GREENVILLE, S.C. (Furman SID) — Harris Roberts passed for 235 yards and three touchdowns and added two rushing scores to power Furman past FCS fourth-ranked Wofford, 34-14, in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Roberts, a redshirt senior who missed a good portion of preseason practice after suffering a thumb fracture on his throwing hand, completed 16-of-19 passes for 235 yards and touchdown strikes of 14, 9, and 9 yards. The Cumming, Ga., product ran for 32 yards and also scored on a 9-yard run and tallied the Paladins’ final score of the game with a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter to cap a 16-play, 71-yard drive that consumed over nine minutes of clock.
The win, the second straight for Furman (2-3, 2-1 SoCon), snapped a four-game series winning streak for Wofford (4-2, 3-1 SoCon) and was the Paladins’ fifth triumph in the last six meetings in Greenville against its oldest football rival. The last time Furman defeated a higher ranked team was FCS No. 3-ranked Appalachian State, 20-10, in 2011 in Paladin Stadium.
Furman’s defense contained Wofford’s FCS leading ground game, limiting the Terriers to 247 yards and only one touchdown after entering the game averaging 388.8 yards per game. Wofford finished with 352 total yards, well shy of their 497.2 yards per game average — the second best in the FCS.
The Paladins grabbed the upper hand from the start, covering 75 yards in seven plays on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead on Roberts’ 24-yard touchdown strike to Darius Morehead.
After halting Wofford on its first three possessions, Furman used a 19-yard Dejuan Bell punt return and personal foul penalty on Wofford to pave the way to its next score. Needing just four plays to cover 36 yards, Roberts helped give the Paladins a 14-0 lead when he rambled around right end and dove into the corner of the end zone to complete a 9-yard run with 2:28 to go in the first period.
Paladin bandit Chris Washington helped set up Furman’s final tally of the first half when he deflected a pass attempt by Wofford quarterback Joe Newman into the hands of defensive end Chiendu Okonya at the Wofford 34. From there the Paladins ran four straight times and, following a pair of timeouts, Roberts connected with Devin Wynn on a sideline pass and run into the end zone to complete a 10-yard scoring play and 21-7 lead.
Furman extended its lead to 27-7 on its first possession of the second half on Roberts’ third touchdown strike of the contest, a 9-yard hook-up with Ryan DaLuca.
Furman limited Wofford to just 3-of-11 third down conversions after the Terriers entered the game sporting a 48 percent conversion rate.
Elijah McKoy paced the Paladins’ defense with 14 tackles, followed by Donavan Perryman and Jordan Willis finished with nine stops apiece.
The Paladins play host to Samford next Saturday in a 2:00 p.m. homecoming contest.