SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A late lead was erased and overcome in overtime as the Chapman University football team dropped a 41-35 heartbreaker at Trinity. The Tigers (2-1) returned a fumble for a touchdown in overtime to clinch the victory.
Through three quarters, Chapman (0-2) looked to be in complete control. The Panthers scored on their first drive, needing just five plays to travel 75 yards before senior Joe Mudie scored from two yards out. After a game-tying drive from the Tigers, senior Jacob Isabel took the ensuing kickoff back 96 yards for another touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
The Panthers went up 21-7 on another two-yard score. Sophomore Jake Newman ran the ball in for the score. Senior Dominic Vaccher later caught the first of two long scores for the Panthers for a 28-21 lead that the Panthers carried into halftime. Vaccher found himself all alone behind the Tiger defense as senior Ricky Bautista floated in the easy pass to let Vaccher walk into the end zone.
Bautista had a huge game, throwing for 374 yards on 24-of-39 passing with a pair of TDs. Vaccher hauled in 11 of those passes for 144 yards. Isabel had 109 yards receiving on just four catches and Bautista found six more receivers with at least one pass. Mudie had 98 yards on the ground on 15 carries.
The scoring slowed down in the third quarter as the Panther defense held Trinity scoreless, allowing just 37 total yards. Bautista found Isabel for a 57-yard pass that pushed the Panthers to a 35-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The quarter opened with Chapman getting a big turnover on downs inside the five-yard line but Trinity scored on its next drive to move back within a score at 35-28 with 7:38 to go.
Chapman's offense began to methodically move the ball down the field while running the clock down. The Panthers used mostly the ground game to cover 48 yards over seven plays and 3:44 of clock time. As Newman gained another first down for the Panthers, the ball was popped loose by a Tiger defender and Trinity pounced on it with 3:54 remaining on their own 27.
The Panthers defense pushed the Tigers back and brought up fourth-and-14 after senior Derek Hart came up with a sack on third down. The Tigers next play was well short of the first down marker but a horse collar penalty gave Trinity a first down and Jay Foster took a screen pass 49 yards on the next play to tie the game at 35-35 with 2:33 to go.
Chapman's offense used almost every tick of the clock to drive down the field and set up a 27-yard field goal with nine seconds left. The Tigers rushed in and blocked the kick to force overtime. Chapman's defense came up big in the extra period and forced the Tigers back a yard.
Trinity's field goal try from 43 yards out sailed left. Chapman took over on the 25 needing just a field goal to win it but the Tigers brought pressure on Bautista on the first play and forced a fumble that bounced over to the sideline. Trinity's Mitchell Globe scooped up the loose ball and won the foot race to the end zone to complete the Tigers comeback.
The two teams were equally potent offensively as Chapman gained 508 yards compared to Trinity's 507 yards. Junior Noah Doneen led the defense with nine tackles.
The Panthers remain on the road as they head into the SCIAC schedule next week at Pomona-Pitzer.