GREENVILLE - Just after they got a much-needed shot in the arm, the Furman Paladins shot themselves in the foot.
Usually an afterthought, a point-after-touchdown attempt became the forefront of frustration as Furman fell 19-12 to Southern Conference foe Elon on Saturday in front of 12,412 fans at Paladin Stadium.
With 1:56 to play, Furman capped a seven-play, 73-yard touchdown drive with Tersoo Uhaa's 1-yard touchdown run and took a 12-10 lead. The Paladins lined up for the extra point that would have extended the lead to three, a formidable margin in the teams' field-goal tug-of-war.
However, the snap slipped away from holder Jordan Sorrells. Place-kicker Matthew Cesari attempted to salvage the play with a desperate pass, but his toss fell to the turf, leaving the margin at two - and leaving the door open for Elon.
The Phoenix marched right through it, driving 52 yards to the Furman 19-yard line on six plays. With 28 seconds remaining, Furman had two options - halt the clock with a quick timeout and preserve time for a desperate drive or allow the game to rest on a 37-yard field goal attempt by Elon freshman kicker Adam Shreiner. The Paladins (3-2, 2-1) elected the latter.
Elon allowed the clock to run to six seconds before calling a timeout. Furman used its last two timeouts to try to ice Shreiner. But it did not rattle Shreiner, even after he had missed a 38-yard attempt earlier. His kick put Elon ahead 13-12.
The missed PAT loomed large in the Furman locker room after the game.
"I think it was a little outside," Cesari said of the snap. "It hit Jordan's hands, and then I saw it tumble. It's frustrating to know that one of the most basic plays in football is what came to bite you in the butt. It's bittersweet to know that you did everything right up to that point but couldn't come out with a victory."
Elon (4-1, 2-0) added insult to injury on the final kickoff, as the Paladins attempted the weaving lateral play. On the third lateral, the ball got loose, bounced at the 2-yard line and into the end zone, where Elon's Travis Greene fell on it. Those six points were the easiest points either team came by on the day.
The matchup was supposed to produce a shootout. Elon and Furman entered the game ranked first and second in the SoCon, respectively, in points scored, total offense and passing offense.
Record day. Elon's Terrell Hudgins tied his career high with 16 catches and set the NCAA career Division I mark for career receptions with 331.