COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Playing in the largest junior college bowl venue in the nation, the Northwest Mississippi Rangers knew it would take a big-time effort to come away with the inaugural Brazos Valley Bowl championship.
Domonique Harris and the Ranger offense had exactly that, piling up more than 500 yards of total offense on their way to a 47-36 victory over Kilgore College.
Harris completed 19 of 23 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns while running for an additional 60 yards. Running back Damian Baker was Northwest Mississippi’s workhorse, running for 182 yards and a touchdown.
The Rangers needed almost every yard to defeat a Kilgore squad that threw for 405 yards on the day. Freshman quarterback Tanner Tausch completed 27 of 53 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Ed’Marques Batties caught eight passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Kilgore finished with 452 yards of total offense.
Northwest Mississippi went 65 yards on its opening drive, capping the series with a 3-yard run from Percy O’Bannon. Kilgore answered with an electric 75-yard punt return from James Jones, but the rest of the first half would belong to Northwest Mississippi. Baker scored on a 2-yard run and Derrell Lovelady scored on a 46-yard pass from Harris. Harris later connected with Darreall Joyner on a 21-yard touchdown pass to make the score 30-7 going into halftime.
Batties caught a 38-yard touchdown on a pass from Emory Miller to get Kilgore back in the ballgame, and Tausch connected with Steven Borden for a 5-yard touchdown pass to cut Northwest Mississippi’s lead to 37-20.
Northwest Mississippi sophomore Chase Carpenter booted a 21-yard field goal to make it 40-20, but Kilgore scored the next 10 points as Courtland Smith scored on a 3-yard run and Yovany Arvizu kicked a 34-yard field goal.
With 3:09 remaining, O’Bannon scored on an 8-yard run to make it 34-7 before Kilgore scored the game’s final touchdown on a 6-yardpass from Tausch to Joe Herrick.
Harris was named the offensive player of the game after totaling 310 yards of offense. Sophomore defensive lineman Jerome McClain was named the defensive player of the game after totaling six tackles and a sack.
Aaron Thompson led Northwest Mississippi with 10 total tackles, while James Jones and Matthew Gregg each had 10 takedowns to lead Kilgore’s defense.
The game drew 4,138 fans.
The Brazos Valley Bowl was the result of Blinn’s partnerships with community leaders aimed at boosting economic activity in the region during the historically sluggish month of December. Initial funding for the bowl game was provided by the City of College Station through Hotel Occupancy Tax funds.