Furman dominates turnover battle in rare Thursday night opener

Paladins force 6 turnovers in huge win over Tennessee Tech
A look at the Paladin's Thursday night win over Tennessee Tech
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:50 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - In only the second Thursday football game ever played in Paladin Stadium’s 42 years, Furman did what they do best and that’s force turnovers.

They forced six turnovers to turn a Tennessee Tech game that was relatively close at halftime, 21-10, into a complete blowout eventually winning 45-10.

Last season, the Paladins led the entire FCS in takeaways by forcing 29 turnovers (18 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries), and just a couple minutes into Thursday night’s game they built on that trend.

Graduate senior cornerback Travis Blackshear returned an interception 43 yards for the Paladins first score of the year.

“I was able to make that play and score with it, so it’s always a great feeling,” Blackshear said. “Corners don’t get too many opportunities like that so you’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Furman had bookend interception returns for touchdowns starting with Blackshear’s and ending with senior linebacker Dan Scianna’s.

With just under six minutes left, Scianna intercepted the ball, made a man miss and returned it 67 yards to the house. That put Furman up 38-10 and caused an enormous roar in Greenville.

After the game, Scianna and his coach Clay Hendrix explained why that play meant much more than just football.

“He lost his grandfather,” Coach Hendrix said about Scianna. “He left Tuesday night and got back last night.”

“That was him,” Scianna said about his grandfather’s presence during his interception return. “That was definitely him.”

Offensively, graduate senior running back Dominic Roberto led the Paladins with 18 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

It only ramps up from here for No. 6 Furman. After this 35-point win over Tennessee Tech, they’re heading to Columbia to play at South Carolina.

South Carolina is playing North Carolina on Saturday in Charlotte where ESPN’s College GameDay will be hyping up the action. Also on Saturday, Wofford plays at Pitt, and then Clemson plays at Duke on Monday night.

An incredible schedule is coming up for our South Carolina teams starting this football season.