Founder’s Cup up for grabs against Wash U

By Daniel Lewis

Following two disappointing conference losses to Case Western and Carnegie, the Maroons will close out their season against Wash U in pursuit of a winning record and the Founder’s Cup trophy. Chicago’s UAA chances and playoff hopes are lost, but a victory in their final game would lift some of the disappointment of the past two weeks.

“The players and coaches feel a win over Wash U could make up for the previous losses,” said second-year quarterback Vincent Cortina. “Keeping possession of the Founder’s Cup and finishing the season with a winning record of 6—4 compared to 5—5 would make a good end to the season.”

This weekend’s matchup between the longtime UAA rivals marks the 25th game for the Founder’s Cup. The Bears have claimed the Cup in 17 of the 24 meetings, but they will be looking for revenge against the Maroons, who took last year’s contest—which doubled as the UAA title game—by a score of 13—10. Both teams lost last weekend and will be vying for a satisfying end to a season that has not played out like either team had hoped.

“Nothing can make up for the past two losses, but you want to win your last game,” said Head Coach Dick Maloney. “Obviously when you play Wash U for the Founder’s Cup, it’s a big game and you want to end the season with a smile on your face.”

To keep possession of the Cup, the Maroons will need to improve their running defense and their ability to score in the red zone. Opposing teams have rushed for at least 200-yards in three straight games, including Carnegie’s eye-popping 340-yard performance last weekend at Stagg. Wash U’s running game is not as potent or explosive as Carnegie’s, but Chicago will still need to tighten the screws against the run in order to emerge victorious from the final game.

Chicago’s red zone offense has not helped either. The Maroons have scored only 10 points in five red zone opportunities against Case and Carnegie, leading to 19 total points in the two games. Against a defense of Wash U’s caliber (16.9 opponent scoring average this season), the Maroons will need to capitalize on the scoring chances they get.

“The team is really working hard this week,” said third-year kicker Jeff Sauer. “We are motivated to end the season on a positive note by beating our biggest rival in St. Louis and keeping the Founder’s Cup in Chicago.”

The 25th Founder’s Cup also provides the Maroons with an opportunity to finish the season with a winning record. After their losses in the past two weeks, the have one final chance to prove that they are better than they have shown in conference play.

“We need to get in the right frame of mind. We can either say, ‘Well, it’s the last game of the season, it’s finally over,’ or we can say, ‘It’s the last game of the season, it’s time to prove ourselves.’ I’m confident that our players will be thinking the latter.”

“A lot of players are looking forward to the rivalry game against Wash U and will be playing with a lot of pride to prove we are a good team despite not being so successful in UAA play,” Cortina said.

The Maroons travel to St. Louis for the 25th annual Founder’s Cup game this Saturday at Francis Field.