftime lead, but the Catamounts were shut out and managed only 55 total yards over the final two quarters.
"I thought we got after it and played some pretty good football in the second half," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "Dakota Derrick did some nice things and ran the offense well, and our defense turned it up a notch after halftime. I like that fact that we scored on our first three possessions of third quarter, and we backed it up with our defense, which shut them down."
Trailing 17-14 at intermission, the Paladins used a pair of nine-play, 63-yard drives in the third quarter to net a pair of scores and take control. Tersoo Uhaa's 6-yard run four minutes into the third quarter put Furman up 21-17, and a 26-yard Ray Early field goal made it 24-17 with 5:41 to go in the period.
A fumble by Western Carolina quarterback Zach Brindise at the 50 was scooped up by Furman defensive end Josh Lynn, who returned it 41 yards to the Catamount 6. On the next play Derrick connected with Uhaa on 6-yard touchdown strike to complete the 17-point quarter for the Paladins.
Furman claimed a 352-289 advantage in total offense for its highest tally since since rolling up 442 yards in a 56-14 victory over Howard on Oct. 6. Jerry Williams paced the Paladins' ground attack with 87 yards, on 15 carries, and Uhaa finished with 14 rushes for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Western Carolina's Deja Alexander caught four passes for 106 yards, including receptions of 37 and 41 yards in the second quarter, to set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Michael Johnson and 8-yard scoring run by Nate Harris that gave the Catamounts a 17-14 halftime lead.
Furman plays at Elon next Saturday in a 1:30 p.m. game.
Sophomore quarterback Dakota Derrick made his first collegiate start today against Western Carolina. Derrick's18-yard touchdown pass to David Hendrix in the second quarter was the first TD pass of his career.
Furman's 5x6 performance in the red zone today moved the Paladins' season numbers to 35x37, which is tops in the Southern Conference.
Furman claimed its first time of possession victory this year with a 33:21-26:39 advantage over Western Carolina.