Harper leads Clemson to big win over Furman
CClemson, SC (Sports Network) - Cullen Harper completed 16-of-19 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, leading the 20th-ranked Clemson Tigers to a 38-10 rout of the Furman Paladins.
Aaron Kelly had six catches for 79 yards and a score for Clemson (3-0). James Davis added 58 yards on the ground on nine carries with a touchdown for Clemson.
Jordan Sorrells went 18-for-28 for 172 yards and two interceptions for Furman (1-2), and fellow quarterback Renaldo Gray completed 10-of-15 passes for 70 yards and one interception. Jerome Felton rushed 20 times for 74 yards, and Patrick Sprague had five catches for 56 yards. Brantley Kendall had the lone Paladins touchdown, on a 29-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we performed well against Furman today. Furman made the game close today, even though we came out with a 38-10 victory," said Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden.
Clemson drove right down the field on its first possession, thanks to a large dose of Davis. The Tigers back had gains of 21 yards and 10 yards before pushing in from two yards out to cap an eight-play, 66-yard drive, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 9:54 left in the first quarter.
The Clemson defense stopped Furman on a fourth-and-one attempt near midfield, and took advantage of the short field. The Paladin defense did stiffen near the end zone, though, forcing a 22-yard field goal by Mark Buchholz, putting Clemson on top 10-0 with 2:09 left in the first.
Clemson struck from 49 yards out early in the second quarter. After Michael Hamlin picked off a Gray pass near midfield, the Tigers went deep on their first play, a 49-yard strike from Harper to Tyler Grisham, to put Furman in a 17-point hole with just under 10 minutes left in the half.
The Furman offense got on track on their next drive, moving into Clemson territory, but Ryan McKie, after hauling in a 12-yard completion, coughed the ball up at the Clemson 26. The Paladins were able to mount a charge on their next drive, but had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Scott Beckler, putting Furman on the board with 37 seconds left in the first half.
Furman went with a surprise on-side kickoff to open the second half, and recovered at their own 44-yard-line. The Paladin offense couldn't take advantage, though, and the Tigers pulled away with another scoring drive. The big play was a 33-yard scoring pass from Harper to Jacoby Ford, boosting Clemson to a 24-3 lead with 8:19 left in the third.
Harper connected with Kelly on a 23-yard score with 13:40 left in the fourth, and freshman quarterback Willy Korn completed his only pass, a 42-yard strike to La'Donte Harris, putting the Tigers ahead 38-3 with 10:49 left.
Kendall's scoring run was the lone bright spot for the Furman offense, with 6:08 left in the fourth.
"I just told our football team how proud of them I was," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "I told them I wanted them to do one thing and that was to compete for four quarters and that's what we did. Our guys never quit. We made some great plays and moved the ball down the field."
Grisham had three grabs for 74 yards for the Tigers...Furman outgained Clemson, 384-377...Clemson had only 60 yards rushing. Furman had 142.
09/15 20:53:59 ET