LaGRANGE, Ga.—Pulling ahead at the end of the game on an interception return touchdown, the Birmingham-Southern football team opened the season Saturday evening with an exciting 29-28 victory over LaGrange on the road.
BSC's pick six came courtesy of sophomore cornerback Kerrigan Pennington with 2:42 left in the game, tying things up 28-28 before freshman kicker Ryder Andrews nailed the extra point to put BSC up by one.
The BSC Panthers trailed for nearly the entire game, falling behind 7-0 midway through the first quarter before being outscored 14-3 in the second quarter to fall behind 21-3 at the half. BSC's field goal in the second quarter was a 29-yarder by senior Hagen Mancuso.
BSC came out strong after halftime, scoring twice in quick succession near the end of the third quarter to cut the LaGrange lead to 21-16. The first touchdown was a 23-yard run by sophomore Justin Woolfolk, followed by a three-yard dash by junior Samir Usman on their next play.
LaGrange scored its final points of the game early in the fourth quarter to pull ahead 28-16. On the ensuing drive by BSC, Andrews kicked a 37-yard field goal to cut it to 28-19 at the 11:11 mark. LaGrange's next possession ended when sophomore Sidarius Gotell intercepted the ball in the end zone, and Andrews hit another field goal at the end of the next drive to cut the LaGrange lead to 28-22 with 3:38 left in the game.
On LaGrange's next drive, the BSC defense came up big again as Pennington grabbed the interception at the 37-yard line and ran it back to tie the game at 28-28 with 2:42 on the clock. Andrews hit the extra point to give BSC its first lead of the game. LaGrange was unable to capitalize on its final drive of the game, and BSC came away with the one-point victory.
Usman led the rushing game with 166 yards on 22 carries. Sophomore quarterback Mickey Courtney was 8-20 with 110 yards and one interception. Junior Jess Handlon led the receivers with three catches for 47 yards.
Andrews was 2-2 on both field goals and extra points.
Junior Christian Burlock led the defense with eight tackles (seven solo). Gotell, Pennington, and sophomore Gavin Sumrall all had interceptions, and senior Dexter Hottel had a fumble recovery late in the first quarter.
BSC is in action at home next Saturday, hosting Huntingdon College in the Wesley Cup Game at 6 p.m. on Battle Field at Panther Stadium.