EAGLE ROCK — Once again, Chapman fell behind against one of the better football teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Once again, the Panthers rallied to tie the score with spectacular plays. But this time, the opponent, Occidental, had the time and the ability to respond.
Saturday, Occidental took control in the fourth quarter, winning, 30-20, in front of 2,100 at Patterson Field.
Occidental (5-0) became the first team to beat Chapman (3-1-1) in the Panthers' first football season since 1932, and although it was a nonconference victory, the Tigers celebrated as if they had beaten USC.
Occidental quarterback Davin Lundquist, who passed for 194 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 105 yards and two more scores, admitted beating Chapman was extra special.
"We might not celebrate this much usually," Lundquist said. "But it's 5-0; it feels good."
For Chapman, the feeling was as unpleasant as it was unfamiliar.
The Panthers, who rallied to tie Redlands, 14-14, two weeks ago, couldn't overcome their own mistakes.
"We made too many critical mistakes against too good a team," Chapman Coach Ken Visser said.
Occidental scored 14 first-half points after Chapman errors--a muffed punt and a fumble--and took leads of 13-0 and 20-6 in the first half, before the Panthers got back into the game.
The Panthers rallied with the kind of big plays that would make highlight films if there were such a thing in Division III football.
Oscar Ford ran 83 yards for a touchdown with 10 minutes 30 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 13-6. Ford ran untouched the first 33 yards of the run and then slowed near midfield to shake a defender and seemingly shifted into another gear as he pulled away for the end zone.
Occidental took a 20-6 lead when it scored on a one-play, 27-yard drive, after Panther quarterback Curtis Robinson fumbled a snap.
Chapman's Darnell Rubin almost returned the kickoff for a touchdown. He was tripped up at the Tiger 16-yard line after breaking a tackle in which Todd Adamson had pulled him nearly to the ground by the back of the jersey.
Darnell Morgan soon scored on a one-yard run to make it 20-13.
Chapman had a chance to tie the score late in the half when Rubin wrestled a long pass from Occidental defensive backs in the end zone. The play was nullified by a holding penalty.
Early in the second half, however, Chapman's Michael Simmons recovered a fumbled snap at the Occidental 34 and the Panthers scored on a one-yard run by Morgan.
But Chapman couldn't move the ball after that. Robinson might have struggled because of lingering effects from a shoulder separation he suffered in the season opener.
Robinson under threw his receivers all night and completed only three of 12 passes for 42 yards with one interception. He was sacked five times and rushed for minus nine yards.
Then in the fourth quarter, he was knocked out of the game with another injury. Visser said he didn't know what the injury was.