Sixth-ranked Snow College outscored No. 10 Blinn College, 24-6, in the fourth quarter to edge the Buccaneers, 43-41, in the El Toro Bowl on Saturday.
Trailing 35-19, in the fourth quarter, Kekoa Sasaoka started the comeback with a 35-yard field goal to cut the Buccaneer lead to 35-22 with 13:32 left in the final quarter. Less than five minutes later, Jaylen Warren rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown to pull the Badgers to within six points. With 6:46 remaining, Snow took the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter on Daymon Murray’s 24-yard interception return for a touchdown. D’Arman Notoa completed the comeback with a four-yard touchdown run, which was set up by Jalen Powell’s interception and 17-yard return to the Blinn 12-yard line.
After taking the 43-35 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Badgers gave up a late Blinn College touchdown with :22 seconds left in the game. The Buccaneers failed to convert the two-point conversion and were unable to recover the ensuing kickoff, sealing the come-from-behind victory for the Badgers.
The Badgers produced 405 yards of total offense, including 284 yards rushing and 121 yards passing. While the offense produced big numbers, the difference in the game proved to be the Badgers’ defense. The defensive unit was credited with three interceptions that led to a total of 14 points. And, of course, the Snow defense forced an incomplete pass as the Buccaneers went for the two-point conversion to tie the game. Special teams also produced points in the victory with Riley Smith being credited with a safety following a blocked Blinn College punt in the second quarter.
Warren led the Badgers with 143 net yards, including a game-high 138 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Shane Johnson completed 15-of-28 attempts for 121 yards. Sealun Erskine and Derek Wright each had a team-leading three receptions in the game for a total of 23 and 11 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Suliasi Tukumoeatu was credited with a game-high 7.5 tackles, including seven solo takedowns. He was also credited with a three-yard tackle for loss, a forced fumble, a pass break-up, and a quarterback hurry. Colton Bennion registered seven tackles, including six solos and two tackles for loss. The Badger defense limited Blinn speedster Carlos Grace to just 46 yards rushing. Entering the game, Grace was averaging 127.3 yards per game. The Buccaneers, who averaged 233 rushing yards per game were limited to just 97 total rushing yards.
With the victory, the Badgers improved to 9-1 in head coach Paul Peterson’s first season.