When Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy looks at his team and the Saddleback College Gauchos, on paper, he thinks they are pretty even.
Saddleback finished the regular season 6-4, like BC did. The two teams played six common opponents. The Gauchos won two of the games, while the Renegades won one.
“It’s really going to be a game about who wants it more than the other guy,” Chudy said.
When ninth-seeded BC hits the road for the Patriotic Bowl against sixth-seeded Saddleback at Mission Viejo High School at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Chudy is hoping that’s where his squad will have the edge.
The Renegades will be going for their first bowl win since a Western State Bowl victory over Chaffey in 2014. BC is 0-2 since, missing out on a postseason game in 2015 after a 2-8 season.
“That’s what we’re counting on,” Chudy said. “Our guys are going to be motivated by the opportunity to play an 11th game and make this their best showing. It will be a challenge for us, no question about it.”
Saddleback’s team has been driven by its offense. The offense has been driven by quarterback Robbie Patterson.
The Gauchos averaged more than 46 points scored in its wins and did not win a game when it tallied fewer than 39 points. Patterson threw for 2,290 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 343 yards.
“He does a lot to keep them on the field,” Chudy said. “He extends plays. He creates a lot when there’s not a lot there.”
BC has been almost the opposite. In wins, the Renegades have allowed an average of 9.3 points. Bakersfield hasn’t won a game when it has allowed more than 17 points.
The difference in the common games comes from Saddleback’s 54-38 win over Golden West. BC lost to Golden West, 13-11. The Renegades, though, played closer games with Canyons, Ventura and Mount San Antonio in losses.
For BC sophomores like Cameron Roberson, Elisha Ortiz, James Thomas and Carson Olivas, it will be their last game in a Renegades uniform and representing Bakersfield on the field.
“Instead of just being sad, I’ve just kind of been taking it in and enjoying every moment I can,” Roberson said. “It’s been fun. It’s been very memorable for me.”
Ortiz is 114 rushing yards off his preseason goal of 1,000 yards. He averaged about 23 carries for 120 yards per game in the second half of the regular season. Roberson only has half of his desired 2,000 all-purpose yards but has another chance to prove he deserves the offensive scholarship he wasn’t offered out of high school
They both enter the bowl game nursing injuries.
“Not always do you have your best players are the highest of quality people and it’s worked out,” Chudy said.
A season ago, BC was embarrassed by Long Beach in a 37-10 Patriotic Bowl loss to finish out what once was a 7-1 season with three straight defeats.
Chudy is hoping for a more inspired effort this time around.
“It’s another opportunity for them to put good reps on a highlight tape,” Chudy said. “Now is the time when you want to shine.”