It was the perfect ending to a remarkable career. After becoming the schools all-time sack leader and helping carry the Maroons to a long-awaited UAA title, fourth-year defensive tackle Rob Tamillow was selected to play for Team USA in the Aztec Bowl December 17.
The United States squad easily handled their rivals from south of the border, cruising to a 5315 victory in the annual contest, which pits a team of Division III college all-stars against a Mexican national squad in Toluca, Mexico.
Playing in this game was the biggest honor of my life, said Tamillow, who graduated from the U of C at the end of fall quarter. To me it meant that I had been recognized for the hard work and dedication that I had put into the sport and the on-field performances that those had translated to.
The Chicago standout made his presence felt in the game just as he had all season, notching two tackles and providing consistent pressure for a defense that held Mexico to under 20 yards rushing.
Playing with the other top players in Div. III was my favorite part of the entire trip. It was amazing to be able to share the field with athletes of such a caliber, Tamillow said.
Although the game turned out to be anything but competitive, the match-up stirred patriotic sentiments on both sides of the ball.
The Mexican people decided that this game should be a nationalistic representation of their superiority over the United States, so they were ready to do anything to win, Tamillow said. To be able to represent the United States was an honor in itself which gave this game more impact in real life than any game in which I have ever played.
The selection was the culmination of a dominant season for the defensive tackle and his teammates on the Maroons defense. The unit ranked in the top 15 in Division IIIout of more than 200in every major defensive category. Tamillow notched 28 sacks in his four years on the Midway, and last season matched his single-season record with 12. In addition, he was tied for second in Division III in tackles for a loss with 24. The Oak Park native became only the second player in school history to be chosen for the all-star team, joining Dan Phillips, who was selected after his All-American season in 2000.
Robs a great leader, head coach Dick Maloney said. He leads by example and is extremely dedicated and hard-working. His exploits on the field were phenomenal.