Birmingham-Southern held off LaGrange's furious fourth quarter rally for a 34-28 win at Krulak Stadium on Thursday night. The loss spoiled Earl Chambers' head coaching debut.
"I commend our guys on staying in there and fighting hard," Chambers said. "They never quit, I just wish we could have started the game a little bit faster."
Birmingham-Southern had 537 yards of offense in the game, 316 in the first half. The host Panthers built a 20-0 lead, scoring on their first four possessions. The Panthers had 102 yards in the half, 84 coming on their final drive of the half. Quarterback Kelly Hall scored from the 1 to finish the 12-play drive to make it 20-7 at the break.
BSC tacked on two more scores in the third quarter to take a commanding 34-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hall connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Campbell on the fourth play of the quarter to cap a 6-play 82 yard drive to make it 34-14. Tyler Benjamin covered half the distance with a 41-yard catch.
The Panthers came right back with another quick scoring drive to draw within 13, 34-21 . Hall found Benjamin from 11 yards out to finish an 8 play, 80-yard drive.
Birmingham-Southern recovered the ensuing onside kick but Lamech Wilder pounced on a fumble on the next play to get the ball back at midfield for LC with 2:52 left.
Campbell made a diving one-handed catch for a 33-yard gain down to the BSC 6 yard line. Drew Lewiski scored standing up on the next play and suddenly it was a six-point game, 34-28, with 2:02 left.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers recovered the onside kick but an offsides penalty wiped out the play. Chambers gambled with a short kickoff in the hopes of getting the ball back but BSC was able to run out the clock.
"You know if I made the right decision on pooch kicking at the end then maybe I should have given ourselves a chance and try the onside kick again," said Chambers. "I thought we could stop them and get the ball back and try to win it."
Hall finished the game 16-for-20 for 201 yards and the two touchdowns. Benjamin had 93 yards on three catches. Campbell had a team-high seven receptions for 69 yards.
The Panthers host nationally-ranked Berry at Callaway Stadium next Saturday at 6 p.m.