Panthers remain unbeaten with 49-34 road win against Stetson

Issac Nichols & Tyson Beacham (photo by Ben Breland)
Issac Nichols & Tyson Beacham (photo by Ben Breland)

DELAND, Fla.—The Birmingham-Southern football team racked up nearly 500 total yards en route to a 49-34 win on the road against NCAA Division I-AA Stetson, Saturday evening at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Fla.

BSC moves to 3-0, while the Hatters fall to 1-2. It was the first meeting between the schools, as Stetson's team is in its first season since the program was discontinued in 1957.

The Hatters got on the board first in the game at the 12:22 mark of the first quarter with a one-yard pass from Ryan Tentler to Taylor Dunn, but BSC responded six minutes later on a 29-yard rush by senior Joe Moultrie, and then again five minutes after that on a 28-yard pass from senior quarterback Tyson Beacham to senior Tyler Johnson. Both of senior Ryan Laughlin's extra points were good to put the Panthers up 14-7 after the first quarter.

Stetson tied it up early in the second quarter, but the Panthers pulled back ahead at the 7:22 mark of the second quarter on a fumble return by freshman defensive back Sidarius Gotell. The teams traded touchdowns again after that, with junior Issac Nichols making a 61-yard run at the 2:16 mark to put BSC up 28-21. The Hatters found the end zone again before halftime, returning an interception to tie it up 28-28.

The Panthers returned another fumble for a score at the 5:23 mark of the third quarter, as junior linebacker Zac Phillips scooped and scored to put BSC ahead yet again, 35-28. Less than two minutes later, the Hatters got in on the action, scoring off a fumble recovery to attempt to tie it up for the fifth time. Their attempt was foiled, however, as junior Paden Gaines blocked the extra point to preserve the BSC lead, 35-34, heading into the fourth quarter.

BSC put up two more touchdowns, both unanswered, in the fourth, as Nichols scored on a three-yard scamper at the 10:47 mark, and junior Sam Vermilyea scored on a 49-yard catch from Beacham.

Panther kickers were successful on all seven extra points—six were by Laughlin and the other was made by senior Grant Talbert—although Laughlin missed a field goal attempt in the second quarter.

Beacham was 18-32 with 206 yards and two touchdowns, as well as two picks, and Nichols led with 201 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Junior Michael Cowan led the receivers with 78 yards receiving on seven catches.

The Panther defense had five interceptions, led by junior William Weller with two. Senior linebacker Cameron Budzius led with nine tackles, all solo.

BSC had 487 total offensive yards to Stetson's 392, with 266 rushing and 221 passing. First downs were even at 21 for each team, and the Panthers had four fumbles to the Hatters' three. BSC also held onto the ball a full 10 minutes more than Stetson.

The Panthers return home next weekend, playing host to No. 5 Wesley at 1 p.m. on Battle Field at Panther Stadium.