- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - It has been 16 years since Furman defeated an FBS level team so when the Paladins had a shot - albeit a long-shot - they didn’t hesitate.

Sophomore kicker Jon Croft Hollingsworth nailed a school record 55-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give Furman a lead, and the Paladins defense made it stand up in a stunning 16-15 victory over the University of Central Florida.

Hollingsworth’s kick gave the Paladins (1-2) their first victory of the season and first win over an FBS team since beating North Carolina 28-3 in 1999. The Paladins had dropped 15 straight games to FBS teams in the last 16 seasons.

“I’ve coached for a long time and this is the best win,” coach Bruce Fowler said. “It was a tight game and had some odd bounces here and there, but we went out in the second half and made an impact.”

Hollingsworth easily cleared the bar with the longest field goal of his career.

“We were talking about a couple of options there and I said ‘Jon, what do you think,’ and he wanted to kick it,” Fowler said. “We had a good opportunity to get a leg up so we took a chance and he did a great job.”

UCF (0-3) lost to a FCS team for the first time since the Knights moved up to FBS in 1996. UCF had beaten FCS teams 20 straight times before losing to Furman.

The Knights floundered offensively the entire game, unsuccessfully attempting to mix three quarterbacks as replacements for injured starter Justin Holman. UCF had four possessions after Hollingsworth’s blast, but totaled just 37 yards. The Knights lost a fumble and threw an interception on their last two possessions.

The three UCF quarterbacks - Tyler Harris, Bo Schneider and Nick Patti - were a combined 14 of 30 for 98 yards in the game and threw three interceptions.

“I’m frustrated with a lot of positions on our team right now, but the difference in this game was some dropped passes, some inconsistency at quarterback and turnovers,” coach George O’Leary said.

Furman’s Reese Hannon completed 15 of 29 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown, a 61-yard bomb to Andrej Suttles that gave Furman its first lead, 13-12, early in the third quarter.

Suttles ran a stop-and-go route that placed him 15 yards behind the Knights secondary, making an easy target for Hannon, who spent most of the day ducking a strong UCF pass rush.

Trey Robinson iced the win with an interception with 49 seconds remaining.

UCF’s Matthew Wright kicked a 29-yard field goal just before the end of the third quarter for a 15-13 lead, but Hollingsworth came on and nailed the 55-yarder - he’s made three of four from beyond 50 yards - to put the Paladins back in front with 12 minutes left.

UCF led 12-7 at halftime after replays overturned two huge defensive plays by Furman.

Paladins’ defensive back Jamarri Milliken’s 57-yard interception return, which would have set Furman up at the UCF 22, was overturned when replays showed the ball bounced before Milliken picked it up. Later in the first half, linebacker Cory Magwood romped 69 yards with a fumble return for a touchdown, but that, too, was overturned when replays showed Tristan Payton was down before he was stripped.

Patti darted through a seam on the left side of the line to score UCF’s first touchdown. Wright added a 24-yard field goal and Chequan Burkett tackled Hannon in the end zone for a safety to push UCF’s lead to 12-0.


AP college football website: https://collegefootball.ap.org

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