Birmingham, Alabama - Trinity's football team held off a fourth-quarter comeback to escape with a 26-20 Southern Athletic Association victory at Birmingham-Southern College on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers led 21-0 at the half and 24-0 after three quarters of play, but a 20-point fourth quarter by Birmingham made for an exciting ending to the game.
After a 90-yard scoring drive made it 26-13 with 3:53 to go, Birmingham recovered the ensuing onside kick at the 44 yardline. The Panthers scored again to make it 26-20, but the home team took just over three minutes to get to the end zone, and less than a minute to play. Trinity recovered the onside kick this time, and sealed the win with two kneeldowns.
Trinity took the ball to start the game, but its opening drive was stopped, and the Tigers were forced to punt. Birmingham fumbled the punt, though, and Trinity's Kale Ridge recovered the loose ball at the BSC 18. The next play was the only score of the opening quarter, and the Tigers led 7-0.
The Tigers used a 95-yard scoring drive that finished early in the second quarter to make it a 14-0 game, then after the defense forced a three-and-out, Trinity's offense punched it in again on a 20-yard pass.
Neither team did much in the third quarter, as Trinity's field goal was the lone scoring play. Another fumble set the Tigers up at the BSC 22 yardline, but the Panthers held Trinity to 34-yard field goal.
Birmingham got on the board with a 56-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to make it a 24-6 game, but a pooch kick on the kickoff went out of bounds, and the onside attempt backfired.
Trinity's offense couldn't take advantage of the field position, but T.J. Raniszeski's punt was downed at the 10 yardline. Alejandro Anzaldua broke free on the first play to sack the BSC quarterback in the end zone for a safety, and the Tigers led 26-6.
After another stalled drive by the Tigers, BSC took over at the 10 to set up the late-game rally.
The two teams were even in total offense, as Trinity finished with 304 yards and Birmingham had 303. The biggest difference came in the turnover battle, which was won by a Tiger team that forced two fumbles and an interception in the game.
The Tiger defense also finished the game with five sacks and 11 tackles for loss, as well as a blocked extra point.
Trinity improved its overall record to 3-1 with its third consecutive victory, as well as remaining unbeaten in SAA play with a 2-0 record. Birmingham-Southern fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 SAA.
Today marked the first meeting between the two teams since 2012, and the Tigers are now 7-0 all-time against the Panthers.
Evan McDowell led Trinity with 91 yards rushing on 21 carries, scoring a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Kievan Boudreaux-Bostic paced the defense with 10 tackles - including nine solo stops and a 12-yard sack. He also blocked the extra point on BSC's first touchdown.
Tiger defensive lineman Alejandro Anzaldua picked up Trinity's first safety since 2015, which wound up being the team's only points of the fourth quarter. Anzaldua finished with five total tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss.
Trinity will continue SAA play at home next weekend, hosting Rhodes (TN) College at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.