ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) — Eric Powell scored on a 90-yard fumble return, Donald Johnson returned a kickoff 86 yards for a score and Mississippi Valley State earned its first win of the season, beating Virginia-Lynchburg 31-23 on Saturday.
The Delta Devils (1-4) jumped out to a 7-0 first-quarter lead over the Dragons, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, when Dejerric Bryant connected with Jarius Clayton for a 27-yard touchdown. John Derrick Smith had a 4-yard TD run early in the second quarter and Hayden Schuster added a 27-yard field goal to put MVSU up 17-0.
The Dragons pulled with 17-14 early in the second half, but Powell pushed the Delta Devils' lead back to 10 with his fumble-return score. Virginia-Lynchburg scored on Dale Simmons' 10-yard interception return, but Brayden Taylor missed the extra-point kick and the Dragons trailed 24-20.
Johnson delivered the game's biggest blow when he returned the ensuing kickoff for a TD and a 31-20 lead with 12:37 left in the game. Taylor added a 28-yard field goal on the Dragons' next possession, but they would get no closer.
Bryant completed just 6 of 21 passes for 38 yards, but he ran for a game-high 109 yards on 14 carries.