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No. 24 BSC opens season with 41-14 home win against LaGrange

Jimmy Stainback (Photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The 24th-ranked Birmingham-Southern football team got the 2012 season off to a strong start with a 41-14 victory against LaGrange College, Saturday, at home in Panther Stadium.

BSC now leads the series 3-2 against LaGrange, with today's win the biggest margin of victory in series history.

The BSC Panthers got on the board less than five minutes into the first quarter when LaGrange turned the ball over on their own 20-yard line and it was recovered by BSC senior Robert Nelson, Jr. Sophomore halfback Marquis Pratt snuck across the goal line on fourth-and-goal to put BSC up 6-0 with 10:19 left in the quarter.

Birmingham-Southern found the end zone again at the 8:56 mark of the second quarter on a 79-yard pass from senior quarterback Jimmy Stainback to senior tailback Shawn Morris. The extra point was good by junior Ryan Laughlin, putting the Panthers up 13-0.

The Panthers added one more touchdown before halftime after a LaGrange interception was called back due to pass interference, giving BSC another chance from the LaGrange 10-yard line. Stainback made the 10-yard run, and sophomore Bee Hall's extra point attempt was good to give BSC a 20-0 lead at the half.

At the end of the second half, severe weather moved into the area and the game was delayed due to lightning for an hour and 45 minutes. The game resumed at 4:15 p.m.

LaGrange scored its first touchdown of the game at the 7:54 mark of the third quarter on a 13-yard pass from Ed Russ to Kent Gibson. Will Jeffcoat's extra point was on the mark to cut BSC's lead to 20-7.

BSC responded a little over a minute later, using only three plays to make it back to the LaGrange end zone and scoring on a 19-yard pass from Stainback to sophomore Sam Vermilyea. Laughlin made the extra point to put the BSC Panthers back up 27-7.

On the next drive, senior defensive back Jeffery Steele intercepted a Russ pass to give the ball back to BSC, and Morris made a 23-yard run on the next play to score his second touchdown of the game and put the Panthers up 34-7 after Laughlin's extra point was good.

With 10:37 left in the fourth quarter BSC scored yet again when junior tailback Joseph Moultrie ran 69 yards and Hall's kick was good, increasing the BSC lead to 41-7.

A seven-yard run by LaGrange's Michael Jones, and a good extra point by Jeffcoat, cut it to 41-14 with 2:29 left in the game for the final points of the day.

Stainback led the team with 89 yards rushing on 17 carries, and was 7-of-12 with 165 passing yards and no interceptions. Morris led with 79 receiving yards.

For LaGrange, Russ was 15-of 37 with one interception and 157 yards. He also led with 70 yards rushing on 17 carries. John John Hill led with 47 yards on three catches.

LaGrange had 18 first downs to BSC's 14, but BSC racked up 253 yards rushing to LaGrange's 156, and 165 passing yards to LaGrange's 157. In total yards, BSC led 418-313.

Sophomore LaPrintence Gunn led the BSC defense with eight total tackles (six solo, two assisted), followed by sophomore Austin Hansard and senior Andrew Shannon with six apiece. Senior Cory Corcoran had two sacks.

Andre Carter led LaGrange with 11 tackles (five solo, six assisted).

The Panthers are on the road next weekend, traveling south to face Huntingdon College in Montgomery in the fourth annual Wesley Cup Game.