APPLETON, Wis. – For the third-straight week, the University of Chicago football team was firing on all cylinders with an unstoppable offense and a suffocating defense leading to a 49-0 shutout of Lawrence University on Saturday.
The Maroons (3-2 record) picked up their second shutout in-a-row – the first time that has occurred since the 1969 season. The Vikings fell to 1-4 on the year.
In the Midwest Conference North Division opener, UChicago seized control of the game from the opening moments and never let go. The Maroons' high-powered offense would not be denied, as they scored six touchdowns in their opening seven possessions. By halftime, the insurmountable lead stood at 42-0 and UChicago cruised to the finish.
During its three-game winning streak, UChicago has outscored opponents 154-9. The offense is averaging 51.3 points and 465 offensive yards per game in that run.
After a quick three-and-out by Lawrence to start the game, Jeffrey Jackson took over. The first-year quarterback broke away on third down and dashed past the defenders for a 40-yard touchdown.
A bad snap by Lawrence sailed over the punter's head on the next drive, and the ball was pounced upon by senior defensive tackle Mike McGinley at the five-yard line. The short field allowed first-year running back Nicholas D'Ambrose to run the ball in to make it a quick 14-0.
A holding penalty stopped a promising UChicago possession, but only briefly. After taking over in Vikings territory once more, Jackson completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to first-year wideout Caden Kalinowski. The second quarter had scarcely begun before another big play – a 30-yard carry from D'Ambrose – got the Maroons back into scoring position. The lead expanded to 28-0 on a one-yard rush by sophomore running back Vittorio Tricase.
Just over two minutes later, UChicago was driving once more. Jackson found rookie wide receiver Jacob Jackson for consecutive completions of 27 and 32 yards, which set up another touchdown scamper by D'Ambrose from seven yards out.
The first-half scoring came to a close following a nine-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a three-yard catch by first-year wide receiver Elliott Grays. The scoreboard read 42-0 as the teams went into halftime.
In the second half, the Maroons kept themselves grounded by running the ball constantly after the opening series. The final touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter when junior quarterback Marco Cobian connected with sophomore wide receiver Will Seelman from nine yards.
Jeffrey Jackson submitted yet another complete game. The rookie signal caller connected 14 of 22 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 68 yards and one touchdown. D'Ambrose carried the ball nine times for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and senior running back Henry Imburgia contributed 50 rushing yards. Jacob Jackson (six catches, 99 yards) and Grays (three catches, 43 yards) led the receiving corps.
Defensively, UChicago shut down the Lawrence offense all day. Each time the Vikings got deep into Maroon territory, they were stopped on fourth down and couldn't get a good look at the end zone. The special teams also kept up its run of quality play as sophomore defensive lineman Ross Martin blocked a punt in the fourth quarter to set up the game's final scoring drive.
Lawrence's ground game grinded to a halt against UChicago's front seven. The 38 rushing attempts only netted 18 yards for 0.5 yards per carry, which included the punting miscues. All told, the Maroons only allowed 129 total yards for an average of 2.1 yards per play. Lawrence converted only 2 of 16 on third down while going 0-for-4 on fourth down.
McGinley paced the defense with one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and the fumble recovery to his credit. Sophomore defensive tackle Jackson Ross totaled a team-high eight tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss. Junior defensive end Ben Christensen and first-year defensive lineman Nathan Alexander (one sack) collected two tackles for loss apiece.
Offensively, the Maroons were balanced with 207 rushing yards and 225 passing yards for a total of 454 yards. They converted 7 of 13 on third-down scenarios.
- Saturday, Oct. 13 @ 1:00 PM – St. Norbert College at UChicago