Johnson City, Tenn. (Oct. 26, 2002) - The No. 4-ranked Furman Paladins controlled the ball on offense, compiling almost a ten-minute time of possession advantage in a 25-0 win over East Tennessee State Saturday afternoon from Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn.
The shutout is the second of the season against the Bucs, as they fell to North Carolina State, 34-0 in the season opener on Aug. 31.
The first quarter went scoreless, but Furman (6-2, 4-1 Southern Conference) got into the end zone on the first play of the second stanza. Brian Bratton hauled in a 19-yard pass across the middle from quarterback Billy Napier. The extra point was blocked by ETSU (4-5, 2-3 SoCon) senior defensive tackle Kai Schreckenberg (Wuppertal, Germany) to make the score 6-0 with 14:55 remaining in the second quarter.
Both teams seemed content to go into halftime with Furman leading 6-0. But with just 49 seconds remaining, Furman punt receiver Bear Rinehart took an Aaron Bass (Clinton, Tenn.) punt at his own 34-yard line and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown. The score at the half was 12-0 in favor of Furman after the Paladins' two-point conversion attempt failed.
On their first possession of the second half, Furman fullback Eric Emerson scored on a two-yard run up the middle with 10:49 left in the third quarter. Paladin running back Lamar Rembert was the key performer on the drive, rushing for 54 yards on just four carries. Furman kicker Danny Marshall split the uprights to give the Paladins a 19-0 lead.
Napier put Furman's final six points on the board as he went up the middle for a one-yard quarterback sneak. The final margin of victory was 25-0 after Marshall's extra point attempt sailed wide right.
Furman had the ball for 34:17 on offense, compared to 25:43 for the Buccaneers. The Paladins almost went all afternoon without a punt, as they kicked the ball away just once with 3:10 remaining in the game.
Both teams had success running the ball as Furman had 209 yards on the ground while the Buccaneers had 160. ETSU junior running back Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) had a game-high 85 yards on 17 carries. Buccaneer senior quarterback Jatavis Sanders (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had 55 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Furman was led by Hindley Brigham, who had 79 yards rushing on 16 carries. Lamar Rembert finished just behind Brigham, tallying 75 yards on 12 carries.
Napier had an efficient day for the Paladins, going 17-29 with 188 yards in the air, a touchdown and an interception. Sanders went 16-32 with 130 yards passing and two interceptions.
Rinehart had a game-high six receptions for 60 yards for Furman. Bratton and Toreico O'Neal each hauled in four passes for the Paladins.
Varner had a team-high five receptions for ETSU, while senior wide receiver Cecil Moore (Morristown, Tenn.) had 60 yards receiving on four catches.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Andrew Foerster (Kingsport, Tenn.) and sophomore safety Gerald Sensabaugh (Kingsport, Tenn.) each had a game-high 12 tackles for the Buccaneers. Sensabaugh also had a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery.
For the Paladins, Keito Whetstone had a team-high eight tackles and also recorded a tackle for a loss.
The road gets no easier for the Buccaneers, as they travel to Statesboro, Ga. next Saturday to face Georgia Southern at 3:30 p.m. Furman has next week off before hosting Georgia Southern in an important Southern Conference matchup on Nov. 9.