FCS Playoffs: Furman at Wofford

FCS Playoffs Second Round

The Matchup – Furman (8-4) at No. 7 seed Wofford (9-2)

Kickoff – 2 p.m. ET at Gibbs Stadium (13,000) in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Coverage – ESPN3

Series – Furman leads 53-31-7 (last meeting: Wofford won 24-23 at home on Sept. 2)

Players to Watch – Furman: QB P.J. Blazejowski (124 of 203, 2,204 yards, 18 TDs, 5 INTs), RB Antonio Wilcox (150 carries, 790 yards, 14 TDs), TE Andy Schumpert (27 receptions, 572 yards, 9 TDs), LB Reynard Ellis (79 TT, 5 TFL, 2 Sacks), S Aaquil Annoor (60 TT, 2 INTs, 2 FF); Wofford: QB Brandon Goodson (61 of 113, 964 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 234 rushing yards), FB Andre Stoddard (153 carries, 743 yards, 14 TDs), RB/PR Lennox McAfee (90 carries, 649 yards, 6 TDs), DE Tyler Vaughn (35 TT, 3 QBH), DE Miles Brown (38 TT, 9 TFL, 3 Sacks)

The Skinny – Two South Carolina rivals whose campuses are separated by 37 miles meet for the 92nd time but the first in the playoffs. Wofford has won the last three meetings, including in this year’s SoCon season opener after it denied a two-point attempt in the final minute to spoil Furman coach Clay Hendrix’s debut. The visiting Paladins have overcome an 0-3 start to reach the playoffs for the 17th time, and they held on to beat Elon 28-27 in the first round. One of the big matchups is their offensive line working against Wofford’s stout defensive front. The Paladins are averaging just over 240 rushing yards per game, about 10 fewer than Wofford. Blazejowski’s passing efficiency is a distinct advantage for the Paladins, but the SoCon champion Terriers counter with the conference’s top-ranked defense, including All-SoCon CB Devin Watson in the secondary. Offensively, their flexbone option spreads the carries between backs, with QB Joe Newman also coming off the bench. Luke Carter is 10 of 11 on field goal attempts and has drawn a fair catch on 17 of 42 punts.

Up Next – The winner will play San Diego or No. 2 seed North Dakota State in the quarterfinals on Dec. 8 or 9.

Prediction – In coach Mike Ayers’ 30th season, Wofford has been excellent in close games (7-1 in games decided by seven points or less), and this rematch should be tight. Wofford 23-17.