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With Robinson Healthy Again, Chapman Rolls

October 09, 1994|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

AZUSA — Curtis Robinson's little victory was overshadowed by the bigger one he engineered for Chapman--59-18 over Azusa Pacific in front of 2,633 Saturday afternoon here--but it was just as important to the Panthers.

Robinson rushed for 169 yards and three first-half touchdowns, and passed for 183 yards and two second-half scores, but for Chapman Coach Ken Visser, it was another statistic that stood out.

"Having Curtis Robinson for a whole game," Visser said. "It was good to see Curtis play the whole game."

Actually, Robinson didn't play the entire game, but at least this time Visser got to choose when to pull his quarterback, namely after the Panthers had taken a 42-11 lead with 12 minutes 55 seconds left to play.

Last week, Robinson didn't make it out of the first quarter against Redlands. He was poked in the eye while being pulled down by his facemask and couldn't return because of seriously blurred vision.

The week before against Claremont-Mudd, he was sidelined with a separated shoulder, which was injured on the Panthers' second play from scrimmage in the season opener against Whittier. Despite the injury, he managed 272 yards total offense, two touchdowns rushing and two passing in the 30-13 victory.

So Saturday marked the first time Robinson has been able to make it out of the opening quarter without being injured.

Although Visser admitted to being worried about Robinson's health early in the game--especially because backup Todd Gragnano's injured finger had limited him to being available only in an emergency--but Robinson said he wasn't bothered by such thoughts.

He also said he wasn't dwelling on the homecoming aspect of the game--the Azusa Pacific stadium is within view of the Citrus stadium where he played the past two years--or the fact that about 20 friends and family were watching from the stands.

Robinson, playing with a shield on his facemask, said he was concentrating on business.

"It's nice to come back so close to the junior college where I played, but I just expect to dominate every game," Robinson said. "It looked a lot easier than it was. They played hard but we just were able to get the big plays when we needed them."

Chapman (3-0-1) also took advantage of extremely favorable field position and took leads of 21-0 and 28-3 before going ahead, 28-11, at the half.

The Panthers first took possession at the Azusa Pacific 34 after a 14-yard punt. A Robinson screen pass to Darnell Morgan that went for a touchdown was called back for holding, but Robinson went around end on the option for 21 yards on the next play, setting up a two-yard dive by Morgan for a 7-0 lead with 12:27 left in the first quarter.

About eight minutes later, after getting the ball at the Azusa 42, Robinson ran around his right end for a 39-yard touchdown. Then after Jim Perez blocked an Azusa punt, Robinson led a 24-yard drive that he finished with a one-yard dive for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

Robinson's final rushing touchdown was spectacular. On second and nine from the 19, he called a quarterback draw, broke outside and ran 81 yards for the score.

Azusa Pacific (1-4), shut down from the start on the ground, had to go to the air to move the ball. Freshman quarterback Ben Focke, who passed for 202 yards with one interception, cut the lead to 28-11 with a nine-yard scoring pass to D.J. Williams with seven seconds left in the half.

Robinson, who completed nine of 18 passes with one interception, opened the second half by hitting Darnell Rubin with a 50-yard scoring pass. Then he completed a pass to Oscar Ford at the line of scrimmage and Ford took care of most of the 67-yard touchdown himself for the 42-11 lead with 12:55 remaining.

After Azusa Pacific cut it to 45-18 on a 57-yard pass play from Jim Lujan to Williams, reserve quarterback Jacob Galasso scored from one yard with 5:43 left. On the next play from scrimmage, defensive lineman Jim Ahern finished the Panthers' scoring by intercepting a Lujan pass and returning it 12 yards.

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