It’s not often that a Chicago quarterback throws for over 350 yards and five touchdowns. It’s particularly rare when that happens in a loss.
Fourth-year quarterback Vincent Cortina set a career high with 354 yards in addition to the five scores as the Maroons (4–1) fell to Rhodes College (4–1) in a high-scoring affair by a score of 41–34.
Unfortunately for the South Siders, the lackluster play of Chicago’s special teams overshadowed Cortina’s impressive numbers.
The Maroons allowed the home Lynx to block and return a punt to take the lead in the first quarter. Chicago responded with two scoring drives of 83 and 70 yards, taking a 13–6 lead.
After beginning the second half with the game tied 13–13, both teams began a flurry of scoring. The Maroons and Rhodes traded touchdowns until the game stood 27–26 with the Lynx ahead.
Rhodes took their turn and put up another touchdown, but the South Siders failed to score on their next drive and were forced to punt. Instead of learning from their first-quarter mistake, however, the Maroons allowed the Lynx to block yet another punt, and Rhodes also returned this one for six points.
The Lynx found themselves with a 41–26 lead with only four minutes left in the game. Cortina and the Maroon offense fought back and scored another touchdown, but that ended the game’s touchdown free-for-all. Rhodes held onto their 41–34 lead until time expired.
“Really it just comes down to which team executed their assignments better,” said fourth-year linebacker and captain Brian Duffy. “However, Rhodes did a good job of causing some confusion on our end with the stunts that had put in [during punts].”
The 14 points that were essentially handed to Rhodes on two blocked punts put Chicago’s offense in a troubling spot the whole day. That being said, though, Cortina is still looking on the bright side.
“If special teams cleans up, I think that will allow offense and defense to play even better,” Cortina said. “It will help us control field position and win the turnover battle. All in all, we still have a chance to accomplish all our goals and win UAA. I think it was good thing it happened in a game like this so we can fix it for the more important games.”
Second-year receivers Sam Coleman and Cole Thoms caught most of Cortina’s passes; Coleman hauled in six tosses for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and Thoms added eight receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown.
On the defensive side, third-year linebacker Schuyler Montefalco and second-year defensive backs Chris Dengler and Greg Thome all had eight tackles each.
Up until now, Chicago had been red-hot, winning its first four games and outscoring its opponents by at least 10 points in each game.
Cortina’s play has been a big reason for the team’s success.
“I think I have finally put it all together and fully understand what the coaches are asking of me. I have a lot of confidence when I’m on the field,” he said.
Before the Rhodes game, the combined record of the Maroons’ first four opponents was 6–12. Today, the combined record of their remaining opponents is 13–9, so the competition is sure to pick up.
This season still looks promising for Chicago, though, since the offense has been firing on all cylinders, and the Maroons likely would’ve come out on top against Rhodes without the blocked punts.
Chicago doesn’t play again until the Homecoming game at Stagg Field on Saturday, October 19 at 1:30 p.m. against Macalester.