November 12, 2010

BSC hosts Millsaps on Senior Day to close out 2010 football season

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern will look to win its seventh game of the season Nov. 13 when the Panthers host Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Millsaps College on Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Panther Stadium.

Birmingham-Southern is coming off a 41-19 road victory over SCAC foe Rhodes College in Memphis, picking up its sixth win of the year in the process, against just three losses. The win at Rhodes ensured the Panthers of their first winning season since reinstating football in 2007. The previous best record was 4-6 last season. BSC is 3-3 in SCAC play, although not eligible to compete for the conference title until 2011.

BSC also will honor its first true senior class since reinstating the football program during ceremonies on Saturday.

Millsaps of Jackson, Miss., brings a 6-3 overall record into the game, and 5-1 in league play. The Majors were either SCAC champions or co-champions in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. They had an open date last weekend after shutting out Sewanee 30-0 at home Oct. 30. Millsaps currently is enjoying a four-game winning streak.

Birmingham-Southern has not beaten the Majors in three tries.

"Millsaps presents an enormous challenge for our football team," said BSC Head Coach Eddie Garfinkle. "They have an outstanding football program and have either won or shared the SCAC title in four of the past five seasons. They are extremely talented again this year, with two of their three losses coming against teams ranked at the time and the other loss was to a very good LaGrange team in overtime on the road.

"We would like nothing better than to honor our first true senior class with a win over Millsaps in front of our home fans, but it will take our best effort of the year on both sides of the ball for that to happen."

The top two scoring offenses in the league will be on the same field Saturday when Birmingham-Southern and Millsaps clash. The Panther's are averaging an SCAC-best 37 points per game, while Millsaps is scoring 33 points a game. Millsaps also is second in the league in total offense.

Birmingham-Southern excels in the running game, averaging a league-best 256 yards a game on the ground, while the Majors excel through the air, ranking No. 2 in the conference with 271 yards a game.

The Panther offense is led by senior tailback Walter Arrington, who has now rushed for 1,085 yards on the season and leads the SCAC with a 120-yard per game average. Arrington has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. Right behind Arrington on the SCAC rushing chart is Millsaps' Shane Bowser, a junior running back averaging 98 yards on the ground per contest. Bowser has 14 touchdowns on the season, including four receiving scores. Sophomore quarterback Garrett Pinciotti leads the Majors through the air, ranking second in the league in passing with 245 yards a game and 21 touchdowns. He also leads the conference in passing efficiency and is second in total offense.

The two teams are among the league leaders on the defensive side of the ball as well The Panthers and Majors are tied for third in the SCAC in total defense, allowing an identical 336 yards per game. Birmingham-Southern is fourth in scoring defense allowing 23.1 points per game, while Millsaps is second at 22.7 points a contest.

The Panthers are led defensively by junior defensive back Andrew Shannon, who was named the SCAC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort against Rhodes last weekend. He tallied nine tackles (six solo) and had three interceptions, including one he returned 38 yards for a touchdown. It was his second defensive player of the week honor this season. Birmingham-Southern now leads the SCAC with 21 interceptions on the year. Shannon has five picks on the season to lead the conference. Senior defensive end Jeremy Jones is tied for the league lead in sacks with five, and is first in tackles for loss with 11.5.

Millsaps is led by senior linebacker Will Hawkins who tops the conference in tackles with 107 total. He also has three sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. The Majors are second in the league in interceptions with 15.

The game can be heard on Birmingham-Southern's live streaming Internet radio broadcast featuring play-by-play by Josh Caray. The free online broadcasts, as well as live in-game stats, are accessible through the front page of bscsports.net, or at the top of this story, and begin approximately 15 minutes before kickoff.