GREENVILLE, S.C. (Furman University Release) -- Jordan Hawkins blocked a potential game winning 23-yard field goal attempt with 18 seconds remaining in the game to help Furman hold on for a 21-20 victory over Presbyterian in football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Hawkins, a true freshman defensive tackle from Jacksonville, Fla., who also collected four tackles in the first start of his career, deflected the low kick by Blue Hose freshman kicker Brett Wilson, who had earlier missed an extra point attempt and 33-yard field goal try. Furman’s Austin Williams pounced on the blocked kick at the Furman 8-yard line, and the Paladins ran out the clock to notch the win — their 15-straight triumph over PC.
The result gave both teams 1-2 records on the season.
“Presbyterian deserves a lot of credit. The improvement they’ve made the last couple of years we’ve played them is impressive,” said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler. “My hat goes off to them. They were very aggressive and played very hard.
“One of the things we are trying to do is to learn to finish the game and realize that every play counts. Today was a pretty good example of it for our players. It goes down the wire, and that (the blocked kick) was a big play, but there were some others. Marcus McMorris made a great play coming off the hash and knocking a pass down that stayed in the a air a long time to a wide open receiver.”
The Blue Hose moved into position for the potential game winning field goal after taking possession at their own 46 with 6:32 remaining, covering 48 yards in 15 plays. An 11-yard pass from quarterback Kaleb Griffin to Jeremiah McKie on fourth-and-three at the Furman 25 gave the Blue Hose the ball at the 14. A seven-yard run by Demarcus Rouse to the Furman 4 earned the Blue Hose a first and goal with 1:52 remaining, but PC elected to play for position with a pair of runs that spotted the ball in the middle of the field at the Furman 6. The snap and hold were good, but Wilson’s kick appeared low, and Hawkins was credited with the deflection.
Furman trailed 20-7 at halftime but used a pair of Hank McCloud third quarter scoring runs to erase the deficit.
McCloud’s first score, a 2-yard run, was set up by an Austin Williams fumble recovery at the PC 24 and a pair of penalties on the Blue Hose. The first flag, for sideline interference on the turnover, moved the ball to the PC 12, and on the next play the Blue Hose were assessed a penalty for interference in the end zone, which gave Furman the ball first and goal at the 2. McCloud scored on the next play to make it 20-14 at the 5:46 juncture of the third period.
A shanked PC punt that covered only 11 yards to the Blue Hose 42 set up Furman for the go-ahead score. A David Dingess 12-reception to the PC 26 on third-and-six kept the drive alive, and on the next play McCloud took a toss sweep around left end and into the end zone to tie the game at 20-20. Ray Early’s PAT broke the tie and proved to be the game winner.
Furman’s only offense in the first half came on the game’s opening drive when the Paladins ran the ball 16 consecutive times on a 66-yard drive that ended on a Hannon 6-yard scoring run around left end.
PC took advantage of a high snap on a Furman punt to get on the board. After Furman punter Ray Early fell on the ball at the Paladin 4-yard line, Rouse bulled into the end zone on the next play to help tie the game at 7-7.
LaQua Mayes’ 3-yard scoring run midway through the second period capped a 13-play, 82-yard drive and gave the Blue Hose a 14-7 lead.
PC converted another Furman second quarter miscue into points after Breyon Williams pounced on a fumble by running back Marcus Anderson at the Furman 41. Back-to-back runs by Rouse for 12 and 29 yards got the Blue into the end zone, but Wilson’s PAT missed and PC led 20-7.
The teams traded punts to start the second half before the fumble by Griffin at the PC24 led to the first of two second half scores by the Paladins.
PC forged a 278-182 advantage in total offense but was shut out in the second half.
McCloud led all rushers, running 22 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns for his second straight 100-yard outing.
Griffin led PC, completing 15-of-18 passes for 135 yards, while Hannon connected on 10-of-19 passes for just 51 yards for Furman.
Greg Worthy topped all defenders with a career high 14 tackles.
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