CHICAGO, Ill. -- A strong second half and a big edge in time of possession propelled the University of Chicago football team to a 26-7 Homecoming victory over Macalester College on Saturday. The Maroons improved to 5-1 while the Scots fell to 2-4.
UChicago came into the game ranked No. 9 in the country in time of possession at 34:57 per game. On Saturday, the hosts held on to the ball for 38:13 and ran 71 offensive plays compared to 21:47 and 47 offensive plays for Macalester.
The Maroons took advantage of an early miscue on the first play from scrimmage. Sophomore defensive back Greg Thome picked off the first pass attempt by Scot quarterback Samson Bialostok. UChicago then capped off an 11-play, 6:30 drive with a 26-yard field goal from junior kicker Karol Kurydlowski. Macalester responded just 1:30 later with a 62-yard quarterback keeper by Bialostok for a touchdown.
After trading punts the next two series, the Maroons drove 54 yards on eight plays capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Vincent Cortina to sophomore wide receiver Cole Thoms. UChicago controlled the clock, holding the ball for 20 minutes in the first half, compared to only 10 minutes for Macalester. At the half, the Maroons led 10-7.
The third quarter went by quickly, but not without a big play. On the first defensive series, sophomore defensive back Christopher Dengler intercepted a pass and returned it to the Macalester 18-yard line. Kurydlowski later added a 22-yard field goal with 8:06 left in the third quarter to increase the lead to 13-7.
UChicago forced another Macalester punt three minutes later. The offense then held the ball into the fourth quarter and scored on a four-yard rollout pass from Cortina to junior right end Bryan Tisdale. Tisdale's touchdown catch was the first of his career. This capped off a 12-play, 83-yard drive that ate up almost seven minutes of game clock and pushed the Maroons ahead, 20-7.
After stopping the Scots on a fourth-and-six inside their own 16-yard line, the Maroons went three and out and punted the ball back to Macalester. On the return, sophomore defensive back Ben Clark forced a fumble at the Scot 48-yard line, which was recovered by junior running back Miguel Maseda with 6:35 to go in the game.
On that drive, Cortina completed a crucial 41-yard pass down the sideline to sophomore wide receiver Sam Coleman on third-and-13. Coleman shook off his defender after making the catch and barrelled down the sideline before being dragged out of bounds just short of the end zone pylon. The next play from scrimmage was a one-yard touchdown connection between Cortina and Thoms to account for the final score.
Third down served the hosts well in the game. The Maroons converted 9 of 19 (47 percent) while limiting the Scots were held to 2 of 11 (18 percent).
UChicago finished with 286 yards of total offense (150 passing, 136 rushing). Macalester totaled 244 offensive yards (136 rushing, 108 passing). The Scots passing attack averaged only 3.9 yards per attempt and were picked off twice.
Cortina completed 12 of 23 passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Thoms caught two of those touchdowns amongst his six catches for 42 yards. Coleman tallied 50 receiving yards and sophomore tight end Colin Macri added 43 yards. Senior running back Ian Gaines ran for 75 yards, while junior running back Zak Ross-Nash rushed for 49 yards.
Junior linebacker Schuyler Montefalco led the defense with nine catches, including one sack and four tackles for a loss. He currently leads the team with 8.5 tackles for a loss on the season. Dengler recorded five tackles and one interception. Senior linebacker Brian Duffy made five tackles as well, while Thome compiled four tackles and one interception.