Unbeaten No. 14 Trinity Tigers stop Birmingham-Southern 24-16 in SCAC football action

Jimmy Stainback
Jimmy Stainback

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—The Birmingham-Southern Panthers fell on the road today, losing a hard-fought 24-16 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference football game to the No. 14 undefeated Trinity Tigers.

BSC dropped to 5-2 on the season with its second straight loss.  The Panthers fell to 2-2 in SCAC play.

Perennial conference power Trinity improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the SCAC.

Birmingham-Southern is now 0-5 all-time against Trinity.

Trinity took a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter.  On the first drive of the game, junior placekicker Garrett Biel was good on a 34-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 3-0.  Just minutes later, BSC sophomore Tyler Johnson (Milton, Fla.) fumbled on a punt return and Trinity took over at the Panther 25 yard line.  Two plays later, junior running back Patrick Granchelli found the end zone from 10 yards out and Trinity quickly led 10-0 after Biel's PAT.

The Panthers would get on the scoreboard early in the second quarter.  Following an exchange of punts, BSC mounted an 11-play, 61-yard drive that resulted in a 42-yard Grant Talbert (Harvest, Ala.) field goal.  It was the first field goal attempt of the season for the sophomore.

Trinity would extend its lead to 14 on the ensuing kickoff, driving 90 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 16-yard scoring run by Granchelli.  Biel's PAT gave the Tigers a 17-3 lead with 4:15 to go in the first half.

BSC answered the Trinity score with its own eight-play, 80-yard drive.  Junior quarterback Jimmy Stainback (Roswell, Ga.) scored from the one to pull the Panthers to within 17-10 just before the first half ended.  Sophomore kicker Ryan Laughlin (Fort Payne, Ala.) was good on the point after attempt.

Most of the third quarter was spent exchanging punts before Trinity mounted a 64-yard, eight-play drive to extend its lead back to 14 points.  Junior quarterback Nyk McKissic hit senior wide receiver Jonathan Osei-Kuffour on a 38-yard scoring strike with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.  Biel's PAT gave Trinity a 24-10 lead.  It was McKissic's 12th touchdown pass of the season.

BSC would not go down without a fight, though.  Following a punt and a missed Biel field goal attempt in the fourth quarter, the Panthers drove 80 yards in nine plays with Stainback scoring his second touchdown of the day, this time from 10 yards out.  Laughlin missed the PAT and the Panthers trailed 24-16 with 4:27 left in the contest.

The Panthers then forced a Trinity punt, taking over at their own five-yard line with 2:26 left in the game and 95 yards to go to attempt to tie the contest.  BSC was unable to get past its own 35 and a Stainback pass was intercepted by Trinity in the final minute to secure the victory for the Tigers.

Trinity entered the game with the SCAC's top defense, and the Tigers held BSC to just 13 first downs and 279 yards total offense, far below its SCAC-best 434 yards per contest.

For the Panthers, Stainback finished the afternoon 8 of 15 passing for 114 yards.  Junior tailback Shawn Morris from Pensacola, Fla., tallied 131 yards rushing on 20 carries, just below his league-leading 134 yards a game.

Trinity finished with 348 total yards, led by Granchelli's 124 yards rushing and McKissic's 182 yards passing.

Senior defensive end Bryan Jackson (Houston, Texas) led the Panther defense with 11 tackles, including one sack and two tackles for a loss.  Senior linebacker Dustin Massey (Geraldine, Ala.) also had 11 tackles.

Birmingham-Southern returns home for its last two games of the season, hosting Rhodes College on Nov. 5 and Millsaps College for Homecoming/Reunion Weekend and Senior Day on Nov. 12.  Both games kickoff at 1 p.m. in Panther Stadium.