Furman takes on No. 14 East Tennessee State in rivalry showdown

Louis Ivory vs ETSU in 2000

GREENVILLE, S.C.–As you might expect, Saturday is not only a big day at Paladin Stadium, but also throughout the Southern Conference. Below is a brief look around the league starting with the game in Greenville between Furman and No. 14 East Tennessee State. For a more in-depth preview of this game, you can click to the pdf link below.

No. 14 East Tennessee State (6-1, 3-1 SoCon) at Furman (4-2, 2-1 SoCon)

Game Time: 2:05 p.m. EST

Venue: Paladin Stadium (14,458)

Series: Furman leads 27-8/16-2 in Greenville

Head Coaches: Furman-Clay Hendrix (29-20/5th yr) ETSU-Randy Sanders (21-16/4th yr)

PDF In-Depth Preview Link:

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/7b3e7b76-b61e-4324-6898-caf18d632402

Brief Preview:

Furman and East Tennessee State meet for the 36th time on the gridiron Saturday in a game with SoCon title and FCS playoff implications on the line.

The Paladins come in off a 24-14 win over The Citadel in Greenville last Saturday to notch their second-straight win, while ETSU dropped its first game of the season with a 21-16 loss at Chattanooga in the “Rail Rivalry” game, which was played for the first time since 2019.

Furman and ETSU faced off against each other in the spring, with the Paladins able to overcome a 10-0 halftime deficit to come up with a 17-13 win at William B. Greene Stadium in Johnson City.

Both teams want to establish the running game with two of the best running backs in the Southern Conference, as Furman’s Devin Wynn is expected to be healthy once again after rushing for 204 yards and a pair of scores, while hauling in a 26-yard scoring pass from freshman signal-caller Jace Wilson, who is expected to start Saturday for the Paladins.

Though Wynn missed last Saturday’s game against The Citadel, he has 2,897 career rushing yards and 29 rushing TDs in his career to rank in the Top 10 in school history in both categories. This season, Wynn has rushed for 429 yards and four TDs on 86 attempts (5.0 YPC). He also has been targeted 11 times in the passing game for 125 yards and two scores.

Wilson has connected on 24-of-47 passes for 333 yards, with two TDs and an INT so far this season. Meanwhile, his favorite targets in the passing game will be tight end Ryan Miller, who has TD catches of 58 and 87 yards so far this season, and has caught 21 passes for 366 yards and three TDs this season, averaging 17.4 YPR.

Another receiving option to keep an eye on for the Paladins is true freshman wideout Joshua Harris, who ranks second on the team in receiving so far in 2021, having caught 17 passes for 198 yards and a score this season.

ETSU calls upon its outstanding running back Quay Holmes, who ranks second in the nation in rushing yards entering the contest, having rushed for 814 yards and nine touchdowns through the first seven games of the season.

Holmes is not alone in the backfield in his efforts for the Bucs, as Jacob Saylors helps him shoulder at least some of the load, having rushed for 522 yards and seven scores on 78 attempts this season, averaging an impressive 6.7 YPC.

Under center, the Bucs will call upon Tyler Riddell, who will be making his 11th start for ETSU, having connected on 110-of-174 passes for 1,487 yds, with 10 TDs and three INTs this season.

Riddell’s favorite options in the passing game are Will Huzzie (35 rec, 535 yds, 3 TDs, 15.3 YPR) and Georgia Southern transfer Malik Murray (19 rec., 205 yds, 2 TDs, 10.8 YPR)

Both defensive units are stout, with ETSU ranking 38th nationally in total defense (347.9 YPG) and Furman ranking 39th (341.8 YPG). Both have been stingy at allowing points as well, with ETSU yielding just 19.1 PPG and Furman only 20.2 PPG.

Leading Furman’s defense this season has been safety Hugh Ryan (31 tackles), while ETSU is led by linebacker Donovan Manuel (57 tackles). Both team’s have excellent secondaries, with ETSU being led by All-America candidate safety Tyree Robinson (3 INTs), while Furman might have the best cover corner in the SoCon, in Travis Blackshear (4 INTs).

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