UChicago football drops season finale 43-34 to Washington-St. Louis on Senior Day

Burke Moser, Syd Reynolds and Chandler Carroll
Burke Moser, Syd Reynolds and Chandler Carroll

CHICAGO – The University of Chicago football team closed out its season with a 43-34 loss to Washington University-St. Louis on Saturday afternoon

The Maroons conclude 2016 with a 4-6 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). The Bears improved to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the SAA.

Saturday was the final home game for UChicago's 17 football seniors. The senior class posted a cumulative record of 24-15 over the past four years and won the 2014 University Athletic Association (UAA) title.

The matchup between two of the top passing offenses in the country lived up to its billing. UChicago senior quarterback Burke Moser (455 yards) and WashU's J.J. Tomlin (483 yards) combined to throw for 10 touchdowns on the day. The two teams racked up 1,166 yards of total offense.

Moser closed out a record-setting season with four more touchdowns to give him a school-record 51 for his career. He surpassed the previous record of 48 held by Josh Dunn (1999-2002). The senior was 43 of 73 passing with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

UChicago's other statistical benchmark came from Chandler Carroll. The junior running back carried the ball 36 times for 176 rushing yards to give him 1,077 yards – the fifth-highest single-season total in school history. He surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in-a-row.

The wide receiving corps was paced by senior Syd Reynolds, who posted career highs of 10 catches and 172 yards with two touchdowns. Over his final three games, Reynolds averaged 140.7 receiving yards per game. Freshman Dante Nepa made eight receptions for 71 yards and sophomore Trevor Anderson snagged six catches for 55 yards and one touchdown.

UChicago ran 123 offensive plays and held the ball for almost twice as long (39:53 to 20:07). However, WashU's big plays proved the difference as the visitors averaged 8.8 yards per play. The Maroons converted 48 percent on third down and 4-for-6 on fourth down, but were bitten by three interceptions.

The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the first quarter, with the Bears scoring first and the Maroons answering with a 20-yard touchdown from Moser to Anderson. A 45-yard reception by Reynolds moved UChicago into the red zone late in the first quarter, but the hosts were picked off in the end zone to end the threat.

The Bears scored again to go up 14-7 to start the second quarter. Carroll evened the game up once more with a six-yard scamper midway through the period.

UChicago's defense then stepped up to thwart a pair of WashU drives. Sophomore safety Jeremy Vincent forced a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Jackson Garrey at the visitors' 45-yard line. On the next WashU drive, freshman defensive lineman Ben Christensen came up clutch by blocking a 41-yard field goal with just over a minute left before halftime. The two teams went into the break knotted at 14-14.

The Maroons took their first lead at 21-14 midway through the third quarter, as Reynolds hauled in a 33-yard score from Moser. They retook the advantage once more 28-21 on the following possession with Reynolds again scoring from 17 yards. However, WashU's offense proved too potent, scoring on four-straight drives between the third and fourth quarters.

The Bears converted a two-point conversion to go ahead 36-28. Moser hooked up with Carroll four minutes later for a 10-yard touchdown and went for two in an attempt to tie. But the pass failed and UChicago trailed 36-34. WashU added one more touchdown to account for the final margin. The Maroons were held out of the end zone for the remaining nine minutes of the contest.

Vincent's 11 tackles led the defense. Freshman linebacker Zachary Atiyeh tallied 10 tackles of his own. Garrey and freshman safety Bill Rotnicki each compiled seven tackles and combined for 1.5 tackles for loss.