October 8, 2010

Football hits the road again for conference clash with Centre

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—
The Birmingham-Southern Panthers travel to Danville, Ky., Oct. 9 to face the Centre College Colonels in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference contest. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. CST in Farris Stadium on the Centre campus.

Birmingham-Southern is 3-1 overall on the year, and 0-1 in SCAC play. Centre is 3-2 overall, and 2-1 in the conference.

BSC is coming off a disappointing 38-28 home loss to SCAC power Trinity University in which the Panthers turned the ball over three times in the first half and played the final three quarters without starting senior quarterback Joe Thigpen.

Panther head coach Eddie Garfinkle said that Thigpen will be out of action for at least three or four weeks with a partially torn meniscus in his knee and torn ligaments in his ankle. The senior quarterback is awaiting the results of an MRI to see if surgery is necessary.

Sophomore Jimmy Stainback, who filled in for Thigpen against Trinity, will get the start behind center.

Centre rolled to a 63-14 conference victory over Sewanee on the road Oct. 2, piling up 28 first downs and 541 years total offense.

Birmingham-Southern is 0-3 versus Centre since reinstating football in 2007 and joining the SCAC. Centre won last year’s contest at Panther Stadium 14-13.

The Panthers will enter the contest with the league’s second-highest scoring offense—behind Centre—averaging nearly 36 points per game. BSC leads the league in rushing offense with 225 yards a contest on the ground. Senior tailback Walter Arrington is the SCAC’s leading rusher, averaging 110 yards a game. Arrington also is leading the league in all purpose yards with 161 a game. He has scored five touchdowns.

Centre brings the league’s highest scoring offense into the game, averaging nearly 37 points a game. The Colonels are second in total offense at 406 yards per contest. Centre is led by junior quarterback Tyler Osterman, who has thrown for 935 yards and six touchdowns in five games. He is second in the league in total offense, and leads Centre in rushing with 298 yards. His favorite target through the air is his brother, sophomore Jason Osterman, with 18 catches.

Centre’s junior wide receiver Jordan Albright leads the league in punt returns at 19.4 per return.

The BSC defense ranks fourth in the SCAC in total defense, giving up 23 points per contest, and ranks first in rushing defense allowing only 224 yards a game on the ground. The Panthers also lead the league with seven interceptions. Birmingham-Southern is led defensively by junior defensive back Andrew Shannon with 25 tackles and sophomore safety Chris Reeves with 22.

The Colonel’s defense ranks second in the SCAC allowing just 20 points a contest and is second in total defense giving up just 307 yards a game. The Centre defense is led by senior linebacker Brian Hodge with 36 tackles and a sack.

“We went into the Trinity game with an opportunity to compete and a realistic chance of winning for the first time since we joined the conference,” said BSC’s Garfinkle. “But we made too many mistakes that in the end we just did not have time to overcome.

“This week we go back on the road to face another strong SCAC team in Centre. They put 63 points on the scoreboard last week in a conference game with Sewanee, so we will have our hands full. We have worked hard this week to correct the mistakes so that we can put ourselves in a position to win this weekend.”

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 are accessible through www.bscsports.net and begin approximately 15 minutes before kickoff.

Birmingham-Southern returns home to Panther Stadium on Oct. 16 to face conference foe Austin College at Noon.