Football faces top-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in first round

Photo by Larry Newman
Photo by Larry Newman

NCAA First Round
Chapman at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Crusader Stadium
10 a.m. (PST)
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• Chapman won its second SCIAC title to advance into the NCAA Division III Football Championship. The Panthers travel to Belton, Texas to take on No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor in the first round of the national tournament. The Cru, who won the 2016 national title, went undefeated at 10-0 and won the American Southwest Conference.
 
• Chapman won the SCIAC championship for the second time since joining the conference in 2012, tying for the most titles in the span. Since Chapman joined the SCIAC only Redlands has joined the Panthers in winning multiple titles. The Bulldogs won in 2013 and 2016 while the Panthers won in 2014 and 2017.
 
• UMHB is the top-ranked team in the nation in both the AFCA and the D3football.com polls. After going 15-0 last year and winning the national title, the Cru ran the table again this year. It averages over 41 points per game while leading all of Division III in allowing just over eight points per game defensively. UMHB allows just 49.2 rush yards per game while teams that enter the red zone score under 40 percent of the time.
 
• Offensively, the Cru ranks 14th in scoring at 41 points per game. The defense has contributed seven touchdowns on turnovers this season, which leads the nation. Markeith Miller averages nearly six yards per carry and has scored 11 times on the ground. Bryce Wilkerson has been the favorite target of Cru QBs this year, averaging 4.4 receptions per game. Wilkerson has also returned two kickoffs and a punt for TDs this year.
 
• Chapman's explosive offense ranks 28th in the nation in scoring at just less than 39 points per game. The Panthers have had 12 plays over 50 yards this year with six different players making those plays. Joe Mudie and Jacob Isabel each have four offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Isabel has made nine catches for over 30 yards while Mudie has six runs and a reception for over 30 yards. Nine different players have combined for 31 explosive plays over 30 yards in the Panthers' eight games.
 
• Quarterback Ricky Bautista and wide receiver Jacob Isabel have led one of the greatest passing seasons in Chapman football history. Both have already set single season records for passing (23) and receiving (10) TDs, respectively. Both are also on pace to break yards per game records for a single season and in a career. Bautista can also break the school record for passing efficiency, which stands at 180.0 currently. He currently sits at 185.7 passing efficiency.
 
• Bautista ranks third in the nation in completing 70 percent of his passes. His 185.7 passing efficiency ranks fourth. Isabel ranks 11th in DIII with 178.5 all-purpose yards per game and ninth with over 120 receiving yards per game.
 
• Mudie will face one the stingiest run defenses in Division III but the Panthers' senior running back ranks 10th in the country in yards per carry at 7.43 yards. He has over 100 yards of total offense in each of the Panthers' eight games this year.
 
• In the trenches, Chapman led the SCIAC in both sacks per game and sacks allowed this season. Chapman's 23 sacks were the most of any SCIAC defense while the average of 2.88 sacks per game ranks in the top-50 in Division III. The offensive line gave up just 10 sacks in eight games.