San Antonio - The Trinity football team won 24-17 in a Southern Athletic Association battle with Birmingham-Southern (AL) College on Saturday.
The game was played at the nearby historic Alamo Stadium because of field conditions on Trinity's campus.
Birmingham-Southern got on the board after recovering a fumble on Trinity's first possession of the game. Five plays and just 27 yards later, the Panthers scored on a two-yard run to take the early lead.
After the fumble, a punt, and a turnover on downs in its first three possessions, Trinity finally got on the board early in the second quarter with a 38-yard field goal from Jonathan Reyes. Quarterback Wyatt Messex hit Peyton Tuggle on a 33-yard pass and then scrambled for a 19-yard run to set the Tigers up in the red zone. Back-to-back sacks forced the field goal try, though, and Birmingham stayed in front 7-3.
The Panthers marched 68 yards down to the Tiger 12 yardline, but Michael Edmonson broke up a potential completion and Kale Ridge picked off the loose ball for an interception to stop Birmingham's bid for a score.
Trinity's offense took full advantage of the turnover, beginning with a 48-yard rush from Charles Davis. The Tigers wound up marching 85 yards on just seven plays for a go-ahead touchdown from Messex to Tommy Lavine.
Birmingham-Southern needed just three minutes to pull back in front though, mounting a 79-yard drive that put the visitors ahead 14-10 late in the first half of action.
The Tigers took over with 3:31 until halftime, but needed just 2:36 of that to get another score and steal momentum back from BSC. Messex hit Cash Crane for a 31-yard reception on a key third down play, then connected with Lavine again for a 26-yard score that made it a 17-14 Tiger lead with under a minute to go in the second quarter.
After the Trinity defense forced a turnover on the first possession of the second half, Evan McDowell took over for the Tigers on offense by rushing five times for 21 yards that included a one-yard score to make it a 24-14 game early in the third quarter.
The offenses stalled after that and neither was able to do much until BSC took over at its own four yardline with 9:13 left in the game. The Panthers marched 90 yards on 13 plays, but had to settle for a short field goal to make it 24-17 with 3:51 remaining.
Trinity tried to run out the clock and pin the Panthers back, but a fumbled snap on its ensuing punt instead set up Birmingham-Southern at the Tiger 26 yardline. After a pair of incompletions, a penalty on third down put BSC down to the 11 yardline.
Alex Poole made a stop behind the line on a rush attempt, then Trinity's defense dialed up pressure on the next play, forcing Birmingham-Southern into a hurried throw that resulted in a loss of nine yards to make it 4th-and-20 with just over a minute remaining. Nic Hover broke up the final pass of the day for the Panthers to seal the Tiger victory.
The Tigers evened their overall record to 2-2 and their SAA mark to 1-1. Trinity now stands at 8-0 against Birmingham-Southern, with the first win coming in 2007. The series resumed last year.
Birmingham-Southern dropped to 2-2 and 0-2 in the SAA.
Evan McDowell led all rushers with 82 yards on 20 carries, including one touchdown. McDowell became the 16th Tiger player to reach 1,500 rushing yards in a career.
Charles Davis rushed for 81 yards on 10 attempts.
Wyatt Messex completed 13-22 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Tommy Lavine snagged three passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns. Lavine earlier became the 14th Trinity player to eclipse 1,500 career receiving yards.
Chris Stewart led the game with receiving yards on just five receptions.
Aaron Hale led the Tigers with eight tackles, including three solo stops.
Edmonson and Reese Mathews also recovered fumbles, while Kale Ridge had four tackles and a key interception as the Tiger defense forced a total of three turnovers and held Birmingham to just 301 yards of offense.
Trinity produced 375 yards of total offense, with 225 in the air and 150 on the ground.
Trinity continues its SAA campaign Saturday, October 6, against Rhodes (TN) College in Memphis, Tennessee. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. CDT.