By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – In what has already been a monster season for Azusa Pacific running back Terrell Watson became record setting Saturday night as the Cougars routed Menlo 54-0 at Citrus College. Watson set school and Great Northwest Athletic Cconference records by rushing for 338 yards in the game. He now has 2153 yards overall and is leading the nation in rushing. And oh by the way he also rushed for five touchdowns and has 29 on the year.
Watson, as has seemed to be his MO all year, had a huge second half. He rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in the first half before coming out in the second half to set records. Two of his touchdown runs in the second half came when Watson simply out ran the secondary. He scored on a 62-yard run in the third to out the Cougars up 35-0 and in the fourth broke off a 31-yard jaunt that made it 45-0. His other scores were runs of one, three and eight yards.
Chad Jeffries got the Cougars started with a 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, after Watson’s first touchdown, Greg Ehrhart picked off a pass and rumbled 48 yards for a score to put APU up 21-0 at the break.
In the second half it was all Watson as he found the end zone four more times. Only a 27-yard field goal by Jamie Cacciatore (and four extra points) and a safety were the only points not scored by the senior running back.
Watson, as is usually the case, downplayed his accomplishments. “I was just looking to win this game. 2000 yards says a lot about our offense and our program but we just came in here wanting to win the game,” Watson said. “Making the playoffs would be better.”
Azusa Pacific will find out tomorrow if it makes the Division II playoffs. The Cougars won the GNAC and finished 10-1 on the year. APU’s only loss was at Humboldt State – a team the Cougs later beat at home. But will it be enough?
“We are league champions, we went 10-1 and we have the nation’s leading rusher who has made school history. That’s a pretty good case that we belong in the playoffs,” said Azusa Pacific HC Victor Santa Cruz.
Jeffries had a big game rushing as well with 139 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Jeffries and Watson combined for 477 yards on the ground.
“If they want to focus on Terrell then we’ll let Chad run it. It’s pick your poison,” Santa Cruz said.
Watson likes playing in the backfield with Jeffries as well. “Chad’s a great quarterback. He can do a lot of things,” Watson said. “If he’s not running it he can throw it out to a wide receiver.”
The APU defense was nearly as impressive as the offense. The Cougars held Menlo to just 82 yards rushing and 122 passing. Pasiaka Fahina had seven tackles and Tyler Thornton and Ehrhart each had six to go along with Ehrhart’s pick six.
For Azusa Pacific the regular season is over. A 54-0 victory and a record setting performance by a running back will hopefully leave an imprint on the selection committee.
Now the waiting begins…
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40