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Furman Looking for Even More Momentum

By BJ Bennett
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A 2-0 start would be an affirming one for the Paladins.

 Furman is one of the great FCS programs in college football. National champions in 1988, the Paladins have made 18 playoff appearances and have won 14 league titles. In recent years, Furman advanced to the postseason in both 2017 and 2019. Expectations are high for the Paladins this spring, picked as the Southern Conference favorites by the media.

Suprisingly, however, Furman has not started off 2-0 in league play since 2011; Saturday's contest at VMI offers the Paladins an opportunity at that momentum.

Counting the finish to the 2019 schedule, Furman, off to a 1-0 start in this adjusted slate, has won five of six regular season games overall. There is great reason for optimism in Greenville and that perspective comes from both looking back and looking forward. Head coach Clay Hendrix is 22-14 with the Paladins, including an impressive 18-6 in SoCon play. 

The Paladins looked the part in week one, beating Western Carolina 35-7. Furman outgained the Catamounts 533 yards to 109, dominating at the line of scrimmage to the tune of 320 rushing yards to 67. Impressively, the Paladins promptly responded to an opening touchdown from Western Carolina with 35 unanswered points. Quarterback Hamp Sisson threw three touchdown passes and running back Devin Wynn topped 100 yards with a score.

VMI will be a great test for Furman defensively as quarterback Reece Udinski is one of the best signal callers in the country. The Paladins gave up merely 42 yards passing in week one. Furman has won five contests in a row over the Keydets, including a 60-21 victory the last time the two teams played. There is an element of the unknown to VMI as this will be the program's first game since November of 2019.

A 2-0 start would be an affirming one for the Paladins. That is the expectation for a regular name in the national polls and a leading one, slotted in the top ten, for this spring. Though many are already looking ahead to a showdown with Wofford, the SoCon favorite per the coaches, on April 17th, each week will be important for Furman. An all-league schedule comes with extra pressure to be consistent throughout. This weekend will be another barometer. 

A win Saturday would give the Paladins early traction they haven't had in ten years. That could ultimately prove to be the springboard to more history for a program that has a lot of it.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports