As far as the Blinn College football team is concerned, its Week 6 Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) road tilt is as must-win as it gets. 

The Buccaneers are set to hit the road to take on a Navarro College team fresh off a major upset win, and Blinn’s potential first conference victory of the season hangs in the balance. 

The two teams are tabbed for a 4 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Corsicana, Texas. 

“We don’t want to be 0-3 in this conference and face the possibility of missing the playoffs,” freshman running back Antonio Martin said. “We need to win this game; it’s as simple as that.” 

The Bucs entered the ballgame at 2-2 overall, but two close conference setbacks have them facing an uphill climb in the SWJCFC. Blinn has fallen to Cisco College, 20-19, on the road in Week 3, and suffered a 17-14 defeat at the hands of New Mexico Military Institute in Week 5. 

Navarro is also 2-2 but is 2-1 in conference play with two consecutive league wins. The Bulldogs shook up the NJCAA Division I top 15 poll with a stunning 24-20 road victory over then-No. 3 Kilgore on Sept. 23.  

Bucs head coach Ryan Mahon believes facing a Navarro squad equipped with a wave of momentum is a daunting task, but said it’s a challenge his team can answer if it limits its own mistakes. 

“Navarro is going to have momentum because they just upset the top team in our conference and the third-ranked team in the country, and they’re going to take advantage of that as much as possible,” Mahon said. “I know we’re going to have our opportunities, but it’s going to come down to executing. The things that have hurt us most in our two losses are self-inflicted wounds, whether they were turnovers, missed field goals, or penalties. If we can clean that stuff up, we should be right there with Navarro.” 

Statistically, Blinn appears to be closer to 4-0 than its current .500 mark. 

The Bucs are piling up rushing yards at an astronomical rate, surpassing the 240-yard mark in each of its four ballgames to go with 19 touchdowns. Blinn has also added six passing touchdowns. The Bucs lead NJCAA Division I with 26 total touchdowns (including one defensive score) this season, are first in total rushing yards and rushing yards per contest, and are in the top 10 in total offense and yards per game. 

Martin has been a stalwart out of the backfield with a team-high 416 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He reeled off a 50-yard score against New Mexico Military last week. 

The Buccaneer defense is also thriving with just 43 points allowed this season, including just 37 in two conference bouts. Blinn has also recorded nine interceptions and three fumble recoveries while allowing a paltry 182.3 yards per game to opposing offenses. Blinn is fourth nationally with 10.8 yards allowed per game and also fourth in total yards allowed. Its nine interceptions are the second most in the country. 

“We’re doing a lot of good things, we just need to do the good things better and get more results,” said sophomore linebacker Caden Hohlt. “Coach (Drew) Coleman always has us prepared and he calls the right plays to make us successful, we just need to fix our alignments and put ourselves in the position to make stops on the big plays.” 

Navarro has found its most success offensively when it runs the football, with seven touchdowns on the ground with no fumbles this fall. The Bulldogs have totaled 613 rushing yards. Two Navarro quarterbacks have combined for 701 passing yards, but the Bulldogs have just three touchdowns through the air compared to seven interceptions. 

“They run the ball well and that’s typically what they want to do, but they have a quarterback who is capable,” Mahon said. “Our goal is going to be to get after them in the run game and hopefully force them to make some mistakes in the air.” 

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 44 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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