ROME, Ga., October 27, 2013 — Tyson Beacham connected with Michael Cowan for a pair of touchdowns as Birmingham-Southern found its winning ways once again and knocked off Berry by a 42-0 margin.
With the win, the Panthers ended a three-game skid that follow three straight wins to open the season.
Birmingham-Southern (4-3) jumped to a 7-0 first quarter lead behind a seven-yard run from Issac Nichols with 13:19 to go in the first quarter. Berry (1-7) then looked like it might turn the tide, picking off a pair of Beacham passes.
Berry couldn’t convert the takeaways into points, however, and, the visiting Panthers responded with 21 points in the second quarter to seize the momentum and take a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Birmingham-Southern relied on its rushing attack all afternoon as four backs found the end zone. The Panthers picked up 309 of their total 457 offensive yards on the ground.
The stout Birmingham-Southern defense kept Berry’s Christopher Lilly, the Vikings’ leading receiver, without a reception. For his part, Lilly ended the game with 117 all-purpose yards, 107 kickoff return yards and 10 rushing yards. He also drew a pass interference call against Birmingham-Southern in the first quarter.
While the score could easily have been deflating, Berry Coach Tony Kunczewski praised his squad’s determination to keep fighting even as the game was out-of-reach.
“It’s easy to point out what we’re proud about,” Kunczewski said in a post-game interview. “The guys kept on fighting the whole time. I don’t have to look at the film to see that.”
Kunczewski points to a play late in the game as indicative of the Vikings’ determination. Down 35-0 on their own 24 yard line with 12-plus minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Berry stopped Birmingham-Southern as the Panthers went for it on fourth-and-three.
“When you’re up 35-0, it’s easy to play hard; when you’re down 35-0, it’s difficult,” Kunczewski said. “That’s going to pay off in the long run from a character standpoint.”
Berry, playing in its inaugural season, heads to Jackson, Miss., next week to face Millsaps (7-0), who defeated Sewanee (2-6) 21-14 on Saturday. Birmingham-Southern returns home to play Rhodes (6-1) for homecoming; Rhodes defeated Centre (5-2) on Saturday by a 35-14 margin.
“Right now, we’re battered and bruised and have a lot of guys out, but they’re not canceling any of the games, so we’re going to keep on playing,” Kunczewski said.
“We’re not going to prepare any differently,” Kunczewski said of Millsaps. “It’s not like we haven’t faced any good teams this year. We’re going to prepare for them just like we prepare for anybody else.”
— Saturday’s game was the last home game Berry will play this year at The Darlington School. Berry plays it final game of the season Nov. 9 against Sewanee at historic Barron Stadium in downtown Rome, where the Vikings played their first-ever football game. Berry is continuing to raise money to build an on-campus stadium, but it’s not clear whether the stadium will open in time for next season.
— Berry’s Sandon Mims made his first collegiate start on Saturday. He finished the afternoon completing 16 of 30 pass attempts for 72 yards.
— Berry won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 32:34 against 27:26 for Birmingham-Southern.
— Berry’s Jonathan Lewis saw a bulk of the action at running back for the Vikings. Lewis rushed for 46 yards on 10 carries.
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