ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University football team finished off a perfect SCIAC season with a 48-38 win over visiting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Panthers (6-2, 6-0 SCIAC) completed their second undefeated conference season in school history with win and will head to the NCAA Division III Football Championship on a six-game win streak.
The offense once again lit up the scoreboard with a season-high 48 points. Chapman scored at least 40 points in five of its six games during the SCIAC season. This time, the Panthers did it with the running game. They ran for 312 yards and scored six times on the ground.
Four different Panthers scored a rushing TD seniors Joe Mudie and Ricky Bautista each finding the end zone twice. Bautista also threw for a touchdown. Mudie had 98 rushing yards on 12 carries while Bautista needed just six carries to go 93 yards. Senior Diano Pachote carried the ball six times for 61 yards and his first career rushing touchdown. Junior Marcellus Hunter had nine carries for 49 yards and the first TD of the game.
Senior Jacob Isabel hauled in his school record 10th touchdown catch of the year, while Bautista increased his single season school record to 23 TD passes this year. Isabel had four catches for 129 yards.
After both teams came up empty on their initial drives, Pachote set the tone for the offense with a 25-yard run in the middle of a seven-play drive that put the Panthers inside the CMS 30. Hunter ran for 13 yards and then scored from 14 yards out to put Chapman on the board.
CMS responded when Jake Norville scored from six yards out but the Panthers put up 21 points in the second quarter to take a lead they would not relinquish. Pachote accounted for 27 yards of a three-play, 32-yard drive that finished with his 14-yard TD run.
Senior Derek Hart forced a fumble on the next drive with freshman Dillon Keefe jumping on it to give the Panthers the ball back. Bautista hit senior Jacob Isabel for a 57-yard touchdown strike two plays later to make it 21-7.
Keefe led the Panthers defense with nine tackle\s, including two sacks. Keefe and senior Andrew Dieken each had three tackles for loss to lead a push that resulted in 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for the Panthers. Chapman's offensive line did not allow a sack and only four tackles for loss.
Another three-and-out forced by the defense was followed by a five-play drive that ended with Bautista's two-yard scamper into the end zone. Bautista hit senior Corbin Cofer on a 29-yard pass earlier in the drive that put Chapman on the one-yard line.
CMS scored just before halftime to make it 28-14 at the break. The Stags would not go quietly, driving 65 yards on their opening drive of the second half to pull within seven. The Stags forced a Chapman punt started their next drive with a 38 yard pass that put them right back in striking distance. The defense stiffened up and forced a 43-yard field goal that kept CU in front 28-24.
Bautista found himself scrambling just two plays into the next drive but made one defender miss, then another and then another. He scrambled 67 yards and stretched for the pylon as he neared the goal line to put Chapman back up by two possessions, 35-24.
The defense forced another CMS punt and Mudie capped the next drive with a five-yard score. CMS pulled back within 10 points before Mudie's 24-yard TD run made it 48-31 with just under three minutes to go.
The Stags racked up 302 passing yards on 21-of-30 passing. Bautista was 9-of-17 for 144 yards but junior Dominic Vaccher hit Isabel on a trick play for 35 yards to add to the Chapman passing total.
Isabel totaled over 100 receiving yards for the fifth game in a row and 10th time in his career – the most in school history. Mudie popped off a 33-yard run that looked destined for the end zone but was saved by a shoestring tackle, making it the fifth game this season that he has had a run for longer than 30 yards.
The Panthers have a bye next week with next week's scheduled game against Occidental cancelled by the Tigers. Chapman has punched its ticket to the postseason. The NCAA selection show will air on NCAA.com on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.