Furman hoping to ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ Gamecocks on Saturday

Paladins taking underdog title into in-state matchup in Columbia
Furman hoping to ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ Gamecocks on Saturday
Furman hoping to ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ Gamecocks on Saturday
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 11:22 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Furman Paladins Head Coach Clay Hendrix opened his press conference Tuesday by saying not a single one of his players even received a walk-on offer at South Carolina. However, he still believes they can compete against the Gamecocks in Columbia on Saturday.

Furman graduate quarterback Tyler Huff said South Carolina is ‘not unbeatable’ and explained his emotions heading into the big game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

“I was actually talking with some of the guys yesterday after practice, and I kind of felt weird. I don’t feel nervous for this week,” Huff said. “I was actually nervous a good bit, probably like a whole week preparing for Tennessee Tech (Furman’s opener last Thursday). I think it’s more exciting because it’s a big stage, it is fun.”

On the other side, South Carolina’s trying to bounce back after a disappointing game-one loss to then No. 21 North Carolina in Charlotte. But Gamecocks Coach Shane Beamer said Furman is not an easy win while pointing out the Paladins’ No. 6 ranking in the FCS.

“If you actually study the game of football and know what you’re talking about and watch football, you know this is a hell of a football team coming in here this weekend,” Beamer said. “And that’s not coach speak, ‘Shane is trying to rally the guys on Tuesday.’ This is a team that has won eight of its last nine games.”

Last season, Furman hung with a 5th-ranked Clemson team before eventually losing 35-12. Both sides spoke about how that Clemson game applies to this season at South Carolina.

“The best feeling last year playing Clemson was seeing the shock and surprise in their face whenever we did what we did against them,” Huff said about his Paladins’ performance. “I’m excited to do that again this week and see that shock and surprise in some linebacker or safety’s face when we run through them or run over the top. It’ll be exciting.”

Beamer also referenced Furman’s showing against the Tigers last season.

“These guys also went to Clemson last year, outgained them in total offense, and held Clemson to seven points in the second half,” Beamer said. “They won’t be wide-eyed coming in here on Saturday night. So if anybody thinks that’s the case and this is a ‘take a breath’ week, you’re sorely mistaken.”

Furman plays at South Carolina in Columbia at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Gamecocks home opener.