The 20th-ranked TVCC Cardinals came alive in the second half Saturday at Bruce Field to open the season with a 36-10 win against New Mexico Military Institute in a Southwest Junior College Football Conference opener.
After trailing 10-6 at the half, the Cardinals rode the arm of quarterback Jeremy Hunt and a no-nonsense defense to reel off 30 unanswered points in the final two quarters.
In his first game as a Cardinal, Hunt connected on 27-of-40 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
He did not play favorites slinging the ball around, completing passes to 14 different receivers.
Bernard Dankyi led the Cards in rushing with 44 yards on 11 carries while Zion Hester had 39 yards on six carries with a touchdown.
The Cardinal defense pitched a shutout in the second half, allowing just two first downs and 21 yards.
Joren Dickey led the defensive effort with nine tackles.
Sheadrick Green and Race Moser had eight each. Dickey and Green also had one sack each, as did Keshawn Jackson and Cody Davis.
The Cardinal defense also came up with a turnover that led to a score when Jaeden Ward recovered a fumble.
Eddie Godina provided the first nine Cardinal points, booting field goals of 31, 37 and 46 yards.
The Cardinals took the lead for good with 5:29 left in the third quarter on a 12-yard pass from Hunt to Jamon Mack.
The touchdown put the Cardinals in front, 15-10.
The Cardinals are scheduled to be at home Saturday against Tyler (1-1). Game time at Bruce Field is 7 p.m.