LAGRANGE, Ga.—Behind the record-setting running of junior tailback Shawn Morris, the Birmingham-Southern Panthers opened the 2011 football season with a 28-7 road victory over LaGrange College Sept. 3.
Morris of Pensacola rushed for a school-record 193 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace the BSC Panthers.
Birmingham-Southern opens the season 1-0. The LaGrange Panthers fall to 0-1.
After a scoreless first quarter, Birmingham-Southern got on the scoreboard first on the initial play of the second quarter. Junior defensive backAndrew Shannon of Trussville picked off a pass from LaGrange junior quarterback Michael May and returned it 10 yards to the end zone. Following and point-after kick by freshman Dylan Skipper of Cullman, the Panthers led 7-0.
Shannon, who tied for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference lead last season in interceptions with five, returning two for scores, picked off his second pass of the day in the fourth quarter.
After BSC opened the scoring, LaGrange quickly knotted the score. On its next possession, the LaGrange Panthers drove 68 yards in five plays, with the score coming on a 52 yard May to Aaron Duncan pass. Drake Nahrwold's extra point tied the score at 7.
The BSC Panthers would regain the lead just before the half. After the Birmingham-Southern defense stopped LaGrange inside its own five yard line and an ensuing short punt, Morris raced 41 yards on the very next play for the score. Skipper's second extra point of the day made it 14-7.
Birmingham-Southern extended its lead midway through the third quarter on a school-record 88-yard scamper by Morris. Skipper's PAT made the score 21-7. It was the longest run from scrimmage since BSC reinstated football in 2007.
The BSC Panther defense would find the end zone for a second time on the afternoon midway through the final quarter when junior defensive back Cole Rudder of Marietta, Ga., returned a pass by LaGrange quarterback Ed Russ 22 yards for the score. Skipper's kick pushed the Panthers out to the final 28 -7 margin.
Birmingham-Southern finished the afternoon with 16 first downs and 407 yards total offense, including 325 yards on the ground. In addition to Morris' record day, junior quarterbackJimmy Stainback completed 11 of 28 passes for 82 yards and one interception.
The BSC defense held LaGrange to 10 first downs and 164 yards total offense, including just 43 on the ground. On the afternoon, Birmingham-Southern picked off five LaGrange passes. Sophomore linebacker Cameron Budzius of Calhoun, Ga., and senior defensive backMicah Baker of Springville also had picks for the Panthers, who led the SCAC last season with 24 total. Senior defensive end Bryan Jackson of Houston, Texas, recorded eight tackles, including two sacks, to lead the Panthers in that category.
With the win, BSC evened the all-time series with LaGrange at 2-2.
BSC will open the home portion of its 2011 schedule next Saturday, Sept. 10, when it hosts Huntingdon College of Montgomery in the annual Wesley Cup game at 1 p.m. in Panther Stadium.