Second-half rallies are nothing new for Bakersfield College.
The Renegades, trailing by a touchdown until late in the third quarter, pulled even with eight seconds left in the third and added the game-winner early in the fourth in a 21-14 National Northern Conference win over El Camino Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore running back Andre Smith has BC's most prolific running effort of the season, gaining 165 yards on 29 carries, including the game-winning TD run of 2 yards with 8:20 left in the game.
"It feels great to come out and play to my full ability," said Smith, who suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in the 2009 season opener, a game where he had 181 rushing yards. "We made some adjustments at halftime. The coaches came in and chewed us out. We let a couple of blockers get through us (in the first half) but then we stayed on our blocks."
BC, ranked No. 2 in Southern California, improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the NNC. El Camino, rocked by four forfeit losses that wiped out what had been a 4-0 start, is 0-8 and 0-3.
"It's a battle of attrition," BC coach Jeff Chudy said.
"They're not a bad football team. They beat Grossmont (a game later forfeited) and had Palomar down 21-6 in the fourth quarter before they turned it over three times and lost it."
Chudy said he was most proud of the second-half performance by the Renegade offense. At halftime, BC had only 16 net rushing yards and only 99 total yards. In the second half, the Renegades had 234 net yards, including 164 on the ground.
"The guys (offensive line) stepped it up, and Andre is ready to ring it. I'm proud of the way he came out in the second half."
BC was missing sophomore running back Julian Dean-Johnson, who suffered a dislocated finger in last week's come-from-behind overtime win over Ventura, a game BC trailed by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
BC tight end Jared Hood said the better running success in the second half had everything to do with a halftime adjustment, when the fullback and wingback were more effectively used as blockers.
"When that happened, they didn't have an extra guys who were unblocked," Hood said. "Then we started getting like six yards a pop."
Hood, who came into the game with only two catches this season, had three receptions for 71 yards, including a 16-yard TD catch from quarterback Lyle Negron that tied the game with eight seconds left in the third quarter. He had a 40-yard catch in the second quarter when BC drove for the then-tying touchdown, an 8-yard run by Negron.
El Camino had a 1-yard TD run by Melvin Richardson and a 5-yard TD run by Peter Walton. Walton had a strong game, rushing for 113 yards on 14 carries.
BC place-kicker Josh Gallington was 3-for-3 on extra points but missed his first field goal of the season when he was wide left on a 21-yard attempt early in the first quarter. He had been 10-for-10, including the game-winner a week earlier in overtime against Ventura.
It was a 7-7 game at halftime, with El Camino outplaying the Renegades for most of the first half until BC's final first-half drive.
After a 30-yard field goal attempt by El Camino's Juan Sanchez was blocked by Irving Gant, the Renegades took over at their 20 and drove 80 yards on 10 plays, capped by Negron's 8-yard TD run.
Negron ran into an official at the 4-yard line, spun away, was hit by an El Camino defender at the 2 and muscled to the goal line where he got the touchdown call.
Prior to that, Negron completed five passes, with two big-yardage plays to receivers who are not usually among BC's pass catchers.
Sophomore running back Ruben Suarez caught only his second pass of the season for 14 yards on the first play of the drive. Hood made his third catch of the season when Negron scrambled away from a hard rush and found him all alone along the right sideline for 40 yards to the El Camino 10.
Prior to that drive, the Renegades had only 19 net yards through the middle of the second quarter.
El Camino scored with 11:53 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Melvin Richardson. That capped a 70-yard drive that featured a 44-yard run by Peter Walton that gave the Warriors a first down at the BC 4. Prior to that play, El Camino had minus 9 net rushing yards.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, top-ranked Mount San Antonio College edge Saddleback 33-31.