The UChicago football team lined up against Carnegie Mellon on Saturday for its penultimate game of the season. The two teams had faced off a year earlier with Chicago coming away 21 points ahead. Unfortunately, that was not the case this year, as the Tartans trounced the Maroons 52–7.
The Tartans defense stifled the South Siders; it plugged all the holes in its defensive line. “We struggled to move the ball on the ground,” lamented second-year receiver Jamie Rieger. “Once we got behind we had to rely on the pass, and I think it hurt us to have to play so one-dimensional.”
The team only managed to run for 61 yards, as second-year running back Chandler Carroll averaged less than three yards per carry.
At the same time, the Carnegie Mellon offense ran the Chicago defenders ragged. They tallied up 302 running yards and added another 261 through the air. A 21-point third quarter was the nail in the coffin for the lifeless Maroons, who failed to capitalize on several long drives. “When we were able to move the ball, we didn’t do a good job of executing at the end of drives to come away with points,” Rieger observed, who was the recipient of the Maroons’ lone touchdown.
Rieger was Chicago’s lone bright spot on what was for the most part a dreary day. The second-year caught six passes and totaled 84 yards, by far his best showing in what has been an injury riddled season.
“I’ve been injured for the majority of my career so far and am finally starting to hit my stride out there so it felt good to make some plays,” he said. “I’m very confident in my abilities and know if I’m given the chance I can make something happen for the team. I wish the performance could’ve helped result in a win but I’ll definitely use it as momentum going into the Wash U game and into next year.”
The loss drops the Maroons to 6–3 this year, a disappointing showing from last year’s UAA conference champions. “I definitely think we had higher expectations for ourselves than what we’ve actually achieved so far,” Rieger said.
However, their season isn’t necessarily over just yet. Emphasizing Chicago’s fight, Rieger says, “We still have a chance to beat Wash U for the Founder’s Cup and a share of the UAA title, so there’s still a lot to play for the last week of the season, and hopefully we can gain some momentum going into next year.”
The Maroons are set to square off against the Wash U Bears next Saturday in St. Louis as they attempt to salvage their season. Kick-off is scheduled for noon.