By Tim Peterson
(Glendora)- Terrell Watson rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns to lead Azusa Pacific to a 55-21 rout of Humboldt State Thursday night at Citrus College. The Cougars fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter but scored 34 consecutive points and cruised to the win.
Watson now has 1089 yards for the season and has become the first running back on any college level to hit the 1000 yard mark plateau this year. Watson scored on runs of two, one and 77 yards as he continues on a season that could be historical.
“It was all about my offensive line. They played lights out,” Watson said. “On the long touchdown run I was just trying to not get caught from behind. Some of my teammates were making fun saying I was going to get caught at the one. I was glad I didn’t.”
“He’s just a humble guy. He’s all about the team,” said APU head coach Victor Santa Cruz of Watson. “He’s strong and a tremendous leader. He’s just an outstanding young man.”
After Humboldt scored on a 61-yard punt return by Chase Krivashei and a 26 yard pass from Robert Webber to Cass White the Cougars, down 14, went to work. Andrew Elffers, filling in on occasion for starter Chad Jeffries, got loose for a 56 yard touchdown run. Later, early in the second quarter, Jaime Cacciatore booted a 40-yard field goal to slice the Humboldt State advantage to 14-10. With 3:45 left in the half a two-yard run by Watson gave the Cougars their first lead of the game at 17-14. The score was set up by a 53-yard pass play from Jeffries to Watson.
Zach McPherson then blocked a Humboldt State punt and the Cougars took over at the Lumberjack 11. Four Watson carries later APU was in the end zone on a one-yard plunge and it was 24-14 at the half.
C.J Broussard intercepted a pass in Cougar territory to start the third quarter and on the first play of the series Watson found a seam and went 77 yards for a touchdown as the Cougars opened up a commanding 31-14 advantage.
When Cacciatore kicked a 25 yard field goal with 7:15 left in the third Azusa Pacific completed the 34-0 run.
Humboldt St. tried to protest with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Webber to Kelechi Nwadibia late in the third quarter, but APU cashed in on a turnover early in the fourth when Jeffries sprinted around the corner for a 16-yard TD run. The score was set up when Jonathan Thropay picked off a pass deep in Lumberjack territory.
The Cougars turned it into a rout on the next possession when Jeffries hit streaking Blake Robertson in stride for a 55 yard score and suddenly it was a four score lead at 48-21.
Ryan Adams added a little gravy in the end with a 40 yard romp down Main St. for a touchdown as APU busted the 50 mark.
The Cougars improved to 5-1 with the victory and is 2-0 in the GNAC. Humboldt State dropped to 5-1 also but is 1-1 in conference. The Lumberjacks beat APU 30-10 on September 13.
“We made some adjustments from the first time we played them,” said Santa Cruz. “Our offensive line played much better. When we got down early I knew we just needed to keep playing the game. We’ve been down before. You just have to play through it.”
Next up for Azusa Pacific is a home game against Dixie State on October 18. Humboldt will square off against Central Washington on October 25.