Football returns home Oct. 2 to face perennial conference power Trinity University

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—
The Birmingham-Southern Panthers return home Oct. 2 for the first time since the season opener in early September to open Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play against perennial league power Trinity University of San Antonio, Texas. Kickoff is set for Noon in Panther Stadium on the BSC campus.

The Panthers are fresh off a 35-20 road upset over in-state rival Huntingdon College in the second annual Wesley Cup clash. The win kept Birmingham-Southern undefeated on the season at 3-0. The Panthers also have defeated LaGrange at home and Faulkner on the road.

This will be the first road game for Trinity, which is 1-2 on the season. The Tigers have a win over Howard Payne in the season opener, followed by conference losses to Rhodes and Millsaps.

Birmingham-Southern has never beaten Trinity, including last year’s 41-14 loss in San Antonio.

The Panthers, under the direction of third-year head coach Eddie Garfinkle, have not started the season 3-0 since 1934, when BSC finished the year 9-0.

“The Huntingdon win was a total team effort,” said Garfinkle. “Last Saturday was the best we have played as a team since the football program re-started back in 2007. We are hoping the Huntingdon win will add to our confidence and give our team even more incentive to keep working hard in practice every day.”

Birmingham-Southern is scoring nearly 40 points a game on offense, led by senior tailback Walter Arrington who is averaging 133 yards per game on the ground with three touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Shawn Morris has five rushing touchdowns. Senior quarterback Joe Thigpen has passed for 357 yards and two touchdowns in the first three games. Thigpen has rushed for another three scores.

The Panther defense is giving up 18 points per game and is led by several players, including senior defensive lineman Patrick Thomas with 17 tackles and a sack, sophomore defensive back Andrew Shannon with 16 tackles, junior linebacker Dustin Massey with 15 tackles and an interception, and senior linebacker David Kelley with 13 stops and an interception.

Under the direction of head coach Steve Mohr, in his 21st season at Trinity, the Tigers have won 14 SCAC Championships and made 11 appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Trinity finished national runner-up in 2002.

The Tigers returned 16 starters (eight on offense, six defense, and two special teams) from last year’s squad that finished 7-3 overall and 4-2 in SCAC play. Trinity began the season ranked No. 19 in NCAA Division III by The Sporting News.

Trinity is averaging 26 points per game, while giving up 28. The offense is led by sophomore running back Patrick Granchelli with 223 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Junior Patrick Dickinson and senior Robert Davidson have shared the quarterbacking duties. Dickinson has thrown for 303 yards and two scores, and Davidson has 239 yards through the air and three scores. Senior wide receiver Daniel South has hauled in three of the scoring tosses.
The Trinity defense is led by sophomore linebacker Thomas Puskarich and senior linebacker Jarrod Burns with 25 tackles a piece.

The Tigers also feature a pair of sophomore preseason All-American kickers. Punter Kyle Trella is averaging 40 yards per boot; kicker Garrett Biel is perfect on four field goal attempts with a long of 48 yards.

“This is the third year in a row that we have opened conference play against perennial power Trinity,” said Garfinkle. “We have not given them a good game to this point. Coach Mohr runs a first-class program and although we have not been competitive in any of the games, we look forward to playing them every year. Trinity believes that they are going to win every time they step out on the field, and we are hoping that our program will one day be at that level.”

This will be Trinity’s first visit to Panther Stadium on the BSC campus, which opened November 2008.

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 Stats, will be accessible through www.bscsports.net and will begin approximately 15 minutes before kickoff.

Birmingham-Southern travels to Danville, Ky., Oct. 9 to face conference foe Centre College at 12:30 p.m. in Farris Stadium.