No. 6 Snow rallies late to defeat No. 10 Blinn, 43-41, in the El Toro Bowl

YUMA, Ariz. – No. 10 Blinn College held a 35-19 lead heading into the final quarter of the El Toro Bowl until No. 6 Snow College stormed back with 24 points to defeat the Buccaneers 43-41 on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"I am really proud of the way our guys handled themselves as ambassadors of Blinn College through this entire process and throughout the game; they fought hard and never buckled," said Ryan Mahon, Blinn head coach. "There were high and low moments and unfortunately at the very end we just came up a little bit short, but I couldn't be more proud of this team and I am proud to be their head coach."

Jalan Cooper was named the El Toro Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player after totaling six tackles, one sack, and recovering a fumble, while Sicory Smith was named the El Toro Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player after leading the Buccaneers with seven catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Although Snow College only held the lead for 2:48 minutes in the opening quarter and the final 4:28 minutes of the game, the Badgers walked away with the victory after scoring 24 points in the final quarter.

Offensively, Devin Williams led the Buccaneers with 268 passing yards for three touchdowns, while rushing for 42 yards and two touchdowns, and Carlos Grace led with 46 rushing yards. Dandre Reed followed Smith with five receptions for 88 yards and Donovan Banks caught two passes for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Djuan Matthews, Chadwick Thibodeaux, and Cullen Wick led with eight tackles each, while Nate Betts and Keith Watson followed with seven tackles each.

Following a 43-yard field goal, Snow took a 3-0 lead with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter to kick things off. Williams answered back for the Buccaneers after rushing for a touchdown from the one-yard-line for Blinn to take a 7-3 lead with 4:05 left in the opening quarter.

The Buccaneers pulled ahead 21-3 in the second quarter as Watson blocked a field goal and returned it for 81 yards for his first touchdown of the season with 14:17 on the clock and Williams connected with Smith on a 10-yard pass with 10:50 remaining in the half. After Snow scored on a two-yard run and safety, the Buccaneers held a 21-12 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Snow was the first to score with an 18-yard run to close in on Blinn 21-19. However, the Buccaneers offense would pull ahead 35-19 after scoring 14 points in the final seven minutes of the quarter. Williams and Smith connected on a 34-yard pass with 6:52 on the clock, followed by Williams finding Banks in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 3:14 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter is when Snow created an avalanche and scored 24 straight points to take a 43-35 lead with 4:28 remaining. A 34-yard field goal, a 37-yard rushing touchdown, a 24-yard interception return, and a four-yard rushing touchdown gave the Badgers the lead for the first time since the opening quarter.

With 22 seconds remaining, Williams led the Buccaneers to the end zone and scored on an eight-yard run, but a missed two-point conversion allowed Snow to walk away with the win.

"That final touchdown was huge and it just shows you how resilient the kids are on this team," Mahon said. "They have never turned down an opportunity to go win a ball game and that showed today in the final drive."

The Buccaneers finish the season with a 6-4 record.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.