Oct. 24, 2009
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Miguel Starks accounted for 327 yards and five touchdowns to propel The Citadel to a 38-28 win over visiting Furman Saturday afternoon in the 89th meeting between the Southern Conference's two oldest rivals.
Starks, making his first career start, rushed for 144 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 183 yards and a score to pace the Bulldogs to (3-4, 1-3 SoCon) to their first league victory of the season.
Furman (4-3, 3-2 SoCon) got 250 yards and three touchdown passes from quarterback Jordan Sorrells, but the Paladins suffered from poor defensive play in the first half and failed to capitalize on offensive opportunities in the second half in dropping their third game in the last four trips to Charleston.
The Citadel rolled Furman's defense for 479 yards, including 296 yards on the ground and 183 through the air.
The Bulldogs set the tone on the game's opening possession by marching 75 yards in 15 plays for a 7-0 lead following an 11-yard burst by Starks midway through the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff into a 20 mile per hour wind, Furman's receiving team failed to adjust to the shortened kick, which bounced free in front of Paladin players and was recovered at the The Citadel at the Furman 23. Four plays later Starks rolled around left end, fumbled at the 1-yard line, but recovered it in the end zone for the score and a 14-0 advantage.
Furman got on the board on its first possession, covering 74 yards in seven plays for a 29-yard scoring strike from Sorrells to David Hendrix with 1:47 to go in the first quarter.
Another Starks scoring run, a 17-yard burst three minutes into the second quarter, put the Bulldogs back up by two touchdowns, but the Paladins answered with a 15-yard scoring toss from Sorrells to Sederrik Cunningham to pull to within 21-14 with 5:37 reamining in the half.
The Bulldogs closed out the half with their fourth consecutive scoring possession, using a Sam Keeler 25-yard field goal with 0:47 to go for a 24-14 advantage.
Furman opened the second half with 29-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham to David Hendrix to narrow the spread to 24-21, Embarrassed in the first half, Furman's defense appeared primed for its first stop of the contest when Kadarron Anderson forced a fumble, but Julian Hicks failed to scoop up the pigskin cleanly, and it was recovered by the Bulldogs for a seven-yard loss at the Paladin 28. On the next play Starks found Scott Harward open over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 31-21 lead.
Furman had other chances to turn the game around, forcing a punt and recovering two Bulldog fumbles on The Citadel's next three possessions, but two drives ended with Sorrells interceptions in the end zone and another with a punt from the 50.
The Bulldogs put the game out of reach with Starks' fifth touchdown responsibility of the contest, a 23-yard bolt around left end with 2:51 to go that made it 38-21.
Furman entertains Appalachian State next Saturday in a noon game that will be televised by Asheville, N.C., ABC affiliate WLOS.