For the fourth year in a row, the Chapman football team lost against Linfield College. Despite forcing four turnovers and going into halftime with the lead, Chapman fell to the No. 7 nationally ranked Linfield Wildcats 27-12 Sept. 9.
Linfield kicked off the first quarter of the game with a touchdown and a successful field goal, but Chapman came back with a series of scores in the second quarter. Despite losing junior defensive back Trevor Ross, who was immediately ejected for targeting a Linfield player, Chapman outscored Linfield 12-3 in the second quarter.
Chapman’s first score was set up by a special teams error by Linfield. A fumble from a punt by Linfield freshman wide receiver Tyler Torgerson allowed Chapman to set up on the Linfield 16-yard line, and junior running back Marcellus Hunter scored Chapman’s first touchdown, which was followed by a blocked extra point.
Chapman followed up its first score later in the quarter, as senior running back Joe Mudie found a big hole on the left side of the offensive line and ran 60 yards down to Linfield’s 3-yard line. Senior quarterback Ricky Bautista found junior tight end Jacob Chobanian wide open in the end zone on the next play, giving Chapman a 12-7 lead.
Mudie said his run was thanks to the number of running holes created by the offensive line.
“That first half, there was a lot of running holes for me and all the running backs,” Mudie said. “The inside zone was working really well, so to have a run like that was exciting for me,” he said.
Despite four turnovers from Linfield, Chapman failed to score again in the game.
Head coach Bob Owens said that Chapman broke down in the second half when it allowed a 48-yard touchdown, which changed the game.
“The first guy to make a mistake was going to give the other team an advantage and unfortunately it was us,” Owens said. “They came out in the second half and had one big drive and one big play and that kind of changed the course of the game.”
The performance echoed a similar result in 2014, when Chapman went up 14-7 in the first half against Linfield, but ended up losing 21-14.
Owens also highlighted Chapman’s four forced turnovers.
“This is probably the first time we’ve had as many turnovers as we’ve had on that team (Linfield),” he said.
Senior defensive lineman Austin Pyka credited the team’s turnovers to its hard work in practice on what the team calls “turnover Thursday.”
“The defensive line practices ‘turnover Thursday,’” Pyka said. “If there’s a turnover, you sprint (to) the ball, you block a guy and then the secondary has to try to capitalize on it.”
Owens said that the home-opener was helpful for self-evaluation.
“It gives us a chance to evaluate ourselves and make the corrections,” Owens said. “(We’ve got to) play fast, play big and play physical as each game goes on.”