As the Hendrix College Warriors are set to kick off their eighth all-time meeting with Birmingham-Southern on Saturday, Hendrix figures to be desperate for a win.
Currently sitting 1-3 on the season, the Warriors have been on the wrong side of three different blowouts and are hoping to reverse that fortune Saturday against a Panthers team that is receiving national votes for polls.
And for good reason. BSC has started the season 4-0 with a big win over Huntingdon, who is also receiving national votes in week two.
The Panthers have been scoring in bunches this season, boasting the Southern Athletic Association’s top scoring offense, averaging 48.5 points per game.
That point total is helped in large part to the effectiveness of the Panthers’ ground game.
BSC senior running back Robert Shufford leads the conference in nearly all rushing categories with 657 yards and 11 touchdowns on 84 attempts.
He is averaging 164.3 yards rushing per game.
His two backfield mates, senior Tavion Fleming and freshman Jon Lewis also find themselves in the top five in rushing yards per game with Fleming averaging 79, while Lewis averages 67.3.
The Panthers are a high-volume rushing team, carrying the ball 180 times to 72 pass attempts.
As for that passing, senior quarterback Trey Patterson has gotten the bulk of the passing attempts.
On the season, he has completed 35 of 59 passes for 680 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Defensively, BSC has been strong in its previous three games, allowing fewer than 10 points to opponents, including a 49-0 shutout to Sewanee last Saturday.
The Panthers’ defense is led by a trio of tacklers who rank seven, eight and nine in the SAA for total tackles.
Junior linebacker Connor West leads the trio with 26 total tackles, while junior safety Seth Gable and senior linebacker Court Coley both have 25.
In contrast to BSC’s strong defense, Hendrix hasn’t been shy about putting up points despite the three losses being lopsided.
Hendrix has averaged 31 points per game, but is hurt on the defensive end as the defense is surrendering 43.4 points per game, which is seventh among eight SAA schools.
But, where Shufford leads the conference in individual scoring, Hendrix senior wide receiver Chris Childress is second in the conference with eight receiving touchdowns.
If there’s another silver lining to this game, Hendrix has been quite successful against Birmingham-Southern in the two schools’ history since 2013.
In seven previous contests, the Warriors are 5-2 and hold a 3-0 mark when games are played at Young-Wise Memorial Stadium.
Hendrix won the last meeting between the two schools in 2019 as the fall 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the two teams didn’t meet in the spring 2021 season.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Young-Wise Memorial Stadium.