LEXINGTON, Va. - The Furman Paladins scored 24 unanswered points in the middle portions of the game, en route to a 24-10 victory over the VMI Keydets in SoCon football action Saturday at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Va.
VMI (3-5, 1-4 SoCon) opened the scoring with a Reed King field goal in the first quarter, but would not score again until the opening moments in the fourth period. Furman (2-6, 2-3), meanwhile, saw quarterback Reese Hannon account for 291 yards through the air and another 84 on the ground (375 total) en route to its second consecutive win.
One of the plays that turned the momentum for the Paladins came late in the second quarter, when after a rough start, Keydet quarterback Al Cobb had completed 12 of his last 14 passes.
On a first and 10, however, Cobb was sacked from the back side by lineman T.J. Warren. Cobb was driven hard into the ground on the play and left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. He would not return, and Furman intercepted backup Austin Coulling twice the rest of the way.
Offensively, Furman finished the game with 215 yards rushing and had the ball for over 38 minutes. VMI was led on the offensive side of the ball by Ryan Swingle, who had a career-high 65 yards receiving and the lone Keydet touchdown of the day.
VMI struck first on the warm fall day, as the Keydets drove 41 yards on nine plays on their first drive. King booted through a 28-yard kick to give the home team the lead, 3-0, but that lead lasted less than two minutes.
On Furman's next drive, an 83-yard bomb from Hannon to Thomas Gordon gave the Paladins the lead for good, and the visitors added on in the second period. A 92-yard drive, highlighted by a 37-yard catch by Logan McCarter, ended with an 11-yard run by Antonio Wilcox that made it 14-3.
That was the score when Cobb was injured, and the Paladins added a field goal in the final seconds of the half to take a 17-3 lead to the locker room.
Furman wrapped up its scoring with a Hannon touchdown pass to Wilcox at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. Coulling was able to engineer a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, leading his team 77 yards in just 2:40 and capping it with a touchdown pass to Swingle to cut the lead to 14, but Furman stopped the Keydets on their next possession and then ran out the clock to preserve its win.
Defensively, both Allan Cratsenberg and Ryan Francis had 10 tackles for the Keydets, while Carl Rider led Furman with nine stops.
VMI football will return to action next Saturday, when the Keydets take on the Western Carolina Catamounts in Cullowhee, N.C. Action gets underway at 2 p.m.
Quotes - VMI Head Coach Scott Wachenheim
“Give credit to Furman. They took advantage of the bye week and coming off a win against East Tennessee State and came up here and played extremely well, extremely physical football. They didn’t make many mistakes and got after us. I’m proud that our kids kept fighting and got it down to a two score game in late the fourth quarter, but they just came out and outplayed us today and that’s on me. I have to have our guys ready to play above the level than we did today. “
“(Reese) Hannon is a really good running quarterback. We knew that coming in. Anytime you have a quarterback that can run and throw as a dual threat that makes it harder on the defense.”
“Daz (Palmer) gave us a lift in the second half and we did a better job blocking plus Furman was playing conservatively putting five men in the box trying to take away the pass, but Daz still found the hole and ran hard – our linemen still blocked the guys and I was proud of Daz the way he came out in the second half and played.”
“I have 100% confidence in Austin Coulling. He is a heck of a competitor. He took Salem High School to a state championship game and we have a lot of confidence in him taking over and running the offense looking forward. We should get sometime tomorrow a report on Al Cobb’s health and I think it will be positive.”