Saturday Apr. 10 was the 100th meeting of the of the Paladins and their historic rival, the Citadel. Since the rivalry began in 1913, Furman has won 60 games while the Citadel has won 37. Though Citadel has won the battle this season, Furman is still winning overall. Due to the cancellation of the Wofford game on April 17, this game with the Citadel was the unfortunate conclusion of spring football for the Paladins this season.
The Dins had a slow start on Saturday, having only gained 9 yards in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs dominated the ball possession time from the start; and the trend continued with a total of 39 of the 60 minutes of the game. The Furman defense held them off from scoring until the last minute of the quarter with some strong tackles by Darius Kearse and Braden Gilby.
The second quarter start proved better for the Dins. A strong connection between QB Hamp Sisson and #82 Ryan Miller was evident all quarter. This strong connection led to a spectacular 28-yard catch right into the endzone for the Paladins’ first touchdown. The Junior tight end, Miller, has proved to be a valuable member of the squad this season with 203 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, and was noted for his performance in the Samford game back in March. Miller has been a key player since the 2019 season where he accumulated 237 receiving yards, 11 receptions and three touchdowns.
The Paladins continued the momentum by holding off the Bulldogs from scoring all through the third quarter with key tackles by Sophomore Josh Agbenou. Unfortunately, the Citadel’s Jaylan Adams scored a touchdown with a 43-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Furman tried to fight back with Ryan Deluca and Jeff McElveen gaining 43 and 66 yards respectively. However, Furman’s offense just could not produce the necessary drives and red zone threats to challenge the Bulldogs. Furman defense also struggled against the Bulldogs offense; the Citadel challenge forced Furman to give up 26 points.
With a final score of 7-26, this game was certainly not the end to the 2021 season that players or fans had hoped. However, the players have not yet lost hope. Junior Timmy Bleekrode said, “This spring season was disappointing, but we have a good group of guys returning next year. I'm looking forward to what we'll be able to accomplish in the fall. I'm excited for the fall because we have a lot of talent and have the opportunity to be a great football team.” In keeping with the typical themes lately, Furman always has next year to look forward to.