Chapman survived its step up in football competition and escaped with a 10-7 victory over Chico State Saturday after Chico kicker Steve Prchal missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt in the final minute in front of a homecoming crowd of 6,200 in Chico.
Facing fourth and three at the Chapman 19, Chico State (1-3-2) decided to play for the tie, but Prchal's kick sailed wide right by about a foot with 52 seconds left.
Chapman (4-1), which has dominated its NCAA Division III competition after narrowly losing its opener to La Verne, was playing a Division II team for the first time.
"I know that Chico is a program that no longer offers scholarships but they are still a big school and they still have a lot of good athletes," Chapman Coach Ken Visser said. "This shows that our coaches and players worked hard and did a good job."
Chapman did it largely with defense, holding the Wildcats to more than 200 yards less than their average total offense. Before the game, quarterback Steve Lopez was averaging 286 yards passing. Chapman sacked him four times, twice each by Efriam Miranda and Robert Ernster, and held him to 130 yards with one interception.
The Panthers were even more stingy against the run, holding the Wildcats to 44 yards. Middle linebacker Aaron Gutridge was in on 14 tackles, nine of them unassisted.
Chapman, which averaged 43.2 points in its first four games, never found its form on offense, either, gaining a season-low 212 yards. But the Panthers got what they needed. Leading rusher Darnell Morgan was held to two yards in 11 carries, but Taliv Traylor gained 104 in 14 carries.
Josh Bravo, making his second consecutive start at quarterback in place of injured Curtis Robinson, was replaced with Greg Hyland for Chapman's third series.
Hyland, a redshirt freshman from Rosemead High, completed his first pass to Morgan, a 25-yard screen play, then hit Martrice Stevens with a 54-yarder to the one-yard line. A play later, Hyland scored on a sneak with 1 minute 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
Hyland sustained a pulled gluteus muscle late in the first half and Bravo finished the game.
The Panthers took a 10-0 lead with 13:25 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Bill Hamlin made a 40-yard field goal. Chico State then drove 75 yards in nine plays, scoring on a three-yard run by Kingsley Egorerua with 9:42 left.