Was it the biggest play of the year for Navarro's Bulldogs?
Time will tell, but Tray Bishop's 101-yard interception return Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium looks and feels like just what the Dawgs needed.
Bishop's coast-to-coast pick ignited Navarro's 28-point fourth quarter that buried Texas A&T 69-41 and lifted the Dawgs' spirits after their longest week of the year.
Coach Scott Parr and his Bulldogs just hope that dramatic play can carry over and help them make a final push for the postseason with victories in their final two conference games.
The win over A&T has nothing to do with the SWJCFB conference standings, but it could go a long way to restore Navarro on and off the field, where the program was embarrassed after an ugly altercation broke out after last week's 35-3 loss to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Parr apologized to the college and the community this week and was adamant about restoring the team's image.
It was a long and difficult week and Parr said his team handled the unique situation well and added that, "practice was therapeutic for the players and coaches," this week as they waited to find out their fate, not knowing if there would be a game. Suspensions were part of that wait, but when Navarro walked off the field Saturday there was a feeling of a new start.
The victory helped, and Bishop's big play was nothing short of inspiring.
The Bulldogs just couldn't seem to run away from A&T, which closed to within one-point three times (20-19, 27-26, 34-33) and closed to six points (47-41) with 11:52 left in the game.
But Navarro took over down the stretch, extending the lead when Brandon Theus ran for his third touchdown of the day -- a 3-yarder with 7:34 left that gave Navarro a 53-41 lead.
Then freshman quarterback Dodge Delozier connected with Shadeed Ahmed on a two-point conversion pass to give the Dawgs a 14-point cushion at 55-41.
They were breathing a little easier with a two-touchdown lead, and then Bishop took everyone's breath away at Tiger Stadium with his 101-yard return.
Suddenly it was a 62-41 ball game.
The Dawgs tacked on another TD when Keaton Dudik scored on a 34-yard run with 1:57 left to finish off a game the Dawgs needed to win to begin to move on.
Delozier, a freshman backup who saw action earlier this year when Parker McNeil was out with a rub injury, took over for McNeil and played the second half. He threw two TD passes to Devin Morrison -- a 28-yarder that gave the Dawgs a 41-33 lead at the end of the third, and a 22-yarder that lifted Navarro to a 47-33 lead with 13:42 left in the game.
McNeil, the NJCAA's leading quarterback, started and burned A&T deep twice in the opening minutes, hitting Ahmed with a 63-yard TD pass on Navarro's second play of the game, and with a 61-yard TD pass to Tru Edwards to complete a four-play, 75-yard drive with 8:53 left in the first quarter.
Mason Kinsey returned a fumble 34 yards for a 20-6 lead with 5:35 left in the first, but A&T stormed back and closed to 20-19 with 40 seconds left in the quarter.
Theus scored on a 32-yard run, but A&T came right back to trail by one again at 27-26. Theus scored on a 13-yard run with 6:13 left in the half, and the Dawgs led 34-26 at the break.
McNeil finished his day, hitting 14-of-18 passes for 273 yards and two TDs in the first half, and things felt right again after last week's struggle against NEO, which held him to 214 yards on 17-of-42 passing. NEO held McNeil to 160 yards in the air in last year's 10-9 victory.
But McNeil and the rest of the Bulldogs came back with a win on the field and took the fist steps back to restore the image of the program, which has been one of the best in the NJCAA for years.