By: Sammy Clough, Sports Editor
This week in Furman sports history Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, Paladin quarterback Chris Forcier threw for a Southern Conference record seven touchdowns. Scoring eight total touchdowns, Forcier and the Paladins dominated Presbyterian 62-21 in front of a Furman Family Weekend crowd.
Forcier, an elite quarterback recruit, first chose to attend UCLA over offers from prestigious programs such as Miami, Nebraska, and Oregon. However, after spending two seasons with the Bruins, Forcier’s lack of promised playing time influenced his decision to transfer to Bobby Lamb’s Furman Paladins.
After an excellent start in purple for the 2010 season, Forcier fractured his neck just two games into the season during a game against South Carolina. He was sidelined for the remainder of the season. In the weeks following, after missing the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, Coach Lamb resigned and was replaced by Bruce Fowler.
In Forcier’s second home game of his Furman career, and first since his devastating neck injury from the year prior, he made the much anticipated impact on the Paladin program that everyone hoped for.
Presbyterian College came to Greenville to face Furman on Family Weekend and traveled back to Clinton, S.C. as the victim of eight new Furman football records. Forcier completed 12-of-16 passes for 226 yards and added 11 rushing attempts for 58 yards. A gargantuan performance that accumulated in seven passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to start the game for good measure.
Seven passing touchdowns set both the Furman and SoCon record, and Forcier complemented these records by setting a total of eight new Paladin records. He was named a College Sporting News National All Star for the trouncing of the Blue Hose and continued to dominate the SoCon for the remainder of the season.
The record-setting performance propelled the Paladins to pull of impressive wins against both Wofford and Appalachian State, however it was not quite enough as Furman missed the playoffs in 2011 and again in 2012.
The Paladins would finally make the playoffs in 2013 for the first time in seven years. You cannot help but wonder if this Furman football program turnaround first began with Chris Forcier’s record-breaking eight touchdown day this week in Paladin history.