CLEVELAND, Ohio – The University of Chicago football team clinched its fifth University Athletic Association (UAA) title thanks to a 20-10 victory at Case Western Reserve University on Saturday.
UChicago ended the regular season at 8-1 while the Spartans wrapped up at 3-7. The team's previous UAA titles came in 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The Maroons will wait to see if they will be selected to the NCAA Division III Playoffs. The video announcement is scheduled for 5:00 PM (CT) on Sunday at NCAA.com: http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule/2014/11/16
The Maroons caught their first break of the game after their opening drive. Senior Ben Cheaney's punt was fumbled and junior Ben Clark picked up the ball at Case's 15-yard line. Senior running back Zak Ross-Nash punched in the ball from six yards out for a touchdown soon after.
Case hurt themselves again on special teams when an aborted punt attempt turned into a 20-yard loss. UChicago got the ball in prime field position and eventually converted a 34-yard field goal via junior kicker Karol Kurzydlowski near the end of the first quarter. The Spartans answered back with a 32-yard field goal of their own to cut the deficit to 10-3 in the second quarter.
The home team was driving again on its next possession and completed a seven-yard pass on third down. However, senior defensive end Brandon Bolock stripped the receiver of the ball and junior cornerback Vincent Beltrano yanked it out of mid-air, returning the fumble 49 yards for a touchdown.
UChicago held a 17-3 advantage heading into halftime. Junior cornerback Christopher Dengler helped preserve that lead by snagging an interception on his own two-yard line just before the break.
The Spartans drew closer in the third quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run, which made the score 17-10. UChicago's defense held strong the rest of the game and Kurzydlowski kicked another 34-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make it 20-10. Beltrano capped the win with an interception in the end zone as time expired.
Both teams totaled 13 first downs on the day. UChicago amassed 270 total yards (114 passing, 156 rushing) and Case tallied 212 yards (125 passing, 87 rushing). It is the sixth time UChicago has held a team to less than 100 yards rushing this year.
Offensively, freshman running back Chandler Carroll rushed for 98 yards on 30 carries while Ross-Nash had 38 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. Senior quarterback Patrick Ryan completed 11 of 17 passes for 114 yards and one interception. Sophomore wide receiver Syd Reynolds caught two passes for 46 yards and junior tight end Nathan Massey made four catches for 36 yards.
Defensively, the Maroons collected eight tackles for a loss and forced four fumbles, recovering three of them. Bolock tied for the team lead with 10 tackles while adding two forced fumbles, two tackles for loss and one sack. Sophomore linebacker Jackson Garrey had 10 tackles and one tackle for loss. Junior safety Greg Thome recorded eight tackles. Beltrano compiled four tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.