CHICAGO -- With a 13-10 win over Washington (Mo.) University Saturday at Stagg Field, the University of Chicago football team captured the University Athletic Association championship and bolstered its chances of receiving its first bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Chicago improved to 8-2 overall and claimed its fourth UAA title -- and first since 2005 -- with a 3-0 mark in league play. The Maroons remain in contention for one of three NCAA playoff berths reserved for teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences. ESPN News will announce the field Sunday at 2 p.m. (CT).
Jeff Sauer's 27-yard field goal with 4:04 left in the third quarter proved to be the winning margin.
The field goal, his second of the day, capped a 13-play, 47-yard drive that featured a key completion from Marshall Oium to Clay Wolff on 3rd-and-9 from the Washington 42.
Washington (7-3, 2-1) had a chance to tie the game with 7:39 left in the game, but Eric Chalifour's 38-yard field goal try sailed wide right.
The Bears got the ball back three plays later when Nick Hillard intercepted Oium at the Chicago 23 and returned it to the 13.
Washington had first-and-goal from the Chicago 1, but the Maroons stopped consecutive running plays and a pass attempt on third down. Chalifour then missed a 22-yard field goal attempt wide left with 5:03 left in the game, and the Maroons ran out the clock.
Chicago opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a Sauer 22-yard field goal. Oium and Dee Brizzolara hooked up on three pass plays covering 42 yards on the 10-play, 63-yard drive.
Washington answered with a seven-play, 85-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown strike from Steve Sherman to Brennan Fox. Sherman completed 15 of 29 attempts for 190 yards on the afternoon.
Chicago took a 10-7 halftime lead when it moved 85 yards on 14 plays, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Oium to Brizzolara with :43 left in the period.
Oium was 17 for 36 for 186 yards on the day. He connected with Brizzolara eight times for 115 yards and found Wolff on seven occasions for 56 yards.
Washington opened the second half with a 13-play, 73-yard march and tied the game at 10-10 when Chalifour hit a 35-yard field goal.
Washington outgained the Maroons 316-256 and held a 32:04 to 27:56 edge in time of possession.
Jim O'Brien rushed for 75 yards on 26 carries as the Maroons held Washington to an average of 2.9 yards on 35 running plays with nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
At 8-2, Chicago matched its winningest season in 105 years. Chicago also finished 8-2 back in 1995.
Chicago regained possession of the Founders Cup, for which the Maroons and Bears have battled since 1987. Chicago has claimed the trophy twice in the past three years.
Chicago finished the regular season undefeated in five games at Stagg Field for the first time since 1998 and with a six-game winning streak for the first time since 1913.