WHITTIER, Calif. – Chapman University returned the favor from a year ago as they spoiled the Whittier football team's Homecoming game with a 29-17 win at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of over 2500.
The Poets (1-4) got down early and never recovered as Chapman (2-3) scored on its opening possession. The purple and gold trailed by two scores before a Kimball Tillman 28-yard scoring run made the count 14-7 with 5:57 left in the half.
The Panthers extended their lead to as many as 19 points with 3:25 left in the game before Josh Ollison pulled a 22-yard scoring strike in the final two minutes of the game.
Chapman's opening drive went 65 yards in 12 plays and was capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Bret Visciglia to Mike Lambesis.
The Panthers capitalized on a missed 25-yard field goal from Eric Cejudo and pushed its lead to 14-0 after an 11-play, 80-yard, drive that took 5:17. Michael Lahey finished the scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Whittier responded on its ensuing possession and need only four plays to cut the deficit to 14-7. Tillman's fifth rushing touchdown of the year was the fourth play of the 62-yard drive.
After Chapman added three points on a 39-yard field the Poets threatened on its final drive of the half. Whittier broke deep into Panther territory on a 23-yard screen pass to Marcus Langkilde but holding negated the big play.
On the next snap, Alesana Sausau pass down the sideline for Oreese Hoyes was picked off by Peter Antone.
Cejudo pulled the Poets within one possession on Whittier's second drive of the third quarter with a 22-yard field goal but Chapman answered with a scoring drive of its own. Al White ran it in from 42 yards out to put the Panthers up 24-10. The scoring run capped a 5-play, 57-yard, drive.
The Poets caught a bad break when a long snap went out of the back of the endzone to give Chapman a free two points and off the free kick the Panthers added three more on a 37-yard field goal.
Whittier took possession and drive 78 yards in 1:22 to pull within 12 points. Ollison's scoring grab came on a 4th-and-18.
Needing the ball back the Poets recovered the onside kick but were whistled for a false start. The second attempt wasn't as successful and went out of bounds to the Panthers.
Chapman outrushed the Poets 217-206 and had an overall advantage in total yards at 363-316.
Sausau finished 6-of-14 for 110 yards and one touchdown. Tillman ran for a team-high 86 yards and Ollison was the top receiver with 65 yards on three catches.
Aaron Alonzo totaled a game-high nine tackles which includes 1.5 for loss while Tyson Schilling recorded a sack.
The Poets return to action next weekend as they hit the road to face Claremont-M-S at 1 pm.