ORANGE, Calif. – It was a tale of two halves at Wilson Field on Saturday as the Chapman University football team took its first loss on the season, dropping a 21-17 decision to the Redlands Bulldogs. Despite holding a 10 point lead heading into the final quarter, the Panthers gave up 14 unanswered points as their record-tying five-game winning streak came to an end.
Averaging 52.8 points per game entering Saturday's contest, Chapman (5-1 overall, 3-1 SCIAC) was frustrated by a Bulldogs defense that had allowed less than 13 points per game in their first four SCIAC matchups. Redlands' defensive attack got better as the game carried on, finishing with a late interception of a pass by junior QB Michael Lahey that sealed the victory for the Bulldogs, their seventh straight over Chapman.
The Panthers started the game in unfamiliar territory, trailing for the first time this season after a 6 minute, 45 second Redlands drive ended with a 2-yd. touchdown run by RB Bobby Brown, the first of his game-high two scores.
Chapman's early struggles were not limited to the defensive side of the ball, as the offense failed to score on their first two drives and the special teams unit had a punt attempt blocked. The Panthers caught a lucky break, however, as the Bulldogs drove deep into their territory before K Kevin Grady missed a 23-yd. field goal attempt, swinging the momentum back towards Chapman.
Trailing 7-0 despite Lahey completing seven of his first eight passes, the Panthers changed the pace by attacking the Bulldogs between the tackles. The move paid off as Chapman drove 83 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at on a 2-yd. touchdown run by junior RB Terrell Dolberry. The Panthers racked up 75 rushing yards on the drive with 10 of the 11 plays being designed run plays.
The Chapman defense responded with a supportive stand, forcing consecutive 3-and-outs thagt gave Lahey and the offense a short field to work with in the 90 seconds before halftime. The Panthers needed only 58 seconds to take the lead as their 57-yd. drive ended with a 15-yd touchdown from Lahey to senior WR Robin Harris that boosted the Panthers lead to 14-7.
After exchanging punts to open the half, Chapman broke through the Bulldogs defense as a 47-yd. run by Dolberry set up a 35-yd. field goal from K Markus Trujillo. The field goal by Trujillo proved to be the final points for Chapman as the fourth quarter belonged to the Bulldogs.
Redlands opened the final quarter by capping off an 79-yd. touchdown drive with another 2-yd. touchdown run by Brown. Two possessions later, trailing 17-14 with 7:34 left in the game, the Bulldogs put together a methodical 80-yd. drive that ended with a 1-yd. rushing touchdown by RB Curtis Tanquary.
Chapman had two opportunities in the final 4:43, but failed to move the ball into Bulldogs territory and found itself second in the conference standings when the clock hit zero.
While the Panthers were unable to match the offensive output they produced in their first five games, they were reliable as ever in the red zone, scoring on all three opportunities (two touchdowns, one field goal) to stay a perfect 31-for-31 on the season with 27 touchdowns. Chapman is the only college football program in the nation, across all divisions, to post a perfect mark in the red zone (min. 15 tries).
Lahey finished the contest completing 19-of-30 passes for 135 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Panthers leading rusher on the night was RB Cody Chapple, who tallied 86 yards on 16 carries.
by Ryan Cavinder
Sports Information Assistant