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No. 4 Millsaps outlasts BSC, 31-14, in Panthers' season finale

Box Score

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Despite seven fumbles and an interception, No. 4 Millsaps held on to defeat the Birmingham-Southern football team, Saturday, at Panther Stadium.

The Majors stay perfect at 10-0 on the season, while BSC falls to 3-7.

Millsaps scored first on a 29-yard field goal by Taylor Russolin at the 7:26 mark of the first quarter. The lead did not last long, however, as BSC’s David Langston returned the kickoff 84 yards to the end zone for a touchdown at the 7:06 mark. Jared Spooner’s kick was good to give the Panthers the 7-3 lead.

Millsaps answered quickly, scoring on its next drive on a 53-yard pass from Juan Joseph to Shane Bowser. Russolin made the extra point to put the Majors up 10-7.

The score remained locked at 10-7 through the entire second quarter and the first five minutes of the third quarter, with the ball changing possession 11 times and no one scoring in the windy, rainy, chilly conditions. The Panthers finally scored again at the 10:10 mark of the third quarter on a 34-yard rush by Walter Arrington, and Spooner’s kick was good to put BSC up 14-10.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Michael Galatas ran the kickoff return back 71 yards for a touchdown at the 9:58 mark. Russolin’s kick was good to put the Majors back in the lead, 17-14.

Near the end of the third quarter, the Panthers recovered a Millsaps fumble and drove to the Majors’ 19-yard line with the chance to tie things up on a 29-yard field goal, but the kick was no good.

Millsaps turned the ball over again on its next drive, this time on an interception by Micah Baker, and then the Panthers turned it over when a toss by quarterback Joe Thigpen was intercepted by Marcus Harris, who returned the ball 61 yards to the end zone for a touchdown at the 12:16 mark of the fourth quarter. Russolin’s kick was good, putting Millsaps up 24-14.

The Majors scored again nine minutes later on a three-yard rush by Chris Skinner, and Russolin’s point attempt was good, putting Millsaps up 31-14 with 3:18 left to play.

The Panthers had a chance to score again on their next drive, getting to the Millsaps nine yard line, but the Majors forced a fumble and recovered the ball with 19 seconds left on the clock.

Joseph was 23-of-34 with two interceptions for Millsaps, tallying 344 passing yards and a touchdown. Bowser led on the ground with 51 yards on seven carries, and Galatas led with 120 yards on four receptions.

For the Panthers, Thigpen 9-of-15 with one interception and 94 yards, Arrington led with 125 yards rushing on 19 carries with one touchdown, and Langston had five receptions for 40 yards.

Defensively, Lee Klein led Millsaps with 20 tackles, two for loss, and a sack, while Baker and Trae Strain led the Panthers with eight tackles and a fumble recovery apiece. Strain also forced three of the Majors' fumbles, and Baker had an interception.

As a team, Millsaps had 22 first downs to BSC’s 18, and 348 passing yards to BSC’s 94. The Panthers ran more, recording 188 yards rushing to the Majors’ 129. In total yardage, Millsaps put together 477 yards, while BSC had 282. The Majors were also much more effective on third down conversions, going 8-of-10 to the Panthers’ 6-of-18.

Millsaps struggled with penalties in the game, getting whistled for eight for a total of 128 yards. BSC had five penalties for 40 yards.

Prior to the game, senior players Chandler Bares, Drew Jackson, Matt Laird, and Evan Wilson, as well as senior manager John Amos Boutwell, were honored.