Seniors shine in bounce-back win against Sewanee

The football team honored their 14 fourth-years not only with a ceremony, but with a 31–0 beat-down of SAA conference opponents.

By Michael Hinkley

The Maroons snapped a two-game home losing streak on Saturday with a 31–0 demolition of SAA foe, Sewanee. The Maroons improved to 6–2 on the season, while the Tigers dropped to 1–7. The South Siders overcame the howling wind and torrential rain to record their first shutout of the season while matching their high point total for the year.

Saturday also marked Chicago’s Senior Day. The team recognized all 14 of its fourth-year players in a pre-game ceremony. The graduating class boasts a 24–13 career record, including an impressive 14–5 home record on Stagg field, winning the University Athletic Association Championship in 2014.

Equally as importantly, the leadership shown by every member of the graduating class has been inspirational and has played a huge role in the Maroons’ recent success.

“This group of seniors has been steadfast in their continued commitment to this University and our football family,” said head coach Chris Wilkerson. “Off the field, they have been instrumental in their ability to lead, mentor, and motivate our younger players. On the field, they have had a tremendous impact in their abilities to make plays.”

Coincidentally, all 31 of Chicago’s points were scored by fourth-year players. Wide-receiver Sam Coleman caught a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and returned a second-half kickoff 87 yards for the Maroons’ final score of the afternoon. His counterpart, wide-receiver Cole Thoms, also caught a pass for a score late in the second period. Finally, kicker Karol Kurzydlowski overcame the elements to convert a 42-yard field goal and four extra-point attempts.

On the other side of the ball, the upperclassmen played a crucial role as well. Fourth-years Nick Pielech and Greg Thome led the team in tackles with nine and seven respectively. Vincent Beltrano also contributed, breaking up multiple passes and returning a punt 65 yards just minutes before halftime.

Coleman said, “It was nice to finish our last home game of the year on a good note and get back on track.” He added, “It was great for us seniors to be recognized for the time we have invested into this program. The entire team had great energy all day and that made a difference on the field.”

The Maroons are hoping to carry the momentum from this big win into their final two games against their traditional UAA opponents. Coach Wilkerson’s warriors will travel to Pennsylvania on November 7 to take on Carnegie Mellon, before battling to retain the Founder’s Cup against Washington University on November 14. They have a chance to clinch consecutive UAA titles for the first time in the program’s history.

“The intensity seems to increase a little anytime we play a UAA game, so we are excited for the trip to Pittsburg,” Coleman said. “Coach has been telling us to really enjoy the moment and be thankful for the position we are in. We haven’t ever won back-to-back UAA titles here, and we control our own fate, so it is certainly exciting anytime we have a chance to play for a championship.”

Chicago takes on the Tartans this Saturday at noon ET at Gesling Stadium in Pittsburg. CMU leads the all-time matchup with a record of 20–7–0. However, in their meeting last year, the Maroons emerged victorious in a 28–7 win.