Written by, Kirsten Janes, Staff Writer
Late in the fall of last year, Furman football team tied for a share of the Southern Conference title with Wofford and East Tennessee State University. This year, they’re not planning on sharing.
At Chattanooga, the Paladins continued their away-game win streak, beating the Mocs 35-20. In a surprising change, redshirt-freshman quarterback Hamp Sisson came off the bench to pass for five touchdowns, easily pushing the team to a record of 5-1 in SoCon play. Sisson ran in a touchdown to give the squad their first lead of the game and it only continued from there. Sisson was named Student-Athlete of the Week by the Southern Conference, not to mention a number seven finish on ESPN Sportscenter’s Play of the Day after pushing Devin Abrams to a 31-yard rushing touchdown through a pack of Chattanooga defensemen.
Abrams scored two of the five touchdowns and collected 18 carries for a season-high 118 yards in the game. His counterpart, Devin Wynn, had another impressive game to add to his list of honors as well, carrying for one touchdown while contributing to the 271-yard rushing game for the Paladins. Wynn was announced as a finalist for the Blanchard-Rogers Trophy earlier this month. This honor comes after a total of 880 rushing yards in nine games. The recipient of the Blanchard-Rogers trophy is considered to be the most outstanding collegiate player with South Carolina ties and is awarded by the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame. The junior running back is nominated alongside Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a variety of players in South Carolina.
One specific group that should not be ignored on the Furman squad is their defense and special teams. Kicker Grayson Atkins has collected three SoCon Player of the Week honors, has made a record-consecutive 18 field goals, and, at Chattanooga, smashed a 62-yard punt against the Mocs. The defense consistently forces scoring turnovers, and has allowed limited action on the quarterback in all SoCon matches. Quandarius Weems, Bryan Okeh, Donavan Perryman and Elijah McKoy all tallied six tackles against Chattanooga to top off a SoCon leading defense, allowing just 19.1 points per game. Furman’s key defense and new changes on offense have earned the winning squad a 9th place ranking in the Division I Football Championship Committee’s top 10. The Paladins were victorious yet again with a 60-21 win against VMI on Sunday. With another key SoCon match against Wofford on Nov. 16, the team will need to continue their strong defensive strategy and maintain a high caliber ground game. With a win in the matchup, the Paladins can secure the regular season win, home-field advantage in SoCon playoffs and a possible qualification for the FCS playoffs.