Many people believe that offense wins the game, but defense wins the championships. This weekend, you might as well throw out that saying.
Chicago (5–1) ventures to Forest Grove, Oregon to take on Pacific University (5–1), and both teams like to score.
In addition to controlling the game (fifth nationally in time of possession), the Maroons’ offensive success has come from intelligent play.
“Offensively, I think it has been our ability to adapt to what the defense is playing, whether it be to air it out or keep running the football,” said second-year receiver Sam Coleman. “The fact that we had such early success with our running game really allowed for our passing game to open up. It created some opportunities for us to make big plays, and we just have to continue that.”
Coleman leads the South Siders with five receiving touchdowns this season.
The home Boxers are loaded offensively even more so than Chicago, averaging over 36 points per game, which ranks 34th nationally. The Maroons average 23.5 points per game but outscore their opponents by an average of over 10 points per game.
Evidently, offense has won plenty of games for these two teams so far this season, but defense will be absolutely critical on Saturday. It’s very likely that both teams will put up some impressive offensive numbers, so the squad that plays better defensively should have the better shot to win.
Third-year linebacker Schuyler Montefalco is confident about Chicago’s defensive play thus far.
“As a unit, we have been performing well, but our best performance is yet to come,” Montefalco said. “We are going to focus on doing what we do, and that is creating turnovers on defense. We have to out-execute and be more disciplined than the other team, and it should be a great game.”
Montefalco’s defense has given up just 13 points per game this season, compared to Pacific’s 19 points per game given up on defense.
For his performance against Macalester last Saturday (nine tackles, four for loss, one sack), Montefalco was chosen as the UAA Defensive Athlete of the Week—his second such honor this season.
“Personally, I don’t read into stats or accolades,” he said. “This year has been about buying in and selling out for the team and doing whatever I can to help the team succeed. [Head coach Chris] Wilkerson has been a huge influence on me and has completely turned this program around. His attitude and core values are infectious, and I try to put my best effort forward for him and my teammates in an attempt to get better everyday.”
This game will not only likely come down to a better defensive showing, but also to which offensive force has the ball for the last possession.
Chicago journeys across the country for a 3 p.m. kickoff this Saturday in Oregon.