COPPERAS COVE - Less than four minutes into the game, Jaylen Brown returned a blocked punt 15 yards for a touchdown to help spark No. 4 Trinity Valley to a 34-24 win over No. 5 Northwest Mississippi in the Heart of Texas Bowl on Saturday at Bulldawg Stadium.
The Cardinals (11-1) won their final nine games of the season, including Saturday's win over the reigning national champion Rangers (9-3).
Michael Curtis ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 99 yards and a touchdown to Dominique Thomas to guide the Trinity Valley offense. With the game tied 10-10, Curtis scored on a 6-yard run to spark a 21-0 run lasting until the 10-minute mark in the fourth quarter.
Thomas, Damontes Dowell and Anthony Turner had four receptions apiece for TVCC, which had nine different players catch a pass.
The Cardinals amassed 226 of their 361 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Devante Thomas had an interception and a team-high six tackles for Trinity Valley.
Marquisian Chapman had 11 receptions for 105 yards to lead the Rangers offense. Clay Holgorsen and Cam Bowman combined for 178 passing yards. Tywun Walters rushed for 88 yards on 26 attempts for Northwest Mississippi.
Trinity Valley improved to 9-5 all time in NJCAA bowl games and has a 4-0 record against teams from Mississippi. Northwest Mississippi fell to 4-4-1 in bowl games, including 2-2-1 against Texas teams.