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Paladins Impress in Opener

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Furman beats nationally-ranked North Carolina A&T 28-19.

Early in the FCS fall season, Furman has an impressive win and positive momentum. The Paladins opened the schedule with an notable 28-19 victory over nationally-ranked North Carolina A&T, responding to a first quarter field goal from the Aggies with 23 unanswered points. After three consecutive losses to end the spring schedule, this is a performance that moves Furman back into the forefront of the Southern Conference conversation.

Here come the Paladins.  

Quarterback Hamp Sisson was the catalyst, completing 25-of-40 passes for 362 yards and three scores as Furman compiled 25 first downs and nearly 500 yards of total offense. He completed touchdown passes to Devin Wynn, Joshua Harris and Ryan Miller. Sisson and Miller connected for an 87-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter, good for the fourth-longest pass reception in program history. Miller finished with four catches for 124 yards and the score.

Defensive highlights were critical for the Paladins, who limited big plays from North Carolina A&T All-American Jah-Maine Martin. Perhaps the matchup's most important sequence came when Kam Brinson forced an Aggie fumble at the goaline which was recovered by Braden Gilby; the Paladins, scoring on the Sisson to Miller conversion, went 97 yards for a touchdown three plays later. It was a potential 14-point swing. Travis Blackshear recorded Furman's first sack and interception of the season. Dae'one Wilkins blocked a field goal attempt.

The win is a strong foundation for what could be a special fall season for Furman. Next weekend at Tennessee Tech, the Paladins will look to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2014. Following a game at North Carolina State, Furman will then open SoCon play at the end of the month against Mercer. Expectations are high.

As the new season settles in, the Paladins are off to a great start.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com'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: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports