Football: Panthers roll past Birmingham-Southern 47-27 to open 2016

Football: Panthers roll past Birmingham-Southern 47-27 to open 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - LaGrange rolled past Birmingham-Southern 47-27 on Saturday at Battle Field in Kulak Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

The Panthers piled up 543 yards of total offense without a turnover in scoring their most points in a season opener. After punting the first two times, the Panthers scored on their next seven possessions. They built a 28-7 halftime lead, then swapped scores with their Panther counterparts in the second half.

"We play fast with quick drives and I thought we had good drives tonight," Coach Matt Mumme said. "Defensively I thought we did a tremendous job of getting them off the field in the first half. We talked about it all week about getting a fast start on defense and get them off the field. On offense, we wanted to get a fast start to get out in front of this thing and not give them hope. Coach (Eddie) Garfinkel does a tremendous job with this program. We did not a good job of not giving them that hope."

Junior quarterback Connor Blair threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns. He had 277 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Panthers built the three-touchdown halftime lead. Blair was 28-for-39 in the game, with completions to 12 different receivers.

Senior Lavell Meeks had four catches for a game-high 136 yards and two touchdowns. Marsalis Jackson and Marcus Campbell also had four catches, while Jamarkis Holmes and Ervens Oge each had a touchdown catch.

The Panthers rushed for 155 yards in the game, the most since the 2014 season. Drew Lewiski and Nicholas Searcy had touchdown runs.

The Panthers jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead. Blair threw a 50-yard strike down the middle to Meeks, then Holmes broke several tackles to finish a 20-yard catch and run for the second score.

The Panthers answered with back-to-back scoring drives to go up 28-7. Blair and Meeks hooked up a second time from 24 yards out, then Lewiski capped a 68-yard drive with a 3-yard run.

BSC was held to 92 yards of offense in the first half. The host Panthers put together three TD drives in the second half and each time LC answered.

Blair closed out his night with a short 4-yard pass to Oge. Nicholas Searcy finished a 75-yard drive with a 7-yard run.

Sophomore Kiontai Button ended the scoring with a 94-yard kickoff return for the final 47-27 margin. The return was the first for a touchdown for the Panthers since the 2008 season and the longest one in the program's history.

The Panthers host Berry in Callaway Stadium next Saturday. Kickoff is 7 p.m.