Furman opens with win at VMI
Furman opened the season with an impressive 47-22 victory over Virginia Military Institute Saturday in Lexington, Va.
Though the season is in its infancy, the match-up pitted two top Division II teams in the country. Last year, Furman finished the 15s season ranked 6th in the nation while VMI was tabbed 8th.
The friendly contest consisted of three 30-minute halves. Both squads agreed to put newer players on the pitch during the second half.
The first half was very competitive with Furman holding a 18-15 lead. The Paladins had multiple penalties and unforced knock-ons during the period as the team worked to iron out first game jitters. The Paladins won the second and third halves running way 25-7 and 29-7 respectively. The team’s ball movement and quick pace off-loading kept the Keydets off balance.
Freshmen Jeffrey Rein, Austin Willis, Thomas Trankle and John Williams had exceptional games. Willis and Williams scored two trys each.
“Our defense was suspect at times and VMI counter rucked well, but we improved as the game progressed,” said Furman Coach John Roberts. “Our new players really emerged.”
This year, Furman players reported to school early. So, the Paladins had 9 practices under their belt before the first game.
“The preparation really helped us,” said Roberts. “We are much further along now than we were this time last year.”