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October 21, 2011

Kenyon arrives for Homecoming weekend

[img id="88277" align="right"/] After two straight victories on the road in Ohio, the Maroons will return to Stagg Field to take on the winless Kenyon Lords for the annual Homecoming game. Chicago sits at 4–2 and must keep winning in order to have a shot at the playoffs.

Chicago players are coming fresh off their bye week, which they used to rest up and work on fundamentals.

“We always want to be more physical,” said Head Coach Dick Maloney. “That’s important because when you get into the UAAs, people get after each other pretty good.”

“We’re also trying to expand our formations on offense and defense. If we can get an extra tight end in on some plays, all of a sudden, the defense doesn’t know if he’s going to be a blocker, a receiver, or a running back.”

The last time the Maroons played at home, they suffered a 42-point beat down to nationally ranked Wabash. This time around, though, Chicago hopes it can give its fans something more to cheer about.

“The Wabash game left a bad taste in our mouth, and we want to win big for our fans on Homecoming weekend,” Jeff Sauer, a third-year punter who averaged over 50 yards per punt against Denison, said. “But more importantly, we want to keep the momentum we have going into the UAAs.”

Kenyon, however, likely won’t be as daunting of an opponent as Wabash. The Lords’ defense has allowed more than 30 points in five of their six games this year, and their offense has managed more than 14 points only once during that time. Their struggles on both sides of the ball have contributed to a 19-game losing streak that dates all the way back to October 24, 2009.

The Maroons won’t overlook this game on the schedule, though. Homecoming provides plenty of excitement for fans and players alike, so there is little doubt that the Maroons will come out eager to play on Saturday.

“The thing I like most about Homecoming is that students and fans are excited to come out to the game and support us,” Dee Brizzolara, a third-year receiver who is currently tied for Chicago’s modern record for total touchdowns, said. “Homecoming gives our entire athletic community more of a family feel, and we get to see our friends and fellow athletes a lot more all weekend.”

Indeed, there is always a lively atmosphere surrounding the Homecoming game, complete with barbeques, free t-shirts, and tug of war. But that has not always been the case.

“When I first got here, we didn’t have all that,” said Maloney. “We knew other teams had it, but we didn’t have anything, so we decided that we wanted to have some kind of celebration.”

“It started with just a cookout before the game, and then we turned it into a pep rally with a bonfire that we would have where Max East is now. We called it ‘Midnight Madness.’ The basketball players would come out after practice from Henry Crown, too. It was great.”

“This place has changed dramatically in the 18 years I’ve been here. It was hard at first, because with just a few people it’s a lot of work. But once all of the students and the Dean of Students got into it, it became a lot of fun. It’s been wonderful watching it all develop.”

Chicago will host Kenyon at Stagg Field on Saturday at 1 p.m. for Homecoming.

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