The Maroons (5–1) traveled to Minnesota this weekend in hopes of keeping the goose egg in their loss column. However, their plan was foiled by No. 15 Bethel University, with the Maroons dropping the game 52–21.
Heading into their nonconference match against the Royals, the Maroons had no reservations about being the underdogs.
“We didn’t buy into the whole underdog or favored opponent, that’s for the outsiders, we saw it as an opportunity to compete against a nationally ranked and consistently great DIII football team,” said third-year cornerback Vinnie Beltrano.
The preview of this game looked to be a defensive showdown between two of the best defenses in the country. However, it was the offense of both teams that showed up to play on Saturday.
Fourth-year quarterback Patrick Ryan led an offense that threw 202 yards and ran 189 yards. Similarly, Bethel’s fourth-year quarterback Erik Peterson threw 320 yards and five touchdowns. Bethel accumulated 455 yards in offense throughout the game.
Chicago’s defense, which had been ranked in the top 10 nationally all season, did not perform as predicted.
“Simply put, we did not do our job,” fourth-year linebacker Schuyler Montefalco said. “We are a far better defense than we showed this past Saturday and we are going to use this as motivation to move forward and become an even better defense than before.”
Compared to the casual and relatively quiet setting of Stagg Field, Bethel’s home stadium was loud, hostile, and completely filled. This increase in both the intensity of the setting and the quality of the opponent provided a drastically different experience from those the Maroons had dealt with previously this season.
Beltrano described dealing with the increased pressure.
“We certainly could have handled it much better, but it’s a learning process. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and the same goes for building a tradition/culture around this program,” said Beltrano. “It takes time and tangible experience, and this was a beneficial situation for our learning curve.”
For the Maroons, first-year running back Chandler Carroll had a breakout game with 134 rushing yards and a touchdown. In addition, fourth-year defensive end Brandon Bolock carried the Chicago defense with three blocked punts, seven tackles, and an interception.
Regardless of the outcome, the Maroons are prepared to take the lessons they learned from their tough loss to Bethel and put them to good use to kick off the UAA season.
“This game was nothing more than a nonconference competition. The real season begins now! We set our goals before the season, and all of those goals are still intact.” Said Beltrano. “Now, are we upset with the loss? Yes. Are we going to learn from it? Yes. But we’re not going to let it linger in our minds, as we enter our conference schedule and attempt to attain all of our season goals.”
The Maroons will play their Homecoming game against Wash U this Saturday at 1:30 p.m.