September 24, 2011

BSC scores late touchdown to remain undefeated with 28-21 conference win over Sewanee

SEWANEE, Tenn.—Birmingham-Southern junior tailback Shawn Morris of Pensacola scored the winning touchdown from two yards out with 37 seconds remaining today as the Panthers overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the upset-minded Sewanee Tigers 28-21 at McGee Field in Sewanee, Tenn.

The BSC Panthers trailed the Sewanee Tigers 21-7 late in the third quarter before scoring three unanswered touchdowns for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference victory. 

Birmingham-Southern remains undefeated on the season, moving to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the SCAC.  Sewanee falls to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.  BSC has now defeated Sewanee five straight times since reinstating football in 2007.

Running the triple option, Sewanee kept the BSC defense off balance for most of the first three quarters.  The Tigers doubled up Birmingham-Southern in time of possession for the initial 45 minutes of the contest, keeping a tired BSC defense on the field and a potent Panther offense on the sideline.

But Birmingham-Southern seemed to figure the Tigers out offensively as the afternoon wore on, allowing the BSC offense on the field and to hit its stride.  Sophomore tailback Joseph Moultrie of Birmingham powered the Panthers offensively scoring three touchdowns while lining up at the quarterback position and rushing for 88 yards.

Sewanee got on the scoreboard first on its initial offensive possession with senior running back Ben Cleveland scoring on a 20-yard scamper.  The point after touchdown by Garrett Slasser gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 12:36 remaining in the first quarter. 

The Panthers would tie the score late in the second period as Moultrie, lining up at the wildcat position, scored from seven yards out.  Sophomore Ryan Laughlin's point after kick was good and the score was knotted at 7-7 with 4:32 left before intermission.

The Tigers, however, took the BSC kickoff and used the remaining time on the clock to drive 52 yards in 10 plays to regain the lead with 27 seconds left before intermission.  Sophomore quarterback Curtis Johnson scored from the seven and Slasser's PAT gave Sewanee a 14-7 lead at the half.

Sewanee increased the lead on its first drive of the second half, going 94 yards and taking 5:21 off the clock with Johnson again scoring, this time from the two.  The Slasser PAT put the Tigers up 21-7 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.

Birmingham-Southern would take advantage of a Sewanee miscue in the kicking game to begin its comeback.  Facing fourth down from deep in its own territory on its next possession, Tiger punter Zeke Wilson bobbled the snap and was tackled by the Panthers at the one yard line.  Moultrie scored on the next play and with Laughlin's extra point the Panthers were within 21-14 with 3:52 to go in the third quarter.

BSC would tie the score on its next possession.  Moultrie scored his third touchdown of the game with 7:09 remaining in the game, again from seven yards out and capping a 12-play, 92-yard drive.  Laughlin's point after made the score 21-21.

Birmingham-Southern forced another second half Sewanee punt on its next possession, and the Panthers took over with 4:59 left and a chance to win the ballgame.

Alternating between sophomore Jimmy Stainback of Roswell, Ga., and Moultrie lining up behind center, the Panthers marched 87 yards in 12 plays with Morris scoring from the two with 37 seconds to go.  Following Laughlin's PAT, Birmingham-Southern had a 28-21 come-from-behind victory.

Panther senior defensive back Micah Baker of Springville intercepted a last second desperation pass from Sewanee to end the game.

Sewanee finished the afternoon with 20 first downs, to BSC's 16.  Birmingham-Southern would, however, gain the last 10 first downs of the contest.  Sewanee also won the rushing battle with 256 to BSC's 240.  Morris led the Panthers on the ground with 113 yards on 23 carries.  The Panthers managed 106 yards through the air to 83 for the Tigers.

Junior defensive back Andrew Shannon of Trussville again led the Birmingham-Southern defense, tallying 12 total tackles on the day.

The Panthers will be on the road again next Saturday, Oct. 1, at SCAC foe Austin College in Sherman, Texas.  Kick off is set for 1 p.m.