By Tim Peterson
(Glendora) – Humboldt State jumped out to a 35-6 halftime lead and never looked back in a 62-41 rout of Azusa Pacific Saturday night in the Cougars home opener at Citrus College.
Although Azusa Pacific did outscore Humboldt State 35-20 in the second half it was too much of a hole to dig out of.
The Lumberjacks racked up 526 yards of total offense. La’Quan Gardner rushed for 225 yards and three touchdowns with along of 51 yards. Robert Webber, only a sophomore, completed 13-16 for 220 yards and five scores with no interceptions. Chase Krivashei caught seven passes for 84 yards and three touchdowns.
Kurt Scoby, a redshirt freshman, scored twice for the Cougars while running for 56 yards and Chad Jeffries was 22 of 35 for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns and a pick, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Webber connected with Krivashei for the first score on a 16-yard pass on the first possession of the game.
The Lumberjacks take advantage of a short punt by APU and marched 47 yards for the score. Sage Burmeister crossed the goal line on a seven-yard run at the 1:06 mark of the first to put Humboldt Sate up 14-0. The Cougars struggled on offense on their first two possessions and were down 14 after one.
APU again was forced to punt and the Lumberjacks capitalized. Gardner looked like he was stopped in a pile but broke out of the scrum and rumbled 22 yards around the far side for a touchdown as Humboldt State goes up 21-0 with 13:40 left in the second.
Scoby erased the zero for the Cougars as he finished a drive with a nine-yard run to make it 21-6, but typical of the Cougars’ night, the extra point was blocked.
Gardner got loose again on the following series. This time he hit the corner and went 51 yards for the score and the Lumberjacks were cruising 28-6.
APU went three and out and again Humboldt State cashed in. Webber found Krivashei for a nine yard score for a 35-6 Lumberjack lead heading into halftime.
Gardner had 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the first two quarters while Webber threw for 122 yards and a pair of scores.
Gardner picked up right where he left off busting off a 46-yard run down to the Cougar 15. From there Richard Doctor made a house call with a nine-yard touchdown run to make it 42-6.
Jeffries’ pass was batted in the air and picked off on the next possession just like that Gardner got his third score of the night on an eight-yard run with 9:39 left in the third quarter and at 49-6 it was game, set match.
The Cougars showed some signs of life with two straight touchdowns. Jeffries set up a score with a big throw to Blake Robertson and then capped it with a four-yard run to make it 49-13.
On the next possession, Jeffries hit Robertson over the middle for a 52-yard gain down to the Lumberjack 10. On a fourth and goal at the three, Ryan Adams took a hand off from Andrew Elffers and bulled his way to six points.
The Cougars allowed two touchdowns on fourth down conversions as Webber hit Burmeister behind the Cougar secondary for a 30-yard TD strike and late in the fourth he hit Krivashei with a 31-yard bullet for a touchdown.
Jeffries hit Grant Widmar on a ten-yard touchdown pass and Scoby got his second of the night in the fourth. Jeffries tossed one to Ethan Zeidler on a four-yard touchdown with three seconds left to round out the scoring.
“It was a choppy first half that put us in too much of a hole,” said Azusa Pacific Coach Victor Santa Cruz. “We couldn’t get out of second and third gear. Then when we did we had some penalties that hurt us.”
The two teams will meet again October 10 at Humboldt State. Azusa Pacific fell to 1-1 while Humboldt State improved to 2-0.
Next up for the Cougars is a trip to Canada to play Simon Fraser next Saturday.