The regular season did not end well for Southern Conference Champion Furman Saturday with an upset loss at Wofford, but the Paladins flushed that quickly with the news Sunday they are the #7 seed for the FCS Playoffs that begin this weekend, and they will have a first round bye. The Paladins will host the winner of the first round game between UT-Chattanooga and Austin Peay.
Here are some notes on the Paladins furnished by Furman:
- The playoff berth is the 20th for Furman — tops among current Southern Conference schools — and fourth under head coach Clay Hendrix. The home game will be the second for the Paladins for a second straight season. A year ago Furman knocked off Elon, 31-6 at Paladin Stadium in a first round playoff matchup.
- The Paladins, who own an 20-18 all-time playoff record, have played for three FCS (formerly I-AA) Championships and captured the league’s first national championship in 1988, defeating Georgia Southern, 17-12, in Pocatello, Idaho.
- Furman opened the season with a 45-10 triumph over Tennessee Tech before falling to South Carolina, 47-21. The Paladins then reeled off eight consecutive wins, beating FBS transition foe Kennesaw State, 31-28, on the road before opening SoCon play with an impressive 38-14 win over FCS No. 17 Mercer at home. Following a 28-14 victory over arch-rival The Citadel in Greenville, Furman successfully navigated a stretch of three road challenges in its next four games, beating defending league champion Samford (27-21), FCS No. 8 Western Carolina (29-17), and FCS No. 13 Chattanooga (17-14). The win over the Mocs on Nov. 4 earned Furman a share of the 2023 league crown, and the Paladins made it outright the following week with a 37-3 triumph over VMI at home.
- Furman’s defense has been the driving force behind the team’s success in 2023, topping the SoCon in scoring defense (17.7 ppg), rushing defense (90.5 ypg), sacks (36), total defense (322.9 ypg), third down conversion defense (.322),red zone defense (.667), interceptions (17), turnovers gained (26), and turnover margin (+1.45/FCS No. 1), among others.
- Furman’s SoCon championship is a SoCon all-time best.