The Maroons lost a fourth straight game last Saturday to their hated rival, the University of Washington Bears. The defeat was particularly painful for the team because it was the first game of conference play, Homecoming, the Founder's Cup, a home game, and the latest entry in one of the longest losing streaks the team has had in years. While these circumstances were all motivating factors before the game, they did not seem to affect the team, which continued to look flat and unable to live up to that hated word, potential.
The talented team's first play from scrimmage was an omen of things to come. A completed pass was stripped away from a Maroon receiver to give Washington its first turnover of the game, one of four the Bears would collect for the day. With the ball deep in Maroon territory it was a short drive to the one-yard line where the defense refused to give anymore. The Bears settled for a field goal, and made the score 3-0.
The Maroons drove often but were inefficient at getting the ball in the end zone. With a 15-yard pass and a 50-yard run the score quickly became 17-0. In a successful change of pace the home team decided to go to the no huddle, eventually drawing its first blood with a little more than two minutes to go. The score going into the half was 17-7.
The Maroons continued to build momentum in the third quarter with a 22-yard field goal from first-year kicker Michael Morzenti and a 1-yard touchdown run by fourth-year quarterback Josh Dunn. At the start of the fourth quarter Chicago was one touchdown away, 24-17, and knocking on the door thanks to an interception by Bryan Zindrick.
But the Maroons were unable to capitalize due to another costly turnover. As head coach Dick Maloney pointed out, it was these miscues that eventually cost Chicago the game.
"Turnovers, especially in the first half, and the inability to stop them on third down, were both big problems for us," he said.
Washington put the game out of reach with two late touchdown passes of 10 and 15 yards. It made the final score look worse than it should have; Chicago was within striking distance only minutes before.
The team as a whole was very upset at this latest loss. Said fourth-year and starting center Bryan Cross, "I was very disappointed by the game. I thought all the seniors gave everything they had, and it is sad that after their hard work the team has four losses."
Maloney echoed Cross's sentiments.
"I was obviously very disappointed. We did not play well and we did not play with enough passion necessary to beat a quality opponent."
The Maroons play the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets this Saturday. Chicago is looking to win its third game of the year, and improve its modern-era home record to 32-11. If the Maroons win this one, it will be the ninth straight year in which the team has won its final home game of the season.
The team looks to come out with some attitude this week. "I think that if we come out with a chip on our shoulder we will end up on top," said Cross. Practice is now filled with an attitude and an emotion that has not been present all year. The team knows that they have something to prove to friends, to fans, to family, and to themselves. The Maroons look forward to getting a broad fan base to come out for senior day as they take on the University of Rochester.