WESSON, MS (MGCCC) - Mississippi Gulf Coast dominated the line of scrimmage against No. 13 Copiah-Lincoln, and the advantage paid off late in a 21-14 victory.
The Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 MACJC South) ran for 234 yards and held the Wolves (2-1, 0-1 MACJC South) to 218 total yards. It came a week after what could have been a demoralizing loss at No. 2 East Mississippi.
"I'm excited for this football team. We went on the road in a tough environment against a really good football team, the No. 12 team in the country. I'm proud of our effort and the way the guys responded.
Terrion Avery (Fr, Stone/Wiggins) ran for 99 yards, and Deandre Torrey (Fr, Gautier/Gautier) added 93 and a touchdown. Torrance Gibson picked up 42 yards rushing and completed 13-of-22 passes for 107 yards. Tyquan Ulmer (Fr, Laurel/Laurel) was his favorite target among six different receivers to catch passes, with five for 49 yards.
Gulf Coast returns home to A.L. May Memorial Stadium next week to play East Central (1-2, 0-1). Kickoff Thursday will be at 7 p.m.
Gibson threw a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. Ulmer caught the first one for a 17-yard score, and Nick Brown (Fr, Stone/Wiggins) grabbed the second on a free play when Co-Lin jumped offside. His 19-yarder made it 14-0 with 5:49 to play in the quarter.
"We did a good job of mixing it up," Huff said. "Torrance did a good job of manufacturing the offense and taking what the defense was giving us. We were able to establish an identity early and get some points."
The Wolves buckled down though and cut their deficit in half before halftime on a 4-yard run by Woody Barrett. Barrett scored on a 13-yard run in the third quarter to knot the score.
The ultimate turning point of the game, though, came in the shadow of the Gulf Coast goal line. Barrett was hauled down just short of the end zone, setting up second-and-goal only inches from a lead.
"We were thinking the quarterback was going to keep it," Gulf Coast defensive coordinator Steve Davis said. "We told them to go get him. They did. We played extremely hard tonight. We simplified the gameplan and told them to go play. That's what they did. They never gave up, and I'm proud of 'em."
A bad snap moved them back to the 14-yard line, which got the Gulf Coast, Band of Gold, Perkettes, Cheer team and fans fired up. Their noise helped force a false start, then Co-Lin was called for a chop block on a wide receiver screen, pushing the Wolves back to the 29.
Another false start set up third-and-goal from the 34. Barrett was sent scrambling on another low snap, and Isaiah Washington (So., Karr/New Orleans) recovered near midfield.
"We knew they were going to run inside," said defensive lineman Daquan Newkirk (Fr, The First Academy/Orlando, Fla.). "Our fans were loud and we were able to get the momentum. We just made big plays. They were shook. They were real shook."
Gulf Coast ran the ball seven straight times after that, the last play ending when the Bulldogs running back was stripped at the goal line. Co-Lin caught it in the end zone for a touchback, but their subsequent drive was a three-and-out.
"Coming back on the sideline (after the turnover), the defense came over and picked him up," Huff said. The told him they had his back. It says a lot about this football team not quitting in the face of adversity."
The Bulldogs quickly mounted a five-play, all-running drive of 65 yards. Deandre Torrey galloped in from 24 yards out for the final score with 4:55 to play.
"Before the game, there rumors going around that they said we were soft," said offensive lineman Treyvion Shannon (Fr, Clarksdale/Clarksdale). "We had to pound them and make a statement."
Gulf Coast gave up one Co-Lin first down, but the Wolves' final drive stalled at midfield. The Bulldogs ran out the clock to move to the top of the division standings.