The Maroon football team will face a new set of challenges this season, returning to the Midwest Conference, a highly competitive regional conference, after playing in the Southern Athletic Association for the past two years. Three games into their season, the Maroons are handling the higher level of competition well, taking two tough losses and one win so far.
Facing Case Western Reserve University, currently ranked No. 22 in the country, in their first game of the season, the team started out hot offensively, earning two touchdowns early in the first quarter. Case struck back with a touchdown of their own, and the game stayed at 14–7 through halftime. The Maroons unfortunately could not hold onto their lead, as the Case quarterback found his receivers routinely and led his team to a 34–14 victory. In another non-conference matchup, the Maroons faced Wash U and again were dealt a tough loss. The South Siders briefly held a three-point lead in the first quarter, but the Bears quickly scored to take the lead back before halftime and maintained it for the rest of the game. Yet again, the Maroon offense could not find the end zone in the second half, and the Bears came away with a 28–12 win. The Maroons quickly rebounded from these disappointments last weekend to beat conference foe Illinois College 28–7. The Maroon offense maintained their excellence the whole game, scoring in every quarter. The defense, not to be outdone, held the Blueboys scoreless until the last nine minutes of play.
Chicago football has been boosted by some fantastic individual performances, notably from first-year cornerback Ryan Montgomery and first-year defensive tackle Jackson Ross. Both have received UAA Athlete of the Week honors for their performances against Wash U and Illinois College, respectively. Ross dominated defensively against the Blueboys with seven tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Montgomery also made his presence felt defensively with 14 tackles and two interceptions against the Bears. He currently leads the team in tackles.
Looking ahead, the Maroons are facing Cornell College in another Midwest Conference matchup. The Rams are currently 2–1 and coming off of a massive offensive effort in their most recent game, in which they scored seven touchdowns just in the first half. This game will certainly challenge the South Siders’ defense, but fourth-year Chandler Carroll believes that his team is ready. “I think we have learned to compete again. In the years past, we have been so caught up with wins and losses that we forgot to compete. Competition has been instilled in our team this year,” Carroll said. Learning from past mistakes is a key to success, and Carroll believes his team has come away from their first three games with some valuable insights. “Our mindset has changed a little bit, which will help us this week. We have moved on from being fearful of making mistakes to just having fun and playing football,” Carroll said.