Eagles Late Rally Falls Short
The third-largest crowd in Paulson Stadium history attended the game - 23,373. That marked the second-largest regular season crowd and most since the top two attendance games came during the 1989 season.
Down by nine with less than six minutes remaining, the Eagles were facing 4th-and-7 from the Furman 33. Jayson Foster’s pass went incomplete but Furman was flagged for pass interference. That put the ball down to the 18. Two plays later, Foster hit fellow senior Dusty Reddick over the middle for 20 yards and his first career touchdown reception. Hartley’s extra point made it a two-point game.
The defense stepped up on Furman’s next drive. On 3rd-and-8 Furman completed a pass for seven yards. But on fourth down Chris Covington forced Jerome Felton to fumble and Terrione Benefield recovered on the Furman 49.
“We were in field goal range and we’re still not the greatest passing team. We’ve got a good kicker and we still have a good kicker. He didn’t kick as well as we wanted him to today, of course, but 33 yards from the left-hash that’s where he likes the ball. With the game on the line and a hard-fought game like that, I don’t know what else to do. That’s what we had to do and we just didn’t make the play,” said Hatcher.
For the first time this season, 11th-ranked
Furman (5-5, 3-3) marched down the field on its opening drive. Larry Hedden dropped ball in the endzone on 3rd-and-goal, setting up Scott Beckler’s 22-yard field goal. The Paladins took 7:20 off the clock on their 18-play drive.
The Eagles responded early in the second quarter. Foster found Tim Camp, who out-dueled the sun and his defender, for a 30-yard gain down the left sidelines. Two plays later Raja Andrews made a spectacular diving catch in the corner of the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown. The senior quarterback faked the extra point and found redshirt-freshman defensive end Austin Watts on the 2-point conversion for an 8-3 lead.
Andrews set his personal-high of TD receptions (and matched his career-total) with 8:43 left in the half. On 3rd-and-6 from the Furman 48, Foster hit Andrews down the middle for a TD. On the extra point conversion Hartley tied the
Furman cut into the Eagles’ lead late in the half. Brantley Kendall caught a 5-yard pass from Renaldo Gray making it 15-10.
Following his first half performance Foster set a Division I (FCS and FBS) season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. He already had the FBS record, then surpassed Matt Cannon’s (
Furman opened the third quarter by marching 80 yards on 13 plays while taking 5:22 off the clock. Felton scored from seven yards out and Scott Beckler’s extra point put the Paladins ahead 17-15. Gray capped off a 10-play drive when he rushed for a 9-yard touchdown with 1:32 left in the third quarter. That gave Furman a 24-15 lead.
Midway through the fourth quarter Beckler missed a 47-yard field goal, and that sparked the Eagles to their TD drive.
“Things didn’t look good for us going in to the fourth quarter. We made some good plays when we needed to. We moved the ball down the field. Jayson did a good job on the fourth down play he got it and he got banged up there, so we were limited in what we could do. But we were in field goal range and the way the game was going, we were just trying to move it down closer and kick the winning field goal. It’s probably the most heart-breaking defeat I’ve ever had as a head coach,” said Hatcher.
Foster finished 10-of-22 passing for 190 yards (the second-highest total in his career) and a personal-high three TDs. He also rushed for 82 yards, but for the first time in his career as a starting quarterback he failed to record a rushing touchdown. Foster also joined elite company, becoming the first Eagle QB since Greg Hill in 1999 to record 1,000 yards rushing and passing.
Entering into the regular season finale, Foster now has 1,649 yards the third-highest single season total in GS history and most by anyone not named Adrian Peterson. He also has 1,096 passing yards while completing 64 percent of his passes. Foster, registering his 21st-career multi-touchdown game, has 27 TDs accounted for this season.
Lewis rushed for a game-high 86 yards on 17 attempts. Andrews finished with 71 receiving yards and
Linebacker Quentin Taylor and defensive end Dakota Walker both recorded personal-highs.
Gray completed 22-of-34 passes for 232 yards, in addition to 49 rushing yards. Felton had 52 yards rushing. Hedden caught a team-high eight passes for 78 yards. Defensively, Julian Hicks has 11 tackles.
Furman closes out its season next Saturday (Nov. 17) at
GAME NOTES: Foster surpassed 1,000 passing yards this season with 1,096, adding to his season personal-high, and is eight yards shy of 2,000 for his career... Hartley missed field goals of 45, 42 and 33 yards. He remains two away from tying Tim Foley’s season record of 17... Andrews moved past Foster into fourth place among the GS season Top 10’ reception leaders with 34... Brandon Jackson recorded two pass break-ups. With 11 this year he is tied for fourth among the season Top 10’ leaders.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 10 November 2007 00:06