CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Second-half turnovers and field position proved to be the crucial factors in the University of Chicago football team's 16-3 loss at Case Western Reserve University on Saturday.
The Maroons dropped to 5-3 overall and 0-1 in the UAA. The Spartans improved to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in conference.
For the first time all season, UChicago's opponent owned the edge in time of possession. The Spartans held the ball for 33:32 compared to 26:28 for the Maroons. UChicago also turned the ball over four times in the game (three interceptions, one fumble).
UChicago scored its first and only points of the game on its first offensive drive. A 38-yard pass from senior quarterback Vincent Cortina to sophomore wide receiver Sam Coleman helped set up a 21-yard field goal by junior kicker Karol Kurzydlowski.
Case attempted to tie the game two drives later with a 40-yard field goal attempt. Maroons freshman defensive lineman Steven McGugan blocked the kick to preserve the lead. However, the Spartans did take the lead on its next possession. A 51-yard punt return staked Case in the red zone and the home team soon scored on an eight-yard touchdown pass.
The score stayed 7-3 until late in the second quarter. Case blocked a punt and returned it to the UChicago four-yard line. But the Maroons stood firm on defense and limited the Spartans to a 22-yard field goal right before halftime.
Both sides played a scoreless third quarter. The final points of the game came with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter. Case started its drive on the UChicago 34-yard line and scored on third down with a nine-yard touchdown pass. The Maroons turned the ball over on three of their last four possessions in the game.
UChicago's offense was limited to 141 total yards, including 10 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Cortina completed 13 of 27 passes for 131 yards and three interceptions. Junior running back Zak Ross-Nash rushed the ball 19 times for 42 yards. Coleman led the receiving corps with four catches for 69 yards and Ross-Nash also caught three balls for 28 yards.
Case finished with 209 yards of total offense (109 passing, 100 rushing). The Maroons picked off the quarterback twice, with interceptions by sophomore defensive backs Greg Thome and Vincent Beltrano. UChicago also blocked four kicks over the course of the game.
Senior linebacker Brian Duffy led the team with 10 tackles. Junior defensive end Brandon Bolock tallied nine tackles and junior linebacker Schuyler Montefalco had eight tackles. Junior defensive tackle Scott Mainquist and Thome collected seven tackles each.