On Saturday, the University of Chicago football team ran its way to a 28–14 victory over the Birmingham-Southern Panthers. Coming off of last week’s upset over No. 20 Centre, the Maroons again utilized the offensive talents of second-year running back, Chandler Carroll and third-year quarterback Burke Moser to improve their record to 4–0. This marks the third year in a row that the squad has managed to remain undefeated after four games.
The teams traded goose eggs in the first quarter, but an 89-yard drive at the start of the second quarter gave Chicago the upper hand. The drive included a 30-yard completion from Moser to fourth-year wide receiver Sam Coleman, and concluded when Carroll threw himself across the goal line from a yard out. On the very next drive, Carroll, who had set the UChicago single-game rushing record the previous weekend, managed to find a seam and cruise down field for a 53-yard touchdown.
“Chandler comes to work every single day,” said Coleman of his running back’s recent run of success. “He is the most humble guy I know, and whatever personal success he has, I know it will never change his demeanor. He is the ultimate teammate and is constantly giving thanks to those that help him be successful.”
Carroll ended the day with a total of 245 yards rushing to go along with three touchdown runs.
Yet the Panthers did not go away, scoring in the second half as second-year receiver Jamal Watkins ran a 55-yard pass from second-year quarterback Mickey Courtney into the end zone, making the score 14–7 at the half.
However, the Maroon defense stole the show in the second half. Fourth-year cornerback Vincent Beltrano, who already had one pick in the second quarter, added two more in the third. On top of that, fourth-year linebacker Nick Pielech forced a fumble midway through the quarter on the Panther’s 25-yard line. Fourth-year cornerback Chris Dengler recovered the ball, returning it all the way down the field for a touchdown.
After allowing an average of 29 points per game in the first three contests, the Chicago defensive line demonstrated a more solid performance in its fourth go-around. “It was great to see the defense making so many plays when the offense would put them in tough situations,” said Coleman. “Offensively we didn't play our best yesterday, but it's a team game and the defense played great and that allowed us to be successful overall on the day.”
While the offense did have a bit of a sloppy day on the field with three turnovers, it has been putting up points effectively throughout the season. The team has been averaging over 32 points per game, and has been at the forefront of the Maroon’s early success.
“We have a group who really understands the offense and what we are trying to do offensively,” added Coleman, who finished the day with five receptions, good for 51 yards. “On top of that, we have a lot of weapons, which allows us to be balanced with both the run and pass. This allows us to be flexible when a team tries to take away an aspect of our offense.”
The Maroons return home next weekend to take on Berry College. The game time is set for noon at Stagg Field, and the team will attempt to remain unbeaten and keep the hope for an undefeated season alive.