BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern football team kicks off the 2014 season at home on Saturday, taking on LaGrange at 6 p.m. on Battle Field at Panther Stadium. It will be the first-ever home night game for the Panthers on Battle Field.
BSC returns to the gridiron after going 5-4 last season. The Panthers return most of their core defensive players from last season, including senior linebacker Austin Hansard (62 tackles, 3 interceptions), who earned First-Team All-Southern Athletic Association honors last year, senior cornerback LaPrintence Gunn (57 tackles), senior defensive end Connor Shannon (43 tackles, 8 sacks, Second-Team All-SAA), and senior defensive back Ty Keenum (37 tackles, 3 interceptions).
On offense, BSC returns senior Joe Moultrie, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Stetson last year in the third game of the season. Also returning are senior wide receiver Sam Vermilyea (6 TD), senior halfback Marquis Pratt (5 TD), and senior wide receiver Michael Cowan (3 TD, Second-Team All-Conference).
This year's Panther team also features the largest senior class since the program restarted in 2007, featuring 25 seniors on the 117-man roster. The squad also features 40 newcomers, all true freshmen.
LaGrange was 5-5 in 2013, including a season-opening loss to Birmingham-Southern, 59-38, on Sept. 7 at Callaway Stadium in LaGrange, Ga. LC returns junior wide receiver Marsalis Jackson, who was the 2013 USA South Offensive Rookie of the Year, as well as senior quarterback Graham Craig, a 2013 Second-Team All-USA South selection. Senior punter Will Jefcoat, senior offensive lineman Stephan Stinchcomb, senior defensive back Scott Chewning, and sophomore defensive back Brandon Penn also return after being named Second-Team All-USA South last year.
"We always look forward to our season opener against LaGrange," Head Coach Eddie Garfinkle said. "It's really one of the most important games of the season, because it gives us an idea of where we are, and gives us a chance to get the season off to a good start. They're always a great program, and are returning a lot of key players from last season, so it should be a good match-up as always."
Saturday's game will feature live video streaming and a free game tracker, both available here.