ORANGE — Chapman won the overwhelming majority of its football games during its first three seasons, but this year, the Panthers are struggling for any victory, no matter how small.
It was a small victory that Chapman was able to hang tough with Willamette (Ore.), the 10th-ranked team in the NAIA, for much of the first half before falling, 40-6, on Saturday in front of 2,612 at Chapman.
Saturday's loss was nearly as bad as last week's 35-0 drubbing at the hands of Western Washington, the top-ranked team in the NAIA. Last week's defeat was Chapman's worst loss since the school reinstated football three seasons ago.
While Chapman's offense almost scored its first touchdown of the season and its defense made a fourth-down stand early in the fourth quarter, Willamette's depth and talent helped produce 21 second-half points to turn the game into a blowout.
"I thought we'd play them a lot closer," said Chapman Coach Ken Visser, who's team failed to reach the end zone for the second consecutive week. "We made too many mistakes."
And the Panthers (0-2) took too many lumps.
Starting quarterback Greg Hyland left the game early in the fourth quarter when he was hit while throwing a pass that was eventually intercepted.
"Greg was a little groggy," Visser said. "We'll have to wait and see."
Visser also will have to wait and see about his leading tackler, linebacker Keith Dykes, who left in the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury. Starting offensive lineman Matt Zaky also injured his leg, Visser said.
Willamette (2-0) outgained Chapman, 427-117, and Chapman averaged only 2.4 yards per play on offense.
But Chapman started the game strong and almost scored its first touchdown on its second possession.
After the defense held, the Panthers moved 52 yards in nine plays to the Willamette four. But Joaquin Gonsalves dropped Hyland's pass in the end zone on a third and goal. The Panthers settled for a 21-yard field goal by Matt George and a 3-0 lead with 3 minutes 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter. George also kicked a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter.