Maroon football loses late at Berry 28-21

Burke Moser
Burke Moser

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – The University of Chicago football team took a lead into halftime, but Berry College rallied back to win with a fourth-quarter touchdown 28-21 on Saturday.

The Maroons dropped to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). The Vikings improved to 5-1 and 3-1 in SAA games.

It was another record-setting afternoon for UChicago quarterback Burke Moser. The senior threw for 383 yards and broke his own school records for completions (43) and attempts (76) in a game. It marked his sixth game with at least 300 passing yards and his third in-a-row. Moser threw for two touchdowns and one interception. Freshman wide receiver Dante Nepa was his most frequent target with 103 yards receiving and a career-best 10 catches.

The Maroons relied on their passing game in large part due to Berry's defensive line that shut down the running attack. The Vikings only allowed 10 rushing yards on 21 attempts (0.5 yards per carry). UChicago junior running back Chandler Carroll was limited to 57 total yards rushing and receiving, but still scored two touchdowns on the day.

UChicago was first on the board late in the first quarter with a 13-play, 79-yard scoring drive. On 3rd-and-16, Moser found Nepa for 18 yards to kick start the possession. The visitors marched into the red zone and the quarterback found Carroll for a 10-yard touchdown reception to go up 7-0.

Berry attempted a 38-yard field goal on its next drive that missed wide right. The momentum built up the Maroons, who matriculated down the field once again for another 79-yard drive. A pair of roughing the passer penalties kept UChicago alive on third down and Carroll capped it again with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

The lead stayed at 14-0 heading into halftime. The Maroons played their best defensive half of the season in shutting out the Vikings. Junior cornerback Andrew Beytagh kept the home team scoreless by intercepting a pass in the end zone as the second quarter ended.

Berry got started on the comeback trail on its opening drive of the second half. A 20-yard touchdown run halved the deficit at 14-7. Three plays later, a strip sack led to a 14-yard fumble recovery for a Viking touchdown that tied the game.

Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, Berry took its first lead on a one-yard touchdown run to go ahead 21-14. UChicago quickly evened it up on the next possession, as Moser hooked up with sophomore Trevor Anderson for a 15-yard touchdown. But once again, the Vikings had an answer with a 30-yard scoring strike of their own the next drive.

The last chance for the visitors came with only 1:03 left in the game. UChicago took over on its own 29-yard line and managed to run 10 plays in the next 55 seconds to get all the way to Berry's 25-yard line. But an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the comeback bid as the Vikings held on for the 28-21 win.

The Maroons ran 97 offensive plays compared to 67 by Berry, and also converted 42 percent of their third downs (33 percent for Berry).

The Vikings ran a balanced attack with 239 passing yards and 237 rushing yards (476 total yards). They also broke up 10 passes, recorded three sacks and five tackles for loss.

UChicago's defense was paced once again by senior linebacker Jackson Garrey, who had 11 tackles and one tackle for loss. Junior defensive back Grant Byrne made eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Freshman defensive back Bill Rotnicki (1 TFL) and senior linebacker Hayden Harrow (0.5 TFL) each collected seven tackles.

NEXT GAME:

  • Saturday, Oct. 15 – Rhodes College at UChicago (Homecoming), 1:30 PM