GREENVILLE, S.C. (Furman University)– Dominic Roberto rushed for a career high 132 yards and reeled off a 90-yard first half touchdown run to power Furman past The Citadel, 24-14, in Southern Conference football action Saturday evening at Paladin Stadium.
The game marked the 101st meeting between the Paladins (4-2, 2-1 SoCon) and Bulldogs (2-4, 1-2 SoCon), the SoCon’s two oldest football rivals.
With the score tied 7-7 late in the first quarter, Roberto, a 5-foot-11, 242-pound sophomore, burst through the left side of The Citadel’s defense and raced down the sideline untouched to the end zone to complete the second longest run in Furman history.
Roberto’s rushing performance came via 12 carries, including four runs for 20 yards that set up the Paladins’ final score of the game following an Elijah McKoy sack and fumble recovery at The Citadel 31. Devin Abrams’s one-yard plunge ended the seven-play, 31-yard possession and gave Furman a 24-14 lead with 7:23 remaining.
McKoy, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound fifth year senior who registered his first start of the season at the spur position, combined his sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery in a 10-tackle performance.
The Paladins fumbled the ball away twice in the first half but managed to overcome the miscues with solid defense, stopping The Citadel on downs on three consecutive possession while taking a 17-7 first half lead.
Tight end Ryan Miller’s 58-yard catch and run for a touchdown knotted the game at 7-7, and the Paladins went up for good with Roberto’s 90-yard scoring bolt.
Timmy Bleekrode extended the advantage to 17-7 with a 21-yard field goal less than a minute into the second period, the score set up by Paladin defensive back Kam Brinson, who raced in untouched to tackle Bulldog punter Matt Campbell at the Citadel 11 before the senior could attempt the kick.
Furman managed just 47 total yards over its next six possessions before McKoy delivered his decisive sack and fumble recovery that helped put the game away for the Paladins.
The Citadel had cut Furman’s lead to 17-14 on a Jaylan Adams one-yard touchdown plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter, ending a 16-play, 72-yard drive, but the Bulldogs failed to convert on their final three possessions, which ended with a punt and two fumbles.
The Citadel, which outgained Furman 364-289 in the contest, was paced by Adams 118-yard, two-touchdown rushing effort, but the Bulldog quarterback needed 35 carries for his rushing tally. He completed 9-of-17 passes for 123 yards but was intercepted once and sacked twice.
Furman plays host to East Tennessee State next Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. game at Paladin Stadium.