App State plays its fourth road game of the season Saturday at Furman. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Furman is 2-4, with two season opening losses at Gardner-Webb and Coastal Carolina, followed by two wins over Presbyterian and The Citadel. The Paladins have since lost two straight, to Elon and Chattanooga. Here are four downs.
FIRST DOWN – STRUGG-UH-LIN
Going back to last season, Furman has won just 5 of its last 12 games, and just 2 of its last 7 at home. All but one of its contests this year were decided by a TD or less; ‘Nooga won big last week, 31-9.
The Paladins have the weakest offense in the SoCon, averaging just 298.8 yards a game. It’s split almost evenly between passing (151.7 yards a game) and running (147.2). It isn’t helped by a reluctant special teams which has returned just 5 punts on the season for 12 yards; 2.4 average.
SECOND DOWN – ANYTHING YOU CAN DO, I CAN’T
Furman and App State have each played Elon and The Citadel, with opposite results. The Paladins lost to Elon but beat The Citadel, while the Mountaineers beat the former and lost to the latter.
Against Elon, Furman lost by three, 28-25. It managed 164 yards rushing and a season-high 255 yards passing, but a 28-10 halftime deficit was too much to overcome. The Paladins beat The Citadel, 24-17, by holding the Dogs to a season-low 132 yards rushing. The game was tied at 17 early in the fourth. Furman won on a 13-yard TD run with 9:43 left.
THIRD DOWN – ONE-TWO-THREE PUNCH
Furman makes use of three running backs. Hank McCloud has started every game and is getting most of the carries, averaging 17 attempts and 85.8 yards a game.
Marcus Anderson has played in five games, but is averaging a respectable 40.8 yards a game. He went for a team-high 72 yards rushing on 11 carriers against ‘Nooga last week. Both are averaging at least five yards a carry. A third back, Terry Robinson, has just 23 carries in five games, but has matched McCloud’s scoring output with 4 rushing TDs. The team has 12 rushing TDs on the season.
FOURTH DOWN – MEANVILLE
App State has won 10 of its last 12 meetings with Furman. After a streak of nailbiters from 2000-2005, only two games since have been decided by 7 points or less, including last year’s 33-28 App win in Boone. The other close one was a 34-27 App State win in Greenville in 2007.
Yet in the past eight years, both Furman wins in the series occurred on its home turf – 34-31 in 2005 and 20-10 in 2011, the last time App State visited. Wofford is the only other SoCon school in that time span to beat App State twice at home. Overall, App State has just 6 wins in 16 games at Paladin Stadium.