The Southwest Junior College Football Conference adversaries will do battle at Cub Stadium in Brenham, Texas, where Blinn (3-1, 1-1 SWJCFC) will celebrate its homecoming.
Navarro (2-2, 2-1), entered the top 15 poll this week after a 28-21 upset of then-ninth-ranked Kilgore.
The Bulldogs present another tough conference test for the Buccaneers, who are coming off a 24-21 setback to No. 1 New Mexico Military Institute. Blinn led that game 21-10 in the fourth quarter before NMMI rallied for the close victory.
The Bucs are now shifting their focus on this week’s matchup with an opportunity to get back on track up ahead.
“As a coach, the loss to NMMI is going to be one that lives with me for years,” Blinn head coach Ryan Mahon said. “Our players, they’re young, so it’s a situation where they’re going to move on from it and get ready for this week. Now, we’re learning from it, and the bus trip home from New Mexico could’ve gone two ways. But our guys weren’t negative or pointing fingers; instead, they were already talking about improving through practice and improving our focus. So, it was a good response to what happened.”
Blinn played well enough to win in Week 5, as freshman quarterback Brock Bolfing shined with 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air. Sophomore running back JJ Branham carried the ball 22 times for 101 yards to lead the rushing attack. Bolfing added a 1-yard TD on the ground.
In total, the Bucs outgained the Broncos 399 to 293.
“Losses are never fun, but the good thing is that there is usually more to learn from a loss,” Bolfing said. “It’s all about being able to finish tough games now. We played in a tough game, and now we have to go out and finish what we started. We had the number one team in the nation on the ropes, so we know we can compete with these top teams, so we just have to go out and finish the job.”
The Buccaneer defense gave NMMI all it could handle, with three quarterback sacks and an interception. Blinn also limited the Broncos to just 69 rushing yards and had 6 ½ tackles for a loss.
“As a team, I think we honestly needed to feel the way we did after our loss to NMMI because now we know we never want to feel that way again,” said sophomore defensive back Daniel Onwuachi, who intercepted his fourth pass of the season in Week 5. “Coming into this week, it’s all about improving day-by-day and growing in the areas where we didn’t perform well last week.”
Navarro will bring an offense to Brenham which operates at a 50-50 run-to-pass ratio. Of their 365.8 yards per game this season, the Bulldogs have averaged 185.3 passing yards and 180.5 on the ground. They’ve scored at a rate of 25.3 points per contest.
Freshman running backs T.J. Snowden (258 yards and two TDs) and Tim Carter (177 yards and three scores) lead the running attack, with sophomore quarterback Dane Jentsch getting involved to the tune of 160 yards and a TD.
Jentsch has passed for 674 yards this season with four TDs and three interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Hawkins leads Navarro with 275 yards and two scores.
“They’re really athletic, and they’ve reloaded with a lot of transfers who came in this season,” Mahon said of the Bulldogs. “They can be very consistent and dangerous, and also very methodical, and we have to make sure we hem-up their receivers, because they can spread the ball around. They also have a very good defensive front that could give us fits, so we have to be prepared for that as well.”
Defensively, Navarro has allowed 338 yards per outing and 27.5 points per game.
“We just have to go and score points,” added Bolfing. “It’s time for us to go out and show what we can do offensively and put teams away.”
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.