GREENVILLE, S.C. (Furman University) -- Elon’s Karl Bostick rushed for a pair of touchdowns and the Phoenix held off a second half rally by Furman to down the Paladins, 28-25, in Southern Conference football action on Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Bostick scored on runs on two and eight runs in the first half to help Elon (2-4, 1-1 SoCon) build a 28-10 halftime lead, which proved to be enough to earn the Phoenix the win in their final clash with Furman (2-3, 1-1 SoCon) as a SoCon member. Elon is departing the league at the end of the year to join the Colonial Athletic Association.
Furman rallied from the 18-point halftime deficit with a pair of second half touchdowns by Hank McCloud, who scored on a 3-yard run in the final minute of the third quarter and later with a 29-yard touchdown catch and run midway through the fourth period. Quarterback Duncan Fletcher’s two-point conversion run made it 28-25.
The Paladins could get no closer, however, as Furman failed to muster scoring chances on its final two possessions, which followed punts of 59 and 49 yards by Phoenix punter David Petroni. The 59-yarder pinned Furman back at its own 11 and led to a Paladin punt, and Petroni’s 49-yard effort, combined with a penalty, put the ball at the Furman 7-yard line with 3:10 remaining. From there the Paladins pushed the ball out to the 32, but an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-one play effectively sealed the game’s outcome.
Furman grabbed an early 7-0 lead on its first possession, getting an 11-yard Terry Robinson touchdown run five minutes into the contest.
Elon answered with the first of Bostick’s two scoring runs, a 2-yard plunge, to tie the contest at 7-7.
Chandler Wrightenberry broke the tie when he stepped in front of a pass by Terry Robinson and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown with 3:22 to go in the first quarter.
The Paladins made it a 14-10 game on a Ray Early 35-yard field goal, but it didn’t remain that way for long as Phoenix quarterback Mike Quinn scrambled to avoid pressure and connected with Rasaun Rorie behind the Paladin secondary for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
Elon capped its decisive first half when defensive lineman Jay Brown gathered in an under thrown pass at the Furman 37, and four plays later Bostick crossed the goal line on an 8-yard scoring run to stretch the advantage to 28-10.
Furman’s rough first half took an unfortunate turn early in the third quarter when backup quarterback Terry Robinson sustained a knee injury and was forced to leave the game.
His departure left Fletcher as Furman’s only quarterback in uniform, and the true freshman, who got his first start in place of injured sophomore Reese Hannon and previously sidelined true freshman Dillon Woodruff, tried to rally the Paladins.
After Jairus Hollman returned an Elon fumble to the Furman 17, Fletcher engineered a 10-play, 83-yard drive that ended on a McCloud 3-yard scoring run.
On the Paladins’ next possession, Fletcher connected on all eight pass attempts on an 11-play, 94-yard march that McCloud capped with a 29-yard scoring reception from Fletcher.
The Columbus, Ga., product completed 25-of-38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown.
Quinn, meanwhile, connected on 11-of-17 passes for 175 yards a score.
Hank McCloud led all rushers with a 20-carry, 116-yard performance — his third 100-yard outing of the the season.
Furman finished the game with a 419-309 advantage in total offense, including a 247-78 margin in the second half that saw the Paladins blank the Phoenix.
Elon’s John Silas led all defenders with 12 tackles.
Furman plays at Chattanooga next Saturday in a 6:00 p.m. game.
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