Football forces four turnovers but falls to No. 7 Linfield

Austin Pyka (Photo by Larry Newman)
Austin Pyka (Photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University football team took a lead into halftime but fell 27-12 to the seventh-ranked Linfield College Wildcats in Chapman Stadium on Sunday. The Panthers forced four turnovers in the game but were held scoreless in the second half.

Linfield struck first with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Troy Fowler to JD Lasswell in the first quarter but the Panthers dominated the scoreboard in the second. Chapman's first score was set up by its second interception of the night when junior Alex Bae brought down Fowler's pass at the 33-yard line.

Chapman went three-and-out following the interception but sophomore Elias Deeb's punt was mishandled and Ricky Medeiros scooped up the fumble inside the Linfield 20. After a pair of Linfield penalties helped keep the drive alive, junior Marcellus Hunter leaped over the pile and tumbled into the end zone for the Panthers' first score and his first in a Chapman uniform.

The Panthers and Wildcats traded punts over the next few drives but senior Jacob Isabel broke off a 21-yard return to swing the field position battle. On the next play, senior Joe Mudie found a big hole on the left side of the line and sprinted 60 yards down the sideline to the Wildcats' three yard line.

Senior Ricky Bautista found junior Jacob Chobanian in the back of the end zone on the very next play for a three-yard TD that gave Chapman a 12-7. Linfield responded with a big kick return and a field goal in the waning moments of the first half.

Chapman was held scoreless in the second half while Linfield found scored 10 in the third and added a touchdown in the fourth. The Wildcats opened the second half with another field goal to immediately retake the lead.

After another Deeb punt, Linfield looked to be bound for the end zone but junior Marek Spooner-LeDuff snatched Chapman's third interception of the night to stop the Wildcats drive in the red zone. Chapman was unable to convert the turnover into points and Linfield found the end zone on their next drive to make it 20-12.

Fowler and Lasswell hooked up for a second touchdown in the fourth on a 48-yard pass that made it a 27-12 game.

Sophomore Cesar Delgado was the first Panther to pick off a pass when he ended Linfield's first drive with an interception near midfield. Senior Austin Pyka led the Panthers with 10 tackles, including one and a half tackles for loss.

Dawson Ruhl rushed for 88 yards as Linfield had 217 rushing yards as a team. Fowler threw for 159 yards on 13-of-20 passing with two picks and two TDs.

Mudie ran for 88 yards on the night and was not tackled behind the line of scrimmage in eight attempts. Bautista threw for 162 yards on 20-of-29 passing and found nine different receivers.

The Panthers are off next week but travel to Texas on Sep. 23 to take on Trinity.


by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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