Now, it’s do-or-die time.
Chicago (5–3, 0–1 UAA) will take on Carnegie Mellon (3–5, 0–1) at home this weekend, and the Maroons must win to remain hopeful of a UAA title.
Last weekend, the South Siders lost to Case (4–3, 1–0) with a score of 16–3.
“We have to improve on responding to adversity,” said second-year defensive back Vincent Beltrano. “When our backs are up against the wall, we must find ways to get ourselves out of trouble [and] find ways to win. No one facet of the team—offense, defense, special teams—is solely the blame. Football is the ultimate team game.”
Beltrano had one of the two interceptions by the Maroons last week, who feature a defense that has played solidly.
On the other hand, the offense hasn’t played as well, but as Beltrano said, it takes a whole team to win or lose a game. However, the offense will have to come alive in the last two weeks of the season against Carnegie and Wash U.
With only a three-game conference slate, it’s tough to lose a game and still have a shot at winning the UAA. But, Chicago’s chance isn’t gone; it must beat the Tartans and Bears in the final two weeks in addition to hoping for a Case loss.
“We’re making sure we have the mental side of it down,” Beltrano said. “Going back through the fundamentals and day one things. The effort is there, but effort is nothing without execution.”
UAA conference play is shaping up to be very defensive. Carnegie lost to Wash U last week by a score of 9–7, and Case defeated Chicago 16–3. Those scores wouldn’t be too eye-opening if you didn’t know that prior to UAA play, Carnegie averaged 23 points per game on offense with 25 given up on defense, Wash U averaged 20 per game on offense with 13 given up on defense, and Case was scoring over 21 while giving up 27 per game.
“We are playing two teams that want to line up against you and wear you down. Carnegie and Wash U are two very balanced teams that have played us tough in recent years. If we go out, execute, play our game, have fun and give 100 percent we will have an opportunity to win,” Beltrano said.
Chicago will have to step up the offense this weekend after scoring 6 and 3 points, respectively, in its last two games. The Maroons must also hope for Case to lose its final two games, because if the Spartans have a 2–1 record, they will hold the tiebreaker against Chicago.
“All the teams in the UAA are very sound teams, so if we can limit our mistakes and play our style of football we will be fine,” said second-year receiver Sam Coleman.
Chicago kicks off against Carnegie at noon on Saturday at Stagg Field.