Bakersfield College coach Jeff Chudy wanted to see his players compete "with a chip on their shoulder" against College of the Canyons on Saturday night.
He got his wish, big-time.
The Renegades, still angered by a four-overtime loss one week earlier that they felt was determined by questionable officiating, routed Canyons 45-7 in Memorial Stadium.
The outcome was not in doubt by late in the second quarter. BC (3-2 overall, 1-1 National Northern Conference) led 31-0 at halftime.
"It was real important that we came out and played like this," said freshman running back Curtis McGregor, who had a game-high 126 rushing yards on 14 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run. "I didn't expect us to come out and play like this. I did expect us to come out hard and play to win. Putting 31 points up at in the first half was great."
BC coach Jeff Chudy used the gut-wrenching loss to Ventura a week earlier as a motivation.
"Yeah, I think we had a little bit of attitude about ourselves,” he said. “What happened last week still hurts, stings. Our guys had something to prove and they took charge. We didn’t let them in the game.”
Canyons (1-4 overall, 1-1 NNC) moved the ball against the Renegades defense. The Cougars finished with 368 yards of offense, only 66 fewer yards than BC, but still trailed 45-0 until a late 86-yard kickoff return set up their only score with 4:13 remaining.
The Cougars crossed midfield on their first seven possessions. Four times they turned the ball over on downs, twice they threw interceptions — including one returned 96 yards for a touchdown by BC safety Chris Hannible — one they punted and another drive ended when BC’s Mercy Maston blocked a field goal attempt.
The Renegades, meanwhile, finished five of their drives with touchdowns and another with a field goal.
“It’s about keeping guys out of the end zone,” Chudy said. “We blocked a field goal on their first drive. The second drive we got it on downs even though they moved it on us a little bit. As the first half kept going, we played better with a lot of confidence.”
BC got a big lift on the opening kickoff when backup wide receiver Robert Burns forced a fumble that he recovered on the Canyons 27. Jalen Sykes scored on a 5-yard run five plays later and the Renegades pulled away after that.
“That was a great tempo-starter,” Chudy said. “Robert Burns dislodged it. It was a nice way to start the game. They kind of realized our guys came ready to play after that.”
“I didn’t even know it was a fumble,” Burns said. “I was just trying to make a play.”
The BC running game was so effective that quarterback Brian Burrell only attempted 11 passes. He completed six, including touchdowns of 31 yards to Marquise Johnson and 22 to Thomas Hearn.
Kwame Johnson had an 8-yard touchdown run for the Renegades in the fourth quarter and place-kicker Tyler Schleicher, who missed three field goal attempts a week earlier, hit a 36-yard field goal against Canyons and was 6-for-6 on extra points.
“We had a great week of practice,” McGregor said. “Our O-line blocked well, our running backs ran hard. Everything happened in the first half. We needed to redeem ourselves after last week.”
BC next plays at El Camino on Saturday.