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BSC turns Faulkner miscues into 52-16 victory to remain undefeated on young season

Box Score | Play-by-Play

MONTGOMERY, Ala.—
The Birmingham-Southern Panthers pushed out to a 25-9 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a 52-16 victory over the Faulkner University Eagles today in Crampton Bowl in Montgomery.

BSC moved to 2-0 on the young season. It was the season-opener for Faulkner. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The last time Birmingham-Southern started a season 2-0 was in 1934.

On a hot and humid afternoon, Birmingham-Southern struck first on its opening drive with a 36-yard field goal by junior Cody Hutchings. Faulkner would quickly answer though on its first possession of the game as junior quarterback Zach Tribble hit senior wide receiver Deonta Allen on an 18-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 7-3 to give the Eagles their only lead of the game.

Birmingham-Southern would take the lead for good less than two minutes later on a six-yard touchdown run by sophomore tailback Shawn Morris. The extra point attempt was no good, and BSC led 9-7. It was the first of three botched extra point attempts for the Panthers.

Just moments later, BSC junior defensive back Micah Baker would intercept a Tribble pass and return it 12 yards to the Faulkner 26. Senior quarterback Joe Thigpen then hit senior halfback Ryan Carelson on a 23-yard catch and run that put the Panthers up 16-7.

After another Faulkner turnover, Thigpen would do the damage on the ground scoring from seven yards out early in the second quarter to put the Panthers up 22-7.

On its next offensive possession, BSC punter Kyle Sebestyen couldn’t handle the snap from his own end zone and the ball went out of the back of the end zone for a Faulkner safety making the score 22-9.

Following the safety, BSC would kick off to Faulkner. On the Eagles’ next offensive play, Birmingham-Southern sophomore defensive lineman Zack Lambert would recover a Faulkner fumble at the BSC 36. Eleven plays and more than seven minutes later, BSC freshman Ryan Laughlin would knock home a 27-yard field goal to end the first half scoring with the Panthers heading to the locker room with a 25-9 lead.

Birmingham-Southern looked to put the game out of reach as the second half got under way. Faulkner was forced to punt on its first possession. Michael Jensen’s punt hit the back of the Faulkner line and Birmingham-Southern recovered on the Eagles’ 22 yard line. On the next play, BSC senior tailback Walter Arrington took it the distance and the Panthers were up 32-9.

Faulkner quickly answered on its next possession, however, as Tribble hit freshman wide receiver Kameron Clay on a 10-yard touchdown strike to move to within 32-16 after the extra point. But it was all Birmingham-Southern from that point on.

The Panthers would finally put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter on yet another Faulkner miscue. On the first play of the quarter, Faulkner punter Caleb Henry bobbled the punt snap and went down on his own 18. BSC took over from there and Morris went the distance on the next play for his second touchdown of the afternoon and a 39-16 Panther lead.

On Faulkner’s next series, senior defensive lineman Patrick Thomas hit Eagle quarterback Tribble forcing a fumble. Senior defensive lineman Jeremy Jones scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 30 yards for the touchdown. Less than two minutes of the fourth quarter had expired, and BSC had stretched its lead to 30 at 46-16.

Following a Faulkner punt, Birmingham-Southern finished the scoring for the afternoon as Arrington rushed for his second touchdown of the second half, this one untouched from 61 yards to stretch the final margin to 52-16.

Birmingham-Southern finished the day with 22 first downs and 414 yards in total offense. Arrington rushed for 154 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Thigpen was 10 of 17 through the air for 147 yards and one touchdown.

The Panther defense was led by Thomas with seven tackles. Junior defensive lineman Bryan Jackson added a sack for BSC.

Faulkner finished with 16 first downs and 277 yards total offense. The Eagles sacked BSC quarterbacks four times on the afternoon.

Birmingham-Southern benefited from three Faulkner fumbles and an interception, along with two miscues in the Eagles’ punting game.

The Panthers were without the services of senior wide receiver David Langston, who went down with a knee injury in the opening win over LaGrange last weekend. Langston returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in that game, and was named Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.

Birmingham-Southern takes next weekend off before traveling back to Montgomery on Sept. 25 to face the Huntingdon Hawks in the second annual Wesley Cup game at 1 p.m. in Samford Stadium on the Huntingdon campus.