TYLER, Texas – Blinn College football was able to use a bruising running attack of D'Anthony Hopkins to pull away and upset No. 3 Tyler Junior College 50-35 Saturday night in Tyler.
Hopkins ran all over Tyler for 369 yards and four touchdowns to help the Buccaneers improve to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
"We came back and answered the call in the second half," said Ryan Mahon, Blinn interim head coach. "We played a great game against a dang good opponent in Tyler."
Blinn played three different quarterbacks as Caleb Hill got the start and threw for 61 yards while Aaron Sharp came on in relief and threw for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Weston Elliott also came in and showed off his arm for 8-of-10 passing for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Hower caught six balls for 79 yards and a touchdown, Earnest Patterson Jr. caught nine balls for 76 yards and a score while Tre'veon Hamilton added four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.
"We really came together as a team and started gelling together as an offense," Hower said.
Hopkins struck early on the first drive when he capped it off for Blinn with a 31-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first. Tyler took a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter after returning a blocked field goal try but Blinn would answer before the half.
Sharp would find Hamilton in the alone in the corner of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown to knot the game up at 14-14 with 1:15 left in the half as that score would hold up until halftime.
Blinn would catch some good luck to open the second half as Tyler snapped the ball through the back of the end zone for a safety and a 16-14 lead. That lead ballooned to 23-14 when Hopkins took the next play for Blinn for an 84-yard touchdown run just 38 seconds into the second half. Tyler did take a 24-23 lead after a field goal and a touchdown but that would be the final lead for the Apaches.
Elliott came in to give Blinn the lead with consecutive drives ending with touchdown passes to Patterson and Hower of 25 and 33 yards, respectively. Those two touchdown passes gave Blinn a 36-27 lead with 11:09 left in the game.
Hopkins polished off the upset of Tyler by adding two fourth quarter touchdown runs of 31 and 78 yards to give Blinn a 50-27 lead with 2:30 left. Tyler added a late touchdown to get the game a little closer but the Buccaneers still held on to the 15-point victory. Defense was able to keep the normally high-scoring Tyler team to only four offensive touchdowns.
"Tyler's offense is very similar to ours so I feel like being able to practice against our offense was key for our preparation for this game," said Jhavonte Dean, cornerback.
Next week will be homecoming for Blinn as the Buccaneers host Arkansas Baptist College on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 34 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,422 students, Blinn ranks among the nation's leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.