CHICAGO – The University of Chicago football team heated up when it counted and shrugged off a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Case Western Reserve University 31-30 on Saturday.
The Maroons (1-0) won their season-opening game for the ninth-straight year. They've also defeated their last four University Athletic Association (UAA) opponents. The Spartans fell to 0-1.
UChicago found itself in a 24-10 hole one play into the fourth quarter after Case quarterback Rob Cuda ran the ball in from nine yards. The Spartans had just held the ball for over 10 minutes in the third quarter and limited the home team to -10 yards on four drives.
After Case's score, the Maroons quickly went to work with an eight-play, 68-yard drive. Sophomore running back Chandler Carroll got into space and broke off a key 17-yard run to get the ball into Spartan territory. Carroll soon after caught a 14-yard pass to bring UChicago into the red zone. Junior quarterback Burke Moser then found junior wide receiver Syd Reynolds on a fade route in the right corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Reynolds outjumped his defender and snatched the ball while falling backwards on the play.
The next possession, the Maroons tied up the game with another 68-yard drive. Carroll traversed the entire width of the field on one run, cutting back hard to the left and finding the edge for a 31-yard gain. Three plays later, Moser connected with senior wide receiver Cole Thoms for a leaping touchdown from 16 yards out to tie the game at 24-24.
Case rebounded on the next drive with a big play on third down. Wide receiver Bryan Erb got behind his defender and broke another tackle in the open field to gallop all the way for a 70-yard touchdown. However, Case missed the ensuing extra point, leaving the door open at 30-24.
With momentum on their side, the Maroons only needed three plays to score. A roughing the passer penalty gave the offense good field position. Reynolds then dusted his defender on a post route and hauled in a 46-yard touchdown from Moser. Senior kicker Karol Kurzydlowski banged through the extra point to put UChicago up 31-30 with three minutes left in the game.
Case had one last chance near midfield, but a fourth-down pass was broken up by senior cornerback Vincent Beltrano. UChicago then ran out the clock for the win.
The game first touchdown came early in the second quarter when Case tossed a 67-yard touchdown. Kurzydlowski kicked a 23-yard field goal the very next drive to make the score 7-3. The Spartans added a 35-yard field goal of their own to go up 10-3.
In the waning minutes of the first half, Moser found senior tight end Nathan Massey on a key third down for a 20-yard gain. A facemask penalty placed UChicago into the red zone and Moser hooked up with Thoms for a 12-yard touchdown to tie the game 10-10 at halftime.
Case piled up 462 yards of offense (123 yards rushing, 339 yards passing) for the day. UChicago was limited to 79 yards rushing (2.6 yards per carry) but threw for 268 yards for a total offense number of 347.
In his first collegiate start, Moser came through with 268 yards on 21-for-35 passing. His four touchdowns were the most by a Maroon quarterback since Vincent Cortina threw five at Rhodes College on Oct. 5, 2013.
Reynolds (3 catches, 68 yards) and Thoms (3 catches, 41 yards) caught two touchdowns apiece. Massey pulled in a team-high five receptions for 65 yards. Carroll gained 70 yards on 17 carries on the ground (4.1 yards per carry) while catching four passes for 29 yards.
Defensively, junior linebacker Jackson Garrey led the way with 10 tackles, followed by freshman defensive end Stash Rowley with nine tackles in his first collegiate game. Senior linebacker Nick Pielech forced a fumble along with his eight tackles. Junior defensive tackle Steven McGugan posted eight tackles as well.
- Saturday, September 19 – UChicago at Millsaps College, 1 PM