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Furman survives Elon on blocked extra point

(STATS) -- Furman and Elon were so evenly matched this season that, appropriately, an outstretched arm helped decide their first-round game in the FCS playoffs on Saturday.

Donovan Perryman blocked an extra point in the fourth quarter to preserve the Paladins' 28-27 lead, and that turned out to be the final score as Furman held on to win at Rhodes Stadium in Elon, North Carolina.

The Paladins (8-4) now have a chance to reverse a different one-point game in the second round next Saturday. They will travel to No. 7 seed Wofford, which won the teams' Southern Conference season opener 24-23 on Sept. 2.

"Our kids found a way to get the win because we certainly didn't make things easy on ourselves with the three turnovers," Furman coach Clay Hendrix said. "You do that and it's hard to win a football game, but somehow our kids hung in there, even when we got down twice, and came back."

A week after the Wofford opener, Furman fell 34-31 to CAA Football member Elon on a late field goal, but the Paladins got redemption in an exciting rematch.

Senior quarterback P.J. Blazejowski accounted for three touchdowns, including 6- and 70-yard passes to Andy Schumpert in the second quarter. Antonio Wilcox rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown, and the Paladins overcame three turnovers.

Elon (8-4) scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to go ahead 21-14 in the third quarter, but Furman then did the same on consecutive drives, going ahead 28-21 on Blazejowski's 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth.

The Phoenix drove 75 yards in nine plays to pull within 28-27 on De'Sean McNair's third touchdown run, a 28-yarder at the 11:26 mark. But Perryman was in the middle of the Furman defensive line when he got a hand on Owen Johnson's extra-point attempt and it misfired out of the end zone.

Elon defensive back Daniel Reid-Bennett intercepted Blazejowski in the Phoenix's end zone to give them one more possession, but the drive ended at the Furman 49.

Elon finished the season with three straight losses under first-year coach Curt Cignetti.