After months of waiting and anticipation, the Furman Paladins took their home field against North Carolina A&T on Saturday. On a day with many entertaining games throughout college football, this one was no exception.
The Dins shut down the 24th ranked Aggies early with dominant defensive showings from Ivan Yates and Travis Blackshear. Both of them led the way with their stellar open-field tackling abilities as well as their vision for the ball.
As for the offensive, they put on a show: junior quarterback Hamp Sisson led the way with 362 yards passing, and three touchdown passes. He was later named SoCon offensive player of the week. Devin Wynn, a fifth-year senior running back from Greensboro, Georgia, put up a stellar performance to compliment the passing game with his 75 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown grab from Sisson. Devin Abrams also aided the Dins running game with 28 yards and 6 carries. Redshirt junior tight-end Ryan Miller dominated his man on the receiving end with 124 yards and 4 receptions, including a long 87-yard touchdown reception.
For the special teams, kicker Timmy Bleekrode did not disappoint with his three field goals, including a long 47-yard field goal that put the Dins up 26-10 early in the 4th quarter.
Before the game, head coach Clay Hendrix for the Dins stated, "A huge emphasis for our team since the spring has been attention to detail...execution of all three phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams) will be a major factor...". The Dins did all of that perfectly.
This all proved to be too much for the Aggies. Coming into the game, the Aggies were ranked 24th in the FCS coaches poll and were coming off three-straight of their seven total black college football national championships (they did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Their hopes to be steadily ranked in the FCS top 25 were diminished after this crushing defeat.
After the game, one can assume that Hendrix was proud of his men. They all worked so hard amidst a global pandemic that ravaged the United States as well as the brutal South Carolina summer heat. We all are sure the entire university is very proud of them too. Even after a disappointing one-off spring football season, the Dins emerged after their first game with little-to-no issues in their play. Catch the Dins in their next game at the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech on Saturday, September 11 at 2:30 PM on ESPN+. Go Dins!