Cougars' ground game spoils Chapman home debut

More news about: Chapman

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University football team couldn't keep the powerful Azusa Pacific rushing game down for long. The visiting Cougars exploded for 241 second-half rushing yards – 403 yards on the ground in all – and defeated the Panthers 35-17 in Chapman's 2010 home opener at Ernie Chapman Stadium on Saturday night.

Azusa Pacific (4-0) opened up a slim 21-17 halftime lead with two second-half rushing touchdowns from junior QB John van den Raad. Both scores came via the big play with van den Raad breaking off runs of 50 and 77 yards in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. All five of the Cougars' touchdowns came on the ground. Azusa Pacific gained 485 yards of total offense.

After Chapman took a brief lead 17-14 in the second quarter, Azusa Pacific responded with 21 unanswered points. The Cougars took a four-point lead into the locker room following a 13-play, 77-yard scoring drive near the end of the first half. That scoring drive was capped by a 7-yard van den Raad touchdown. The APU quarterback finished with 162 yards rushing and three scores.

During a busy first quarter, Chapman found itself down 14-3 in the first 9 minutes of play. The Panthers had scored on their first drive of the game, getting a 35-yard field goal from sophomore K Mauricio Alfonso to go up 3-0. But Johnell Murphy rushed for touchdowns in each of APU's next two possessions to give the Cougars the early lead. Murphy carried the ball 28 times for 206 yards.

However, the Panthers' offense – most notably senior WR Chris Langstaff – responded in a big way. First, Chapman drove 73 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Langstaff from junior QB Bret Visciglia to cut the lead to 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter it was Langstaff again. This time, junior QB DeShawn Wilkins connected with the senior wideout on a 72-yard touchdown pass to give Chapman a 17-14 advantage. Langstaff had 148 yards in the first half alone and finished with six receptions for a career-high 152 yards.

The Panthers got the ball back once more in the half, trailing 21-17 and Wilkins led the offense 64 yards in just 1:31 off the clock, but could not get into field goal range before time expired in the first half.

Visciglia and Wilkins combined to throw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, sharing time under center. Wilkins also rushed for 39 yards in the option role. Senior RB Akio Lloyd rushed for 77 yards for Chapman and is just 103 yards shy of 1,000 for his career.

Chapman, which had gained 275 yards in the first half, was limited to just 69 yards in the second.

Sophomore LB Kellen Matsuno led Chapman with 14 tackles, including a quarterback sack. The Panthers' defense held Azusa Pacific – which had been averaging 49 points per game in its first three games – to a season-low 35 points.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director