The vaunted afternoon of pre-game picnics, tailgates, tug-of-war, and football has finally arrived with Homecoming weekend, as the Maroons square off against Denison at Stagg Field.
In an evenly-matched game of 3-2 teams, the Maroons, once again playing without injured fourth-year quarterback Marshall Oium, will host the flailing Big Red—losers of their last two contests.
With first-year quarterback Vinny Cortina and second-year Kevin Shelton likely to split time behind center, the Maroons will look to replicate last week’s special-teams masterpiece, in which three blocked punts led to 16 points in a 30-6 victory over Ohio Wesleyan. This was in large part due to second-year punter and kicker Jeff Sauer who was named UAA Athlete of the Week for special teams this past week after overcoming horrid weather conditions to pin the Battling Bishops inside the 20-yard-line on three of five punts.
“We spend more time practicing special teams than I’d say 99 percent of college teams,” said head coach Dick Maloney. “Schematically Ohio Wesleyan had a few things we took advantage of and I expect Denison to be sounder in their kicking game, but we’re always strong in that area.”
After last week’s inclement weather led the Maroons to adopt a run-based offense, attempting only seven passes that accounted for just four yards, Maloney expects to call a more balanced attack against the Big Red.
“We always like to pass the football,” he said. “[Last week] because of the weather and our injuries at quarterback, we were forced to break out our version of the wildcat formation against Ohio Wesleyan.”
Denison’s defense has surrendered a generous 25 points a game and their secondary has allowed ten passing touchdowns so far. This record augurs a strong day for Chicago’s offensive skill players, who hope to add to an already impressive resumé.
Fourth-year receiver Clay Wolff holds the school’s modern-era record for receiving touchdowns, while second-year receiver Dee Brizzolara is on pace to lead the UAA in all-purpose yards, a feat he accomplished last year. Third-year running-back Francis Adarkwa leads the UAA in rushing and scoring.