LEXINGTON, Va. – The VMI football team scored one of the biggest wins in program history Saturday with a 14-13 upset of #10-ranked Furman University from Foster Stadium. The Southern Conference contest was the season opener for the Keydets.
VMI’s last win over a ranked opponent was in the 2002 season, a 27-16 victory over #18 Wofford College and the team’s last season-opening win was in the 2010 campaign.
VMI took a 14-13 lead with 17 seconds left in the third quarter on a three-play, 86-yard touchdown drive. Senior quarterback Reece Udinski completed a 57-yard pass to true freshman Rashad Raymond to set up a Udinski to Chance Knox touchdown strike from 19 yards out. Trey Rice knocked in the PAT to give the Keydets the lead.
The VMI defense stopped three Paladin drives in the fourth quarter, one on a fourth-down stop, one on a punt and the last on a fumble with 47 seconds left with Furman threatening at the VMI 24. The Keydets were able to kneel on the ball and run out the clock following Furman’s first turnover of the contest.
The Keydets registered nine sacks on the day, many off the blitz. Connor Riddle had a team-high 13 tackles, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. Stone Snyderhad 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and 11 total stops, while Ethan Casselberry recorded 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Carter Johnson had nine tackles, one sack and pounced on the late Furman fumble to seal the win.
Udinski finished the game 27-38 with two touchdowns, one interception and 248 yards passing, his 19th 200-yard game. He also booted an important quick kick on 4th-and-4 with 9:35 on the game clock from the Furman 36 that pinned the Paladins inside their own three-yard line.
Junior Jakob Herres caught five passes for 57 yards, pushing him past the 100-reception mark for his career. Jackson had six catches for 39 yards and Max Brimigion caught three balls for 35 yards.
Furman got on the scoreboard first 3:53 into the contest on a Hamp Sisson to Wayne Anderson pass. Udinksi hit Michael Jackson on an 11-yard score at the 4:17 mark of the second quarter to tie the game at seven. Furman took the lead again with just 15 seconds left in the half as Sisson found Ryan Miller in the end zone on an eight-yard pass, but the Paladins missed the extra point.
Furman (1-1) held a time-of-possession advantage, holding the ball for 36:31 and had four drives of eight plays or more. Sisson was 17-of-26 for 232 yards but was sacked nine times on the afternoon. Devin Wynn gained 93 yards rushing on 21 carries and Devin Abrams carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards. Ryan DeLuca hauled in seven passes for 149 yards.
VMI (1-0) travels to Western Carolina University next Saturday for a SoCon matchup at 1 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.