Football hosts conference foe Austin College on Saturday

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The Birmingham-Southern Panthers hope to end a two-game losing streak when they return home Saturday, Oct. 16, to face Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Austin College Kangaroos. Kickoff is set for Noon in Panther Stadium on the BSC campus.

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

BSC is coming off a 35-28 road loss to SCAC opponent Centre College. It was the second straight defeat for the Panthers after starting the season 3-0. Birmingham-Southern was without the services of starting senior quarterback Joe Thigpen, who is out indefinitely with a leg injury.

Sophomore Jimmy Stainback will get his second straight start behind center against Austin College. Against Centre, he was 13 of 18 for 91 yards through the air and led the team in rushing with 88 yards.

Centre is the only common opponent for the two schools this year, with Austin falling at home to the Colonels 42-40.

Birmingham-Southern is 1-2 against Austin since reinstating football in 2007, beating the Roos 35-28 last year in Sherman, Texas.

The Panthers enter the game still leading the SCAC in rushing offense at 230 yards per game and are third in scoring offense at 34 points per game. BSC ranks near the league bottom in passing offense at 129 yards a contest. The BSC defense is second in the league against the run, allowing just 124 yards per game and is fourth in scoring defense allowing 25 points per game.

Senior tailback Walter Arrington continues at the top of the league rushing chart averaging 101 yards a game on the ground. He has scored six touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Shawn Morris is second in the league in scoring with eight touchdowns.

The BSC defense continues to be led by junior defensive back Andrew Shannon with 32 tackles. Sophomore safety Chris Reeves has 28 tackles and junior linebacker Dustin Massey has 27.

Austin enters the contest with the league’s third stingiest defense, giving up only 23 points and 327 yards per game. The Roos are second in the SCAC in passing defense with 195 yards a game. On offense, Austin is averaging 29 points and 339 yards per game.

The Roos have two quarterbacks ranked in the top 10 in the SCAC in passing. Senior Travis Zambiasi has thrown for 708 yards and seven touchdowns in five games, while sophomore Blake Towery has tossed for 323 yards and three touchdowns in five outings. Senior wide receiver Greg Harrell is second in the league in receptions and yards with 34 receptions for 416 yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Brogan Funderburg leads the Roos on the ground averaging 59 yards a game.

The Austin defense is led by junior linebacker Ethan Tanner with 46 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive back Matt Finke leads the league in interceptions with three. Finke was the SCAC Defensive Player of the Week after Austin’s 20-14 win over Texas Lutheran on Sept. 11.

“We have suffered two disappointing conference losses in a row, games that for the first time since we brought football back to BSC we realistically had the talent and the opportunities to win,” said BSC Head Coach Eddie Garfinkle. “Our players and our coaches have not lost sight of our goals for this season, and they have worked hard this week to prepare mentally and physically for Austin College.

“Austin is another quality SCAC opponent, and it will take a complete effort on both offense and defense if we expect to pick up a conference win at home.”

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, are accessible through and begin approximately 15 minutes before kickoff.

Birmingham-Southern will play its annual Homecoming game Oct. 23 when Sewanee visits Panther Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff.