RIPON, Wis. – In a game filled with momentum swings, the University of Chicago football team fell victim to a fourth-quarter comeback as Ripon College pulled out a 36-29 win in the final seconds.
The Maroons (4-4, 2-2 MWC) surrendered more than 12 points for the first time since Sept. 9. The Red Hawks moved to 3-5 and 2-2 in the Midwest Conference.
With temperatures in the low 40s, Ripon earned a pair of touchdowns on its opening two drives. The hosts were able to get several big gains using its triple-option offense, breaking off runs of 53 and 41 yards in those possessions. A three-yard run and a five-yard pass were the scoring plays that put the Red Hawks up 14-0.
UChicago turned the tide definitively in its favor in both the second and third quarters by scoring 29 unanswered points. The defense stepped up and forced three fumbles in the second quarter alone. The first set up the Maroons near midfield and senior running back Chandler Carroll accounted for all 52 yards on the drive that resulted in an eight-yard touchdown run.
Ripon was poised to strike with just over two minutes left in the half and the ball on UChicago's eight-yard line. However, first-year defensive tackle Jackson Ross forced a fumble at the line of scrimmage that was recovered by senior defensive end Peter Casey.
Another sack and fumble put UChicago into Ripon territory with only 37 seconds on the clock. The visitors made the most of their opportunity and first-year quarterback Campbell Garrett found junior wide receiver Andrew Falk for a 14-yard touchdown pass. After the missed extra point, Ripon led 14-13 heading into halftime.
The Maroons received the opening kickoff in the second half and immediately drove right down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. Garrett sprinted for a 22-yard gain and capped the drive with a 32-yard touchdown toss to first-year running back Riley Trettel.
UChicago went on to score on its next two possessions, which included a 41-yard touchdown pass to Carroll and a 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Mike Kurzydlowski.
However, the fourth quarter saw Ripon stage a big rally to get back into the game. The Red Hawks intercepted Garrett four times in UChicago's five drives to give themselves good field position for scores. The home side would tie the game on a 61-yard interception return and a subsequent two-point conversion with 6:19 remaining.
Ripon got the ball back with just over a minute remaining in the game, and two big pass plays of 25 and 26 yards proved the difference as the game-winning touchdown occurred with 23 seconds left. A final interception sealed the 36-29 result.
UChicago's defense got after the quarterback with six sacks. Three fumbles were recovered and junior safety Jeremy Vincent snagged an interception as well. Before the game's final touchdown drive, the Maroons had limited Ripon to 21 yards passing.
Ross was in the middle of the action and racked up a career-high 16 tackles. Vincent and Casey had nine tackles each, with Casey totaling 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Sophomore linebacker Zach Atiyeh (one forced fumble) and sophomore defensive end Ben Christensen (one fumble recovery) made one sack apiece. Junior defensive tackle Michael McGinley posted 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
UChicago outgained Ripon 355-334 in total offense. Garrett was 18 of 34 passing for 253 yards. Carroll ran for 75 yards, caught three passes for 49 yards and finished with two touchdowns. Falk hauled in five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Dante Nepa and senior wide receiver Jamie Rieger each grabbed four receptions.
- Saturday, Nov. 4 @ 1:00 PM – Macalester College at UChicago