REDLANDS, Calif. – The Chapman University football team came crashing back to Earth on Saturday night, suffering a lopsided 32-13 loss to host University of Redlands at Ted Runner Stadium. The Panthers' three-game winning streak came to an end and hopes for their first SCIAC championship took a big hit in a game marred by five Chapman turnovers and three quarterback sacks.
The Bulldogs also continued their mastery of Chapman with their sixth straight win against the Panthers and improved to 13-3-1 all-time in the series.
Redlands (3-3 overall, 3-1 SCIAC) turned an otherwise pedestrian 17-7 lead in the fourth quarter into a blowout with a pair of touchdowns, including a pick-six by senior DB Scott Payton who went 25 yards to the endzone and gave the Bulldogs a 32-7 lead with 7:29 remaining. Just 27 seconds earlier, Redlands scored its first touchdown since the first quarter when freshman RB Curtis Tanquary capped a four-play, 55-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring run to give the Bulldogs some insurance.
Chapman's defense had held Redlands at bay during the second and third quarters, limiting it to just a pair of field goals, but the Panthers' normally efficient offense was anything but, scoring just once in its first 16 possessions in the game. In fact, in its first three possessions the Panthers turned the ball over all three times, two interceptions and one fumble, resulting in the first Redlands touchdown.
The Bulldogs were quite charitable themselves tossing a pair of interceptions in their first two possessions in what was a very sloppy first 5 minutes of play.
Ranked No. 17 in the nation in total offense, Chapman (4-2 overall, 3-1 SCIAC) finally started to look the part at the end of the first quarter when the Panthers orchestrated a 13-play, 86-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown run by junior RB Kyle White with 2:29 left in the quarter. That play tied the score at 7, but it was short-lived as Redlands responded with a 93-yard touchdown return by senior RB Brad Cristany on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Bulldogs the lead for good 14-7. For good measure, Cristany finished with 209 yards rushing on 33 carries.
Through the middle quarters, Chapman's offense was again stagnant and held off the scoreboard until the 5:35 mark in the fourth quarter when senior WR Kali'i Kunitomo caught a 21-yard pass from freshman QB Andrew Chavez for a touchdown, making it 32-13 in favor of Redlands. The Panthers, who ranked No. 5 in the nation in QB sacks allowed with just two in their first five games, allowed three in this game alone.
Senior RB Al White, getting the bulk of the carries for Chapman in place of the injured Jeremiah McKibbins, ran 31 times for a career-high 121 yards. And junior WR Robin Harris made eight catches for 80 yards for the Panthers.
The Chapman defense made some big plays with interceptions from junior DB Cameron Cutter (second straight game), junior DB Josh Irvin (third of the season) and junior LB Steven Santana. Meanwhile, senior LB Kellen Matsuno recovered a fumble and led the Panthers with 18 tackles on the night.
Chapman falls into a tie for second place with Redlands and La Verne in the conference standings while Cal Lutheran sits alone at the top. The Panthers will host La Verne next Saturday at Ernie Chapman Stadium at 7 p.m. in their 2012 home finale.