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November 5, 2011

Birmingham-Southern hosts Rhodes College Saturday in SCAC gridiron clash

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern Panthers look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday when they host the Rhodes College Lynx in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference football game on the BSC campus.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Panther Stadium.

Birmingham-Southern is coming off a 24-16 loss on the road at No. 14 Trinity University.  It was the second straight loss for the Panthers after starting the season 5-0.  BSC is now 2-2 in SCAC play.

Rhodes enters the contest with a 3-4 overall record and a 3-2 conference mark.  The Lynx lost at home last weekend 34-7 to Sewanee.

BSC is 2-2 all-time vs. Rhodes, including last year's 41-19 win in Memphis.  The Panthers intercepted a school-record seven passes in picking up their second straight win over the Lynx.

The matchup with Rhodes will be only the third home game of the season for Birmingham-Southern.  BSC last played in Panther Stadium back on Oct. 15 in a 45-20 loss to Centre College.

"We've played the top two teams in our league the past two games, and while we were not able to get a victory, it is evident that our program is getting to the level where we can compete with any team on any Saturday," said BSC Head Coach Eddie Garfinkle.  "The important thing is that our kids played hard, and each game was a learning experience that will only make us better as a team and as a program.

"We are excited to be back home for our final two games, and our players are focused and excited about the matchup with Rhodes on Saturday.  Rhodes throws the ball about 65 percent of the time and has the league's top passer, so we have our work cut out for us."

Despite a below average output offensively last weekend at Trinity against the top defensive unit in the SCAC, Birmingham-Southern's offense continues to be No. 1 in the conference in total offense and rushing offense.  Junior tailback Shawn Morris of Pensacola, Fla., who leads the league in rushing at 134 yards a game and in scoring with 12 rushing touchdowns, needs just 60 yards against Rhodes to break the 1,000-yard mark for the season.  Morris also leads the league in all-purpose yards.

Defensively, the Panthers remain stingy against the run allowing 141 yards on the ground per game, which ranks second in the conference.  BSC also is No. 2 in the SCAC in total defense.  The Panthers are led by junior defensive back Andrew Shannon of Trussville, who is fourth in the league in tackles, second in interceptions, and third in passes defended, and senior defensive end Bryan Jackson of Houston, Texas, who is first in the SCAC in tackles for a loss and second in sacks.   

The Rhodes Lynx rank second in the SCAC in total offense, just behind Birmingham-Southern, gaining most of their yardage through the air.  Rhodes has the top-ranked pass offense in the league, throwing for 307 yards a game, and 15 touchdowns on the season.  Rhodes boasts the league's top passer in senior quarterback Brett Stoots, who has thrown for nearly 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Lynx in just six games.  He is throwing to the top two receivers in the SCAC in senior Buddy Legens, 63 receptions and four touchdowns, and junior Jack Lartigue, 57 receptions and five scores.

On the defensive side of the ball, Rhodes is giving up nearly 35 points and 356 yards per contest.  Senior linebacker Tom Zigtema has posted 73 total tackles on the season, which places him at the top of the SCAC.

Junior kicker Lukas Stockhausen is a perfect 4-4 in field goals and 22-22 in PATs for the Lynx on the season.

Fans of the Panthers can follow the contest with Rhodes on live stats at livestats.prestosports.com/bsc and on live streaming video at www.collegetvticket.com.

Birmingham-Southern will close out the season Nov. 12 when Millsaps College comes to Panther Stadium for the annual Homecoming/Reunion Weekend and Senior Day.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.