ORANGE, Calif. – The offense continued to roll with big plays as the Chapman University football team took down La Verne 38-21 to win its fourth game in a row. Senior Ricky Bautista complted over 70 percent of his passes for the fourth week in a row and senior Joe Mudie had a career-best 166 yards on the ground.
The Panthers (4-2, 4-0 SCIAC) exploded for 500 total yards against the Leopards for their fourth 500-plus yard game of the season while the defense allowed just 311 total yards - its lowest yardage and point total allowed this season. Bautista threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns, including a 53-yard toss to senior Kayvan Aminzadeh.
La Verne took the first lead of the game late in the first quarter. Junior Josh Evans found senior Russell Boucher for a 28-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes left to play in the quarter. Bautista got the ball back and led the Panthers downfield for a 5-play, 55-yard drive that ended with senior Lucas Alfonso putting up a field goal to get Chapman on the board with a few seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Senior Joe Mudie took the offensive reigns in the second quarter, running for a career-high 74-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 10-9 heading into the second half. He rushed for 166 yards on 15 carries for his fourth 100-plus yard game in a row.
Chapman hit its stride heading into the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns to extend its lead. The first to come was Bautista's 53-yard bomb to Aminzadeh just over three minutes into the second half. A three-and-out for the Leopards gave the ball right back to the Panthers.
Senior Jacob Isabel returned Boucher's 48-yard punt for 26 yards to put Chapman on La Verne's 29-yard line. Three plays later, Bautista found senior Diano Pachotefor a 5-yard touchdown to extend the Panthers' lead to 24-9.
La Verne found the end zone with just over three minutes left to play in the third when senior Robert Fernandez ran for a 2-yard touchdown to pull the Leopards within nine.
The Panthers struck back on the next drive when Isabel found a gap in the defense and took off running for a 48-yard touchdown to put Chapman up 31-15 with just over a minute left to play in the third quarter. Isabel hauled in 10 catches for 171 yards. With 21 punt return yards and 35 yard on kick returns, Isabel had his third game of the season with over 200 all-purpose yards.
Mudie wasn't done racking up the yards after the third quarter, rushing for a 26-yard touchdown with four and a half minutes left to play in the game. La Verne's last-ditch effort resulted in a late touchdown run from sophomore Matthew Simko, but the Panthers got the ball back on offense and finished out the game strong to remain undefeated in SCIAC play.
Chapman's defense was hard at work throughout the game, recording eight tackles for a loss of 34 yards. Sophomores Ricky Medeiros and Jonathan Bunnel led the push for the Panthers, each recording two tackles for a loss and a sack. Junior Curt Calomeni tallied 10 total tackles for his second 10-plus tackle game of the season.
Chapman returns home on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and can clinch at least a share of the SCIAC title with a win over Cal Lutheran.