Freshman kicker Miles MacKenzie drilled a 34-yard field goal with :03 left in the first half to give Ohio Wesleyan a 10-7 lead, but Chicago scored a pair of second-half touchdowns to take a 21-10 non-conference win over the Bishops on Saturday at Selby Stadium.
The Bishop defense made life miserable for Chicago quarterback Vincent Cortina, intercepting passes on the Maroons' first 2 possessions and forcing fumbles on the next 2.
First, it was senior safety Keegan Varner picking off a Cortina pass near midfield, setting up a 37-yard field goal attempt by MacKenzie that misfired, the Bishop kicker's first miss of the season.
On Chicago's ensuing possession, junior defensive tackle Tyler Swary picked off a screen pass and returned it to the Chicago 41.
The Bishops took advantage of the excellent field position, and aided by a pair of Chicago pass interference penalties -- one on a fourth-and-7 call from the Bishop 21 -- along with an 11-yard strike from sophomore quarterback Mason Espinosa to senior tight end Pat Embleton, Ohio Wesleyan moved to a first down at the Maroons' 14-yard line. Two plays later, Espinosa found freshman tight end Calvin Cagney in the right flat, and Cagney went over to complete an 8-yard scoring play that gave Ohio Wesleyan a 7-0 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan got the ball back after Varner forced a Cortina fumble at the Bishop 41-yard line and sophomore defensive end Jonathan Valentine fell on the ball at the Ohio Wesleyan 35, but the Bishop offense went 3-and-out, and Chicago's Dee Brizzolara returned a MacKenzie punt 51 yards to the Bishop 27-yard line.
Chicago moved into the red zone as Ian Gaines ran for 15 yards on first down, but on second down from the Ohio Wesleyan 9, Cortina lost the handle on the football and sophomore linebacker Justin Segal recovered to preserve the Bishop lead.
The Maroons forced a punt, however, and Kevin Shelton replaced Cortina at the helm of the Maroon offense. The move paid off when Shelton hit Tom Bemenderfer for 26 yards on third-and-8 from the OWU 42, and Gaines picked up another first down with a 4-yard gain on third-and-3 from the OWU 9. Ohio Wesleyan's defense came up with one big play, with junior linebacker Tyler Sheetz and Swary dumping Francis Adarkwa for a 2-yard loss on second down. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the OWU 2, the Maroons gambled, and it paid off when Shelton found Brandon Meckelberg for the tying touchdown.
After a trade of punts, the Bishops took over at their own 30 with 1:40 left in the half, and Espinosa ran a nifty 2-minute drill, connecting with sophomore split end Dave Mogilnicki for 21 yards, finding freshman halfback Kevin Herman for another first down, then hitting Mogilnicki for 19 yards and a first down at the Chicago 17. After a couple of incompletions, MacKenzie came on for a 34-yard field goal try and split the uprights for a 10-7 Bishop lead.
Chicago took the lead midway through the third quarter when Shelton found Brizzolara down the right sideline on a 32-yard scoring play, giving the Maroons a 14-10 lead.
The Maroons were content to stay on the ground after that, marching downfield on their next possession to a first down at the Bishop 14 only to stall there. Shelton dropped the snap for a 5-yard loss on third-and-9, and Valentine sniffed out Chicago's fake field goal attempt on fourth down, dragging down holder Cody Edgeworth for a 4-yard loss and giving the Bishops the ball in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Given new life by a roughing-the-kicker penalty that provided one first down, Espinosa moved the Bishops with completions of 12 yards to Embleton on third-and-4 from the OWU 46, 11 yards to Mogilnicki on third-and-9 from the Chicago 41, and 16 yards to freshman split end Scott Jenkins, setting up a first down at the Chicago 14. Facing fourth-and-3 from the Chicago 7-yard line, the Bishops elected to go for the first down and the go-ahead score, but Maroon cornerback Emmett Carrier jumped the route, picked off the pass, and streaked 95 yards for a score that made it a 21-10 game.
The Bishops threatened on their next possession, with Espinosa finding Mogilnicki for 19 yards and a first down, and Espinosa scrambling for 10 yards on a fourth-and-9 situation, but that drive stalled at the Chicago 20-yard line, and the Maroons sealed the win when Arlin Hill picked off an Espinosa pass on the Bishops' final possession.
Espinosa completed 20 of 45 passes for 194 yards and a score. Herman caught 6 passes for 28 yards, and Mogilnicki had 4 catches for 70 yards. Freshman fullback Garrison Davis led the Bishops with 28 yards on 6 rushes.
Defensive standouts for the Bishops included Sheetz, who had a team-high 13 tackles; senior defensive tackle John Warrell, who made 11 stops, including 1 for loss; and junior defensive end James Huddleston, who recorded 10 tackles.
Shelton completed 5 of 6 passes for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns, with Bemenderfer catching 3 passes for 48 yards. Ross-Nash led Chicago rushers with 87 yards on 18 carries.
Schuyler Montefalco led the Maroon defense with 10 tackles, including a sack, and a pass breakup.