SCIAC title eludes Chapman with 38-28 loss to Cal Lu
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – With the SCIAC championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs on the line, California Lutheran University ran off 24-straight second half points and secured a 38-28 win over the Chapman University football team on Saturday afternoon at Rolland Stadium. Chapman finished the season at 6-3 and in third in the SCIAC, its best season since 2007. Cal Lutheran has now won four-straight SCIAC titles with perfect conference records in each season, a string of 27 conference wins.
Cal Lutheran controlled the game from that point on with 24-straight points and held Chapman scoreless until the last minute of the game. On the next drive with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter, Cal Lutheran evened the score at 21-21 when senior QB Zach Shultis connected with senior WR Donald Senegal for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
In the fourth quarter, Cal Lutheran put the game away and outscored Chapman 17-7. After Chapman drove into Cal Lutheran territory, its drive came up empty after a failed fourth down conversion on the 36-yard line. Cal Lutheran then marched 64 yards in eight plays and the duo of Shultis and Senegal connected again to give Cal Lutheran the lead for good at 28-21, this time on an 11-yard strike. After a Chapman fumble on its 15-yard line on the ensuing kickoff, Cal Lutheran pushed its lead to 31-21 with a 30-yard field goal by junior K David Sandler with 10:16 remaining in the game.
Chapman had a touchdown by sophomore RB Jeremiah McKibbins taken off the scoreboard on its next possession on what began as a promising drive after a holding call that essentially ended its drive. Three plays later, all runs, Cal Lutheran made it 38-21 with 2:58 left in the game when freshman RB Romello Goodman scored on a 34-yard run. Goodman had 161 yards rushing on 22 carries for Cal Lutheran. With 40 seconds remaining in the game, McKibbins punched in a 1-yard touchdown run and capped off a two touchdown, 194 yard day.
On its opening possession of the game, Cal Lutheran (8-1, 7-0) marched 68 yards to take a 7-0 lead at the 11:39 mark of the first quarter. After Goodman set the score up with a 43-yard run, Shultis hit senior WR Eric Rogers on a 3-yard pass for the first score of the game. It is just the second time this season that an opponent has scored first against Chapman. Rogers who was held to just three catches in the first half, ended his day with 11 catches for 132 yards and two scores.
After two unsuccessful drives on its first two possessions, Chapman scored on its third possession to even the score. Behind the running of senior RB Al White and McKibbins, Chapman moved the ball 80 yards on nine plays capped off by a 17-yard touchdown from Hunter to Harris with 3:27 in the first quarter. On the drive, McKibbins and White accounted for 63 of the team's 80 yards with McKibbins breaking off runs of 29 yards and 12 yards. White had 76 yards rushing for Chapman
After a punt, Chapman moved the ball to the Cal Lu 28-yard line but came up empty on the drive when senior K Mauricio Alfonso's 44-yard field goal missed wide right with 10:04 in the second quarter. Chapman got the ball right back when senior DB Cameron Cutter came up with his fifth interception of the season, this one ended Cal Lu's drive at Chapman's 18-yard line with 8:15 left in the second quarter.
Cutter's interception put the ball back in the hands of the Chapman offense which racked up 347 yards rushing and 524 yards of total offense in the game. After Cutter's interception, Chapman strung together a 13-play, 82-yard scoring drive which gave the team a 14-7 lead with 2:49 remaining in the first half. On the drive, Chapman ran the ball 12 times as McKibbins capped off the drive with a 2-yard run to make the score 14-7 Chapman with 2:49 remaining in the half. Cal Lu had an opportunity to even the score on its last drive of the first half but a last-ditch effort to score came up just a few yards short to end the half at 14-7.
Cutter had a team-high nine tackles for Chapman along with junior LB Wade Minshew while Cal Lutheran senior DB Broc Galbreth and junior DB Derrick Romo each had 17 tackles.
by Chris Watts
Sports Information Assistant