CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Chris Forcier passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns to power Furman past Western Carolina, 47-21, in Southern Conference football action Saturday evening at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
Forcier, the reigning Sports Network National Offensive Player of the Week and most efficient passer in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), completed 14 of 17 passes, including touchdown strikes covering 29, 42, 1, and 34 yards in keying Furman (3-1, 2-0 SoCon) to its sixth consecutive victory over Western Carolina (1-3, 0-2 SoCon). In his last two games, Forcier, a senior from San Diego, Calif., has completed 26 of 33 attempts for 463 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Jerodis Williams, the SoCon's leading rusher, ran 28 times for 175 yards and a touchdown to key a ground attack that racked up 268 yards. Tight end Colin Anderson caught five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Furman posted a 537-341 advantage in total offense.
All-SoCon defensive end Josh Lynn keyed Furman defensively with five tackles and two sacks, part of a four-sack effort by the Paladins, who upped their season tally to nine, thereby tying last year's 11-game sacks total.
"For the second straight week our defense made a play early to set up a score, which got us going," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler. " We ran the football effectively, and our passing game was again very efficient. That versatility was really a good combination, and I thought our pass rush was solid."
Junior bandit Mitch McGrath's interception and 7-yard return to the Western Carolina 29 set up the Paladins' first score, which came on the next play when Forcier connected with tight end Colin Anderson on a 29-yard scoring toss with 6:52 to go in the first quarter.
Forcier gave the Paladins a 13-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter by converting a 3rd-and-11 play with a 42-yard scoring hook-up with Tyler Maples.
Furman turned aside Western Carolina's best scoring chance of the first half when cornerback Derek Murray gathered in a batted pass at the Furman 10 and returned it to the 17. On the next play Williams ripped off an 43-yard run to the Catamount 40. An 18-yard Forcier completion to Daniel McFadden gave the Paladins a first down at the Western Carolina 22, and four plays later Williams bolted into the end zone from nine yards out to make it 20-0 with 1:40 to go in the first half.
Western Carolina opened the second half with a George Richardson 99-yard kickoff return, but Furman answered with an 11-play, 67-yard scoring drive. Rolling to his right Forcier found Tony Caldwell open in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown toss for a 27-7 advantage.
The Paladins tacked on a Tersoo Uhaa 4-yard scoring run, Forcier's fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 34-yard connnection with Colin Anderson, and a 1-yard scoring plunge by backup quarterback Dakota Derrick.
Furman entertains Samford next Saturday at Paladin Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
Jerodis Williams' 175-yard rushing performance marked the highest tally by a Furman running back since Louis Ivory ran for 176 in a 47-28 win over Presbyterian in 2001.
Cornerback Derek Murray's second quarter interception was the first of his career.
Free safety Nathan Wade registered a team high seven tackles and a tackle-for-loss in his first game of the season.
Furman has produced a 7-0 advantage in turnovers the last two games, collecting four versus PC and three versus Western Carolina.