Azusa Pacific Stuns No. 2 Grand Valley 26-23 In Overtime
Terrell Watson rushed for 207 yards in win Thursday.
Terrell Watson rushed for 207 yards in win Thursday.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

GLENDORA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific literally had one strategy in overtime Thursday night.  Hand the ball off to Terrell Watson.

Grand Valley State, which came into the game ranked second in the pre-season AFCA Division II coaches poll, meanwhile, had no answer for the Cougar senior running back, who carried the ball 11 consecutive times gaining 50 yards and scoring on touchdowns of four and one yard.

Watson’s final carry – his career-high 42nd of the contest - ended the game earning the No. 22 ranked Cougars a stunning upset in a nationally-televised game on CBS Sports television.

Watson finished the contest rushing for 202 yards setting a GNAC-record with his fourth career 200-yard game.

He rushed for 214 yards against Dixie State in 2012 and for 302 against Simon Fraser and 277 against Humboldt State last year.

His two overtime touchdowns gave him three on the evening as he also scored from 10 yards out in the third quarter to give APU, which has won nine straight games, a 13-10 lead.

GV's Joel Schipper tied the game on the first play of the fourth quarter kicking his second 40-yard field goal of the contest.

Schipper, however, missed from 25 yards with 3:48 left in the final quarter enabling APU to get into overtime. 

In the first extra period, Watson had runs of 1, 9, 7, 5 and minus 1 before scoring from four yards out.

Grand Valley, however, countered getting the equalizer on a one-yard run by Michael Ratay after Heath Parling had completed a 12-yard pass to Darryl Pitts down to the one-yard line.

In the second OT, Grand Valley had the ball first and had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Schipper – his third of the game.

Azusa Pacific then just turned the ball over to their sensational running back who had runs of 12, four and minus 3.  The latter set up a third-and-nine play from the 12.  Watson broke through on the left side taking the ball to the one-yard line to set up the game-winner.

Watson accounted for all but 65 of APU’s 267yards in total offense increasing his three-season rushing total in the GNAC to 3,108 yards.  Overall, in four seasons he has 3,805 rushing yards. 

As brilliant as Watson was offensively, so was the Cougar defensive unit especially linebacker Errik Manning and  freshman safety Taliuaki Suliafu.

Manning finished with 15 tackles, one for losses.  Suliafu had 12, including three for losses of 12 yards.  The Cougars also got interceptions from Brad Horling and  Marquez Gollman in the victory.

Thursday’s game is one of seven in the GNAC this weekend.

Two of the other six are against NCAA Division I Football Championship Series (FCS) teams as Central Washington plays at the University of Montana and Western Oregon takes on Portland State at Hillsboro, Ore. Saturday.

Elsewhere Dixie State plays at Colorado Mesa  (7 p.m.), Humboldt State visits Texas A&M - Kingsville (7 p.m.), Simon Fraser hosts Menlo (noon) and Colorado Mines plays at South Dakota Mines (6 p.m.).