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Furman Outlasts Western Carolina In Home Opener, 44-38

Dejuan Bell
Dejuan Bell

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman jumped out to a 31-10 halftime lead and held on to down Western Carolina, 44-38, in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.

The game marked the first home appearance for Furman (1-3, 1-0 SoCon) this season following six consecutive road contests dating back to last season.

The victory was the Paladins' 11th triumph in the last 12 clashes with Western Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SoCon) in Greenville.

Furman rushed for 339 yards and four touchdowns and finished with 472 yards in total offense.

Freshman Dejuan Bell returned a kickoff 97 yards to counter an early Western Carolina score and added a 45-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Harris Roberts late in the first half to help give Furman a 28-10 lead.

Western Carolina registered 577 total yards, headlined by senior quarterback Tyree Adams, who completed 25-of-36 passes for 424 yards and five touchdowns.

Adams rallied the Catamounts from the 21-point halftime deficit, pulling WCU to within 38-31 following a 49-yard touchdown strike to Daquan Patten and 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Owen Consenke midway through the fourth quarter.

Furman responded with a 50-yard scoring run by Devin Wynn, who collected a lateral from Roberts and outran the Catamount defense to the end zone to give Furman a 44-31 advantage with 3:20 to go.

Western Carolina covered 75 yards in 10 plays to get to within 44-38 on a Connell Young 7-yard touchdown catch with 1:41 showing on the clock.

The Catamounts' onside kick attempt failed, however, when Deon Sanders pounced on the effort at the Western Carolina 46.

Bell's 97-yard kickoff return, the longest by a Paladin since Jerodis Williams' 100-yard return against Appalachian State in 2012, five plays into the game tied it at 7-7 after Adams and Western Carolina opened the contest with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took only 1:23 of clock.

A one-yard scoring plunge by Keland Dirks and 46-yard touchdown run off an option pitch by Darius Morehead gave the Paladins a 21-7 advantage.

Following a Catamount field goal, Furman finished off a strong second quarter with Bell's 45-yard hook-up from Roberts on a post route and a Grayson Atkins 23-yard field goal set up by a blocked punt by Avery Armstrong, who pounced on the ball at the Catamount 13-yard line.

The Paladins survived a late first half threat from Western Carolina when Amir Trapp recovered a fumble at the Paladin 6-yard line with 1:14 to go.  The fumble was one of a pair caused by Paladin linebacker Elijah McKoy.

Wynn led all rushers with seven carries for 98 yards and a score.  Roberts followed with 82 yards and completed 9-of-11 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown — his first as a Paladin.

Daquan Patten and Jordan Mathis combined for 11 catches for 259 yards and two touchdowns for Western Carolina.

Furman redshirt freshman bandit Adrian Hope continued his impressive work as a pass rusher, collecting three of the Paladins' four sacks to run his team leading takedown tally to six through four games.

Furman is off next Saturday and will return to action on Oct. 13 when it plays host to Wofford in a 1:00 p.m. game.