November 15, 2013

Squad set to take on Wash U with UAA crown on the line

This weekend will be an uphill battle for the Maroons.

Coming off an exciting victory over Carnegie (3–6, 0–2 UAA), Chicago (6–3, 1–1) travels to St. Louis to take on Wash U (7–2, 2–0) this Saturday.

“I like our chances. Wash U is a very good team. The guys have been very intense at practice this week and are excited for the game,” said fourth-year quarterback Vincent Cortina.

Despite Cortina’s confidence, the Maroons have a lot working against them in this game.

First, Wash U has won its last six games while Chicago is 2–3 in its last five. In addition, the Bears defeated Case (4–4, 1–1) by a score of 29–0 last weekend, and Case bested the South Siders in their November 2 matchup by a score of 16–3.

Currently, Wash U is atop the UAA, but if Chicago pulls together and wins this weekend, the Maroons will tie Wash U—and Case if it beats Carnegie this weekend—for a share of the UAA title. As often happens toward the end of a long season, it’s a matter of multiple possible scenarios.

Not only will this game determine the conference, but it’ll also be the fourth-years’ final chance to play on the gridiron in a Maroon uniform.

“It’s crazy to think this will be my last game ever,” Cortina said. “It definitely makes things a little different, especially since we have the chance to win a UAA title. It’s been a long ride, but football has been great to me.”

Although Chicago won last weekend, it didn’t capitalize on offense as much as it would’ve liked. Carnegie turned the ball over five times, and the South Siders only scored two touchdowns in the entire game, in addition to allowing the Tartans to recover from a 14–0 deficit to make for a competitive game.

“We need to do a better job of finishing—finishing the win overall, not missing tackles [and] no dropped balls,” said fourth-year linebacker and captain Brian Duffy.

Although Duffy didn’t play last weekend because of a concussion, there’s not a chance he will sit out on his final collegiate competition.

“It’s certainly surreal that this will be it for my football career; something that’s been such a big part of my life for so long [will be] over like that,” Duffy said. “Every [fourth-year] knows that going in, and selfishly I might look at it a little different, but it only makes the saying ‘play every snap like it’s your last’ more real.”

Chicago will have to step up its game in a major way tomorrow to come away with the victory. Duffy isn’t worried, though.

“We’re always going to go into a game expecting to win. There’s nothing really that should or will ever change that,” Duffy said.

Cortina agrees.

“In terms of the way I approach the game, nothing will change. I always go out there and try to leave everything on the field. But in terms of it being my last game, I definitely will take the time to look around more and try to soak everything in,” he said.

Channeling the fourth-years’ passion will be vital for the Maroons this weekend to step up their game and take a share of the UAA Championship for the first time since 2010.

The South Siders kick off against the Bears at noon in St. Louis on Saturday.