The Maroons lost their final game of the season Saturday against the Wash U Bears. Playing in St. Louis with a share of the UAA championship up for grabs, Chicago was handed a rough 37–23 loss, ending the team’s year with a 6–4 record.
The game was a shootout, with both teams scoring in every quarter. Chicago found itself behind the eight ball at the end of the first half though, after a sloppy quarter filled with interceptions and field goals saw them fall behind by a score of 20–9.
“With a share of the UAA Championship on the line both teams were amped up and pressed a little in executing their game plans,” said fourth-year wide out Cole Thoms. “Playing with such energy can sometimes cause teams to attempt to do too much and that showed yesterday.”
The second half was equally disheartening for the South Siders, as they pulled within a touchdown before the Bears scored twice, showing off their potent offense and all but putting the game out of reach.
“We knew coming in they had an up tempo offense that could score points,” said fourth-year receiver Sam Coleman. “We didn’t put the ball in the end zone early on and were having to play catch up for the rest of the game.”
On the other hand, the Chicago offense had mixed results Saturday afternoon. Second-year running back Chandler Carroll racked up over 100 yards for the third time this season, and added a touchdown in the dying minutes of the second half. Third-year quarterback Burke Moser threw for 394 yards on the day, a career high. At the same time, he only found the end zone once while also tossing three interceptions.
“Two of those interceptions were from tipped passes,” Coleman said. “Those are always unfortunate.”
Saturday represented a disappointing conclusion for a squad that had championship aspirations at the beginning of the year.
“It’s not how I wanted my senior year to end,” Thoms said, having caught the lone touchdown pass in the game. “I’ll definitely remember the missed opportunities that could have made this season really special.”
That said, this season also had some historic highs for the UChicago football team. The team upset No. 20 Centre in week three, which catapulted them into the national rankings for the first time in school history nine days later.
“Those [moments] are big for the program, as it has started to gain some national attention,” Coleman said. “I hope the younger guys will only be able to improve on that and continue the upward trend.”
For Thoms and Coleman however, they won’t be here to see that upward trend continue. Saturday represented their last game in uniform, as well as the 12 other members of the team who will be graduating at the end of the year.
“It was a little weird,” Coleman said. “Football is a game that can’t be recreated like other sports. But once the game started it was just like any other one, and we were focused on trying to get the win.”
“It’s hard not to think about it being your last collegiate game ever,” Thoms said.
The team will be saying goodbye to a group of players that oversaw possibly the biggest run of success in the modern era of the football team. The group had a 24–14 record over their four years at the University, including 2014’s UAA conference championship. While the squad aimed to ascend to even greater heights this year in their new SAA conference, they still achieved more than almost any other class of football players ever has at the University of Chicago.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of senior guys to go through all four years with,” Thoms said. “Those friendships will outlast any disappointments I may have.”