INDIANOLA, Iowa – A big rushing day put the University of Chicago football team on the comeback trail Saturday afternoon. But the Maroons could not find the go-ahead score in a 27-23 road loss at Simpson College.
The Maroons (0-2 record) paved the way effectively on the ground, rushing for 251 yards for a healthy 6.3 yards per carry. However, the Storm (1-1) countered by throwing for 331 yards with three touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Nicholas D'Ambrose carried the load for the offense, running for 143 yards on a mere 14 carries – good for 10.2 yards per carry. It marked the second-most rushing yards of his career. He also entered the end zone twice.
UChicago nearly reached the Simpson red zone on its second drive but turned the ball over on downs. The hosts swung the momentum to its side on the very next possession with a 47-yard touchdown pass.
A 19-yard punt return by junior running back Mike Martinson set up the Maroons for success on Simpson's 24-yard line. The visitors ultimately got a 29-yard field goal conversion courtesy of first-year kicker Daniel Mirzai.
Once again, Simpson had an answer. Pass completions of 38 and 15 yards got the chains moving, and a 19-yard touchdown toss made the score 14-3 early in the second quarter.
Three drives later, the Maroons strung together an eight-play, 75-yard possession that was capped by a brother-to-brother connection. Sophomore quarterback Jeffrey Jackson completed an 18-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Jacob Jackson, and the deficit was reduced to 14-9. Simpson closed out the half with a 40-yard field goal as time expired to make it 17-9.
D'Ambrose accounted for 37 rushing yards on UChicago's first drive of the third quarter, capping it with a three-yard touchdown run. But the Storm remained one step ahead with a 75-yard scoring drive of their own to go back up by eight, 24-16.
D'Ambrose would not be denied though. The very next possession, the sophomore bolted past the defense for a 66-yard touchdown sprint, cutting the lead to 24-23.
Simpson threatened at the start of the fourth quarter, reaching UChicago's seven-yard line. But on fourth-and-goal, senior linebacker Zach Atiyeh picked off a pass and returned it 22 yards. The hosts got the ball right back, however, thanks to a strip sack that led to a 35-yard field goal.
Simpson tried to put the game away with another foray into the Maroons' red zone. This time it was sophomore cornerback Makai Robinson who came through with a timely interception in the end zone. UChicago's last chance for the win ultimately fell short on a fourth-down incompletion near midfield.
In the final stats, Simpson outgained UChicago 424-354. The two teams combined to convert 17 of 37 on third down (46 percent).
Alongside D'Ambrose's big day, Martinson rushed nine times for 52 yards. Jeffrey Jackson completed 14 of 26 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide receiver Dante Nepa caught three passes while three others snagged two receptions each.
Defensively, junior defensive tackle Jackson Ross led the team with 11 tackles. Senior linebacker Henry Winebrake made 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Atiyeh put up 10 tackles and one interception. Sophomore defensive tackle David Govrik added nine tackles (one for loss).
- Saturday, Sept. 28 @ 1:00 PM – Lake Forest College at UChicago