Maroon football scores three times early, stifles Rhodes 21-7 in Blues Bowl

Burke Moser and Sam Coleman
Burke Moser and Sam Coleman

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Behind junior quarterback Burke Moser's 244 yards and two touchdowns, the University of Chicago football team took care of business on Saturday to earn a 21-7 road victory over conference foe Rhodes College.

In the third-annual Blues Bowl, UChicago won its second in-a-row and lead the series 2-1. The victory improved the Maroons to 5-1 overall (4-1 SAA) on the year, while dropping the Lynx to 3-3 (1-3 SAA).

Last year's comeback thriller required three forced turnovers in the final five minutes and a last-second field goal. However this Saturday, UChicago made things easier on itself, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looking back.

The Maroons received the opening kickoff and started things out with a 10-yard run from junior wide receiver Syd Reynolds. Moser soon completed back-to-back passes to senior wide receiver Sam Coleman for 19 and 15 yards respectively, moving UChicago first to the Rhodes 44 and then the 29. An eight-yard connection from Moser to senior wide receiver Cole Thoms brought the Maroons to the Rhodes 21. After a pass interference call, the Maroons fed sophomore running Chandler Carroll and worked the short passing game. On fourth down, UChicago broke open the game's scoring with a two-yard touchdown run by Carroll. After the PAT, the Maroon lead stood at 7-0.

A short kickoff and return set up the Lynx on their own 45-yard line. However, a delay of game and a seven-yard sack by sophomore defensive end Peter Casey put Rhodes on their heels facing a 2nd and 22. Rhodes went three and out with a quarter pressure from senior cornerback Vincent Beltrano. On the ensuing punt, Beltrano returned the ball 17 yards to the UChicago 36-yard line. Moser, dealing with a defender in his face, completed the first play of the drive for nine yards to Coleman. Then, after a three yard Carroll run gave the Maroons first down, Moser connected with Coleman for 52 yards and a touchdown to make the score 14-0.

After the Maroons forced a Rhodes three and out, they took over on their 20. Moser completed, on the first play of the drive, a 39-yard strike to Sam Coleman to move UChicago to the Lynx's 41. On the next play, the Maroons completed what looked like a 41-yard touchdown pass to Reynolds, but it was brought back due to a UChicago hold. Not be discouraged, Moser got the penalty yardage right back with a 10-yard pass to junior wide receiver Chris Mason and then handed the rock off to Carroll, who rumbled for 15 and a Maroon first down. Shortly after, Moser found Thoms for 20 yards to bring UChicago to the Rhodes 6-yard line. Moser connected with sophomore wide receiver Jamie Rieger on third down for a seven-yard touchdown. The point after made it 21-0 Maroons.

The visitors held sway from that point on, maintaining its three-score advantage until a one-yard Lynx rush with 13:26 left in the fourth quarter. The Lynx narrowed the margin to 14, hinting at a comeback that never materialized.

Rhodes held a large time of possession advantage of 35:49 to 24:11. But the Maroon defense proved stout as they allowed a season-low 258 yards of total offense. Led by Beltrano (11 tackles), sophomore safety Jeremy Vincent (10 tackles), junior linebacker Tim Veselik (10 tackles) and Casey (2 sacks), UChicago shut down the Lynx offense all afternoon. Rhodes averaged 3.1 yards per play overall and 3.0 net yards per pass. Junior linebacker Jackson Garrey picked off the quarterback for the game's lone interception in the final seconds of the game. UChicago compiled eight tackles for loss.

Moser completed 19 of 26 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns. He spread the ball around to seven different Maroons. Coleman (6 catches, 138 yards, 1 touchdown) and Thoms (5 catches, 56 yards) were the main benefactors through the air. Carroll ran for 69 yards on 18 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per touch and one touchdown.

NEXT GAME:

  • Saturday, October 24 – Hendrix College at UChicago, 1:25 PM