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Turnovers plague No. 16 Panthers in 30-21 home loss to Trinity

Sam Vermilyea (Photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—No. 16 Birmingham-Southern turned the ball over four times in a 30-21 loss to Trinity, Saturday, in Panther Stadium.

BSC falls to 5-2 with its second straight loss after falling to No. 6 Wesley last weekend on the road. The Tigers move to 4-2 on the season with their sixth-straight win against BSC in as many years.

Before either team scored, there were five turnovers between the two teams. Trinity received the ball to start the game but the Tigers' first drive ended on an interception by senior Zack Lambert. BSC recorded another interception early in the second quarter after turning the ball over on a fumble. On Trinity's first drive after the fumble recovery by Thomas Puskarich, BSC sophomore Ty Keenum recorded his second interception of the season, giving the Panthers the ball back deep in Trinity territory. BSC didn't hold the ball long, though, turning it over again four plays later on a fumble.

On the ensuing drive, the Tigers put the first points on the board with a 43-yard pass from Mason Blaschke to Matthew Kennemer. Garrett Biel's extra point was good to put Trinity up 7-0 at the 7:18 mark of the second quarter.

Trinity scored again on its next drive, this time on a one-yard rush by Blaschke. Biel's kick was good to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 1:25 left in the half.

BSC got on the board late in the second quarter. A 41-yard pass from senior quarterback Jimmy Stainback to sophomore Michael Cowan put the Panthers on the four-yard line with eight seconds left in the half, and Stainback connected with sophomore Sam Vermilyea on the next play for Vermilyea's sixth touchdown of the season. Junior Ryan Laughlin's kick was on the mark to cut it to 14-7 heading into halftime.

The Panthers turned it over again early in the third quarter on a fumble, recovered by Martel Matthews at the BSC 24-yard line. Trinity ended the drive with a 43-yard field goal by Biel, putting the Tigers up 17-7 with 10:45 left in the third quarter.

BSC answered on its next drive, scoring with a 21-yard pass from Stainback to Cowan. Laughlin made the extra point to cut the Trinity lead to 17-14 with 5:47 left in the quarter. The Tigers turned it over again on the next drive as sophomore Austin Hansard forced a fumble, recovered by senior Jake Robertson at the BSC 48-yard line.

Trinity would score again at the 9:41 mark of the fourth quarter after a fake field goal conversion, with Nykolas McKissic connecting on a 17-yard pass to Mason Lytal. The extra point hit the post, however, to put the Tigers up 23-14.

The Panthers scored on their next drive, which culminated in a 13-yard dash to the end zone by junior Joseph Moultrie. Laughlin made the extra point to cut it to 23-21 with 6:38 left in the game.

The Tigers also scored on their next drive on a one-yard rush by Blaschke. Biel made the extra point and Trinity pulled ahead 30-21 with 3:08 left. BSC committed its fifth fumble of the game and sixth turnover on the next drive as Christopher Hobbs knocked the ball out of Vermilyea's hands after a completed 50-yard pass. Jamal Murray recovered the ball for the Tigers at the Trinity 21-yard line with 1:44 left in the game.

Stainback was 16-20 with two touchdowns for 234 yards. Morris led on the ground with 86 yards on 23 carries, and Vermilyea led with 103 receiving yards on six catches.

For Trinity, Blaschke was 7-10 with 109 yards and a touchdown, and McKissic was 6-11 for 56 yards and a touchdown as well as two interceptions. Travis Williams led with 101 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Kennemer led with 62 receiving yards on three catches.

Hansard led BSC with seven tackles (six solo); Kyle Trella led the Tigers with 11 (eight solo).

BSC is at home again next weekend for the final home game of the year, facing Sewanee on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. for Homecoming 2012.