The Furman Paladins finish up the regular season portion of their spring schedule in Saturday’s road trip to Charleston to take on The Citadel Bulldogs. After losing nine straight games, the Bulldogs finally got their first win of the season last week in a 28-24 victory on the road against Wofford. Furman, on the other hand, have lost back-to-back games to Mercer and UTC.
Furman needs to build a defensive wallIt has been tough sledding for Furman in recent outings.
The Paladins got carved up for 406 passing yards and two touchdowns by Mercer quarterback Carter Peevy in last week’s 26-14 loss on the road. It was a game where the secondary was on its heels the entire day. And yet, the biggest issue was the team’s inability to put up points on offense.
Furman has to do a better job of establishing balance and finishing drives with touchdowns. You aren’t going to win many games at any level if you’re only scoring 14 total points. They need quarterback Hamp Sisson to feel more comfortable in the pocket behind the offensive line, and they have to do a better job of opening holes for running back Devin Wynn. The Paladins are clearly at their best when both the passing and rushing attack is working in unison.
They won’t face nearly the same explosiveness they saw with Mercer’s pass rushers in Saturday’s meeting with The Citadel. So Sisson should have a bit more time to throw when he drops back.
However, the key matchup in this meeting will be the Bulldogs’ No. 1-ranked rushing offense against Furman’s top-ranked run defense in the Southern Conference. Something has to give in this one. The Citadel’s pass protection is obviously a hot mess with the team built specifically to run the football. It’ll be interesting to see if the Paladins’ defensive front can consistently clog up the rushing lanes and ultimately wreck the game.
The Citadel finally gets a winRejoice, The Citadel fans. The Bulldogs finally got one in the win column.
Things were starting to get a little bleak after watching the team lose nine straight games in the season. That 55-7 loss at home to Samford was especially soul-crushing. How could they possibly bounce back after being blown off their home field like that?
But somehow, someway, they were able to put together a 14-point performance in the fourth quarter to avoid losing to Wofford last week.
The celebration might be short-lived with Furman coming to town on Saturday, but the team can at least move on from the thought of going winless this season. They could add a second straight victory if they can still establish a run game against the Paladins’ stingy run defense. Opposing teams are only averaging 100.7 yards per game on the ground against them this season.
So there won’t be a lot of room to make plays on the ground for quarterback Jaylan Adams and The Citadel’s long list of viable running backs.
That’s a big problem with the team allowing an average 28.3 points per game on defense. The pressure is always on them to punch in touchdowns with them usually trailing in games. Furman makes a ton of mistakes, but they’re explosive enough to test The Citadel’s secondary. The Bulldogs already have six interceptions on the season. They have to force Sisson into bad throws to give themselves a chance to win.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Citadel deserves a lot of credit for gutting out an impressive comeback win over Wofford. They dug deep and did what they had to do to avoid going winless. However, the Terriers are a one-win team and possibly in even worse shape than every other team in the Southern Conference.
And it still came down to a fourth-quarter comeback for the Bulldogs.
Furman is a flawed team in their own right, but unlike Wofford, they can shut down the run game. They have only allowed six rushing touchdowns all season with opposing teams averaging 3.1 yards per carry against them. There isn’t a lot of open space to run, and the Bulldogs are going to have a tough time moving the ball. It’s a bad matchup for a team as heavily dependent on the ground game as The Citadel. They’re like a fish out of water without the run game.
The offensive line has to do a better job of keeping Sisson upright, but he could surely muster enough plays against the Bulldogs’ secondary to keep Furman comfortably on top. It’s back to losing for The Citadel.
I’m laying the points and taking Furman to get back on the winning track.
Full-Game Total Pick
Furman is a tough draw for The Citadel considering the way their defense has been able to snuff out opposing rushing attacks. They’re currently the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in the Southern Conference and a huge problem for the Bulldogs’ one-dimensional offense. A zebra isn’t going to change stripes, and The Citadel isn’t going to suddenly morph into a balanced offense that also depends on Jaylan Adams to make plays with his arm. No, they’ll line up and run at the brick wall repeatedly in hopes of causing a dent. Give me the under in this one.