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October 30, 2010

BSC drops close road gridiron contest to undefeated DePauw, 30-23

GREENCASTLE, Ind.—The Birmingham-Southern Panthers came up on the short end of a 30-23 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference football game this afternoon against undefeated and league champion DePauw University in the Tigers' Blackstock Stadium in Greencastle, Ind.

DePauw, which already had clinched at least a share of this year's SCAC title and the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship, improved to 8-0 overall, 6-0 in league play. Ranked No. 24 in the most recent American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll, the Tigers were SCAC co-champions last season.

Birmingham-Southern fell to 5-3 overall and 2-3 against league opponents. The Panthers are not eligible to compete for the SCAC title until the 2011 season when their transition to NCAA Division III is complete.

DePauw now owns a 4-0 all-time record against Birmingham-Southern.

The Tigers got on the scoreboard first with a 34-yard field goal by freshman kicker Eric Malm early in the first quarter. The Panthers then took their only lead of the game moments later when junior defensive back Andrew Shannon picked off pass from senior quarterback Michael Engle and returned it 27 yards to the end zone. Ryan Laughlin's point after touchdown put BSC up 7-3 with 7:57 to go in the first quarter.

On its next offensive possession, BSC junior Kyle Sebestyen's punt was blocked by DePauw and recovered by Sebestyen in the end zone for a safety making the score 7-5.

Following BSC's free kick after the safety, Engle, the league's leading passer, teamed with senior wide out Alex Koors, the league's leading receiver, on a 68-yard touchdown play to put DePauw in front to stay at 12-7.

Laughlin pulled the Panthers within two at 12-10 with a 25-yard field goal in the second period, before DePauw scored 10 unanswered points to take a 22-10 halftime lead. The Tigers got a second quarter touchdown on a 15-yard run by junior running back Jon Ellis, followed by a 47-yard Malm field goal with 48 seconds remaining in the first half.

Birmingham-Southern opened the second half with an 81-yard, eight-play drive to close the gap to 22-16. Freshman quarterback Chase Childers scored from the two with 11:55 to go in the third quarter. The point after touchdown failed.

DePauw answered later in the third period on Ellis' second rushing touchdown of the day, this time from two yards out. Engle's pass to sophomore wide receiver Brody Schoen for the two-point attempt was good and the Tigers led 30-16.

The Panthers would pull to within a touchdown of the lead late in the fourth quarter on a nine yard rushing touchdown by senior tailback Walter Arrington with 4:51 to go in the game. DePauw, however, was able to run the clock out to preserve the 30-23 victory.

Arrington, the SCAC's leading rusher at 116 yards per game, finished the afternoon with 141 yards on 18 carries to lead the Birmingham-Southern offensive effort. The Panthers finished with 255 yards total offense and 13 first downs against the league's top defensive unit. The Tigers also held BSC below its league-leading 38 points per game scoring average and its SCAC best 260 yards rushing per game.

The Panthers were led defensively by junior linebacker Dustin Massey, who tallied 12 total tackles, including two for loss of yards and one pass break up. Sophomore defensive back Cole Rudder added an interception.

DePauw finished with 21 first downs and 378 yards total offense, below its SCAC-best 416 yards per game. Engle completed 26 of 41 passes for 316 yards, one score, and two interceptions.

Birmingham-Southern remains on the road Nov. 6 as the Panthers travel to Memphis to face SCAC foe Rhodes College at 1:30 p.m.