Bucs edged in SoCon road showdown No. 15 Furman wins defensive battle over Bucs

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, October 1, 2019


GREENVILLE, S.C.  – Defense was the name of the game in Saturday’s Southern Conference showdown between ETSU and Furman in Greenville, S.C.

The Bucs dropped a narrow 17-10 contest at 15th-ranked Furman, despite outgaining the Paladins 290-268. With the loss, the Bucs fall to 2-3 (0-2 SoCon), while the Paladins improve to 3-2 (2-0 SoCon).

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The Paladins held the Bucs to their lowest offensive performance of the season at 290 yards, two yards shy of the previous season-low of 292 in the season opener at Appalachian State.

The ETSU defense countered with a shutdown performance of their own, holding the Paladins to their second-lowest offensive spurt of the season.

Furman jumped on the board in its second possession of the game with a 15-yard touchdown reception by Ryan DeLuca from Darren Grainger. The Paladins carried the 7-0 lead until 13:18 left in the second quarter when Grayson Atkins connected on a 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10.

Cameron Lewis (McDonough, Ga.) scored the Bucs’ only touchdown of the game in the second quarter with a 6-yard touchdown scramble to pull ETSU within 10-7.

The touchdown was set up by an Artevius Smith (Birmingham, Ala.) hit that jarred the ball loose for Jason Maduafokwa (Seymour, Tenn.) to recover his third career fumble.

The Bucs knotted the game up at 10-10 with just under six minutes in the third quarter as Tyler Keltner (Tallahassee, Fla.) buried a 34-yard field goal, his third consecutive make since his miss against VMI.

The Paladins notched the final score of the game in the first play of the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown push from Devin Wynn to lift Furman to the 17-10 victory.


First Quarter

  • Furman 7, ETSU 0: Furman jumped on the board first in its second drive of the game as Darren Grainger found Ryan DeLuca for a 15-yard touchdown reception, capping a 9-play, 80-yard drive.

Second Quarter

  • Furman 10, ETSU 0: The Paladins extended their lead to double digits after Grayson Atkins knocked in a 28-yard field goal, his 15th consecutive connection. Prior to the start of the second quarter, the drive was extended after an ETSU facemask on 3rd and 11.
  • Furman 10, ETSU 7: The Bucs jumped on board midway through the second quarter after a big hit by Smith and fumble recovery by Maduafokwa put the ball back in the Buccaneer hands in a prime spot. ETSU did not let the opportunity pass by, as Cameron Lewis recorded his second rushing touchdown of the season, a six-yard scramble to cap off a 4-play, 42-yard drive.

Third Quarter

  • ETSU 10, Furman 10: ETSU knotted the game at 10 apiece following an 8-play, 46-yard drive that was capped off by a 34-yard field goal from Tyler Keltner. The field goal was set up by back-to-back big plays with Keith Coffee’s 18-yard catch followed by Nate Adkins’ 21-yard reception.

Fourth Quarter

  • Furman 17, ETSU 10: The Paladins took the 17-10 lead on the first play of the final quarter with a Devin Wynn 1-yard rush. The Paladins 51-yard drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pitch and catch from Grainger to DeLuca down to the ETSU 11.



  • Despite the loss, ETSU outgained Furman 290-268, holding the Paladins to 171 yards on the ground … Furman entered the contest averaging 289.3 yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry.
  • The Bucs totaled 88 yards on its two scoring drives (17 plays), while being held to 202 yards on its 46 other plays on the day.
  • Furman totaled 132 yards on 20 plays in back-to-back scoring drives but was held to 136 yards on the remaining 35 plays by a stifling defensive effort by the Bucs.
  • With the loss, ETSU drops to 8-26 all-time against the Paladins.
  • The Paladins earned 85 yards on the ground in the first quarter, the most allowed by the Buccaneers’ defense all season … ETSU then held Furman to just 86 yards rushing over the final 45 minutes of play
  • Tyree Robinson (Gainesville, Ga.) and Jared Folks (Harrisburg, Pa.) led the Buccaneer defense with nine tackles apiece, while Nasir Player (Columbia, S.C.) and Zack Yancey (Opelika, Ala.) finished with six tackles … Player recorded the lone sack for ETSU.
  • Artevius Smith forced his first career fumble when he knocked the ball loose on his punishing hit on Corey Watkins … Jason Maduafokwa recovered the ball for his third career fumble recovery.
  • Smith also posted an interception for the second straight game, moving his career total to four … Both interceptions have come in the fourth quarter in back-to-back games.
  • The Buccaneer offensive line went 158 consecutive plays without allowing a sack prior to Trey Mitchell (Knoxville) being brought down for a 3-yard loss on third down late in the third quarter.
  • Furman kicker Grayson Atkins 28-yard field goal in the second quarter marked his 15th consecutive make, breaking the Southern Conference record of 14 previously held by Buccaneer great, JJ Jerman.
  • Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Ga.) led the Bucs on the ground with 85 yards on 15 carries, while Anthony Spagnoletti (Bealeton, Va.) paved the way in receptions with four for 30 yards.
  • Both teams coughed the ball up once on the ground and tossed one interception.
  • ETSU was flagged for just three penalties for 25 yards, while the Paladins went 60 minutes without a single penalty.
  • The Bucs have now forced two turnovers in back-to-back games while handing the ball over twice themselves in three consecutive outings … ETSU has now turned the ball over in nine consecutive games, a streak that began against Wofford on Oct. 20, 2018.


The Bucs will return home on Saturday, Oct. 5 for their only home game in the month of October. ETSU will host Wofford at 3:30 p.m. at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium in a BLUE OUT.