Football wins Homecoming game over Millsaps, 35-18

Austin Martin (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Austin Martin (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Possessing the ball for over 40 minutes of play, the Birmingham-Southern football team picked up a big win at home on Saturday, defeating Millsaps 35-18 for Homecoming 2015 on Battle Field at General Charles Krulak Stadium.

The Panthers move to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the Southern Athletic Association, while the Majors fall to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the SAA.

Prior to the game, BSC named its stadium General Charles C. Krulak Stadium to honor the college's 13th president, who retired this past summer.

The Panthers controlled the ball for over 40 minutes, limiting Millsaps to just over 19 minutes on offense. The BSC defense also came up big with four turnovers, including three interceptions, and five tackles-for-losses including four sacks.

Sophomore tailback Justin Woolfolk opened the scoring at the 11:52 mark with a 55-yard run, and Millsaps tied it up four minutes later on a three-yard dash by Raphael Johnson. Both extra point attempts--a kick by the Panthers and a two-point conversion by the  Majors--were no good, leading to a 6-6 tie.

BSC scored once more before the end of the first quarter, a 36-yard run by junior tailback Samir Usman. The extra point kick was blocked, and the Panthers led 12-6 heading to the second quarter.

A 92-yard pass from Ty Proctor to Andrew Warren at the 13:20 mark of the second tied things up again at 12-12, and once again the two-point conversion failed. Three minutes later the Panthers pulled back ahead on a 23-yard pass from junior Austin Martin to sophomore receiver Jamal Watkins. The kick was good this time, and BSC led 19-12 at the half.

Freshman kicker Ryder Andrews increased the lead to 21-12 at the 6:23 mark of the third on a 21-yard field goal, and Watkins caught a 26-yard pass from Martin to open the fourth quarter. After another blocked extra point, BSC led 28-12 with 14:53 left in the game.

With 6:37 left in the game, sophomore linebacker Trevor Dedecker collected a fumble and ran it back 28 yards to put the Panthers up 35-12.

Millsaps would score once more, for the first time since the 13:20 mark of the second quarter, as Kain Mitchell caught a 25-yard pass from Proctor. The Majors' third two-point conversion attempt failed, for a final score of 35-18.

Martin was 21-25 for BSC with 234 yards and two touchdowns. Usman led the rushing game with 133 yards on 30 carries, and Watkins led with 82 yards on six catches.

Dedecker and senior linebacker Alex King led the defense with six tackles apiece, with both players recording a sack. Dedecker also had a forced fumble and a 28-yard fumble return, and King had a quarterback hurry. Sophomore defensive back Gavin Sumrall, freshman defensive back Matthew Byers, and junior defensive lineman Matthew Gibbs all had interceptions, and junior defensive back Preston Hooper also had two pass breakups.

The Panthers are on the road for their next two games, traveling to Memphis next Saturday to face Rhodes College at 2 p.m. CT and then Danville, Ky., to face Centre College on Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m. ET. BSC is back at home for the season finale on Nov. 7 against Sewanee at 1 p.m. in Krulak Stadium.