Sewanee football loses late to Birmingham Southern in defensive showdown

Sewanee football loses late to Birmingham Southern in defensive showdown. Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).

By Harry Davis
Staff Writer

On Saturday, October 13, the Sewanee Tigers lost to the Birmingham Southern Panthers 13-10.

The Tigers entered the game with a record of three wins and three losses after a tough loss 44-3 to the Berry Vikings. Birmingham Southern arrived with a record of three and two after a win against Hendrix 57-41. In the Panthers’ three wins, they have averaged 592 yards of offense with a heavy passing attack. The Tigers should have been able to take advantage of the Panthers’ defense, as they have averaged 409 yard of offense and 31.4 points per game.

The Panthers attacked early, as they drove down the field on a 15-play, 80-yard drive to make the score 3-0 halfway through the first quarter. The Tigers received the ball but threw an interception on the Sewanee 42-yard line, which put the Panthers in great field position for another score.

Quarterback Grayson Baker (C’22). Photo by Matt Hembree (C’20).

On Birmingham Southern’s first play following the interception, they threw for the end zone but were intercepted by Walker Weatherly (C’21). After a Sewanee punt, the first quarter ended as the Panthers drove down the field with four complete passes in a row.

The drive continued into the second quarter and scored a touchdown on a one-yard run as the Tigers failed to stop Birmingham Southern on two third downs on the drive, with the Panthers leading 10-0. Both teams punted before the Tigers received the ball and started running the ball effectively. Malik Santiago (C’22) rushed for 31-yards and Zach Milan (C’21) ran three times successively for 24 yards. Grayson Baker (C’22) completed the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Armagh (C’19), and the Panther’s lead dwindled to 10-7.

Early in the second half, the Tigers pushed to the Birmingham Southern 11-yard line but were intercepted on third down. Sewanee’s defense stopped Birmingham Southern and the Tigers executed a grinding drive of 12 plays and 49-yards for a 35-yard field goal, which tied the game at 10-10. The Panthers pushed down the field late in the third quarter and kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter to take back the lead again, 13-10.

The clock ticked down in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers were willing to let the clock run out on rushes, but Lee Menefee (C’19) forced a fumble that was recovered by Pierce Johnson (C’21). The Tigers had one last chance late on the Panther’s 43-yard line as the Tigers completed a 21-yard pass to Karim Antoine (C’19) to the Panther’s 20-yard line, but Sewanee began to move backward. Three penalties later, the Tigers’ last hope was a 52-yard field goal that missed wide right, and Birmingham Southern won the game.

Sewanee will play at Trinity University in Texas on Saturday, October 20 before they return home for the final game against Rhodes on Saturday, October 27.