CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago football team used a stellar defensive effort to earn its first shutout in six years by a 10-0 margin over Allegheny College on Saturday.
The Maroons and the Gators are now both 3-2 on the season. Chicago's last shutout came in 2006 with a season-opening 55-0 win over Concordia University Chicago.
The first strike came from the hosts on their third drive of the first quarter. Chicago started with prime field position in Allegheny territory at the 48-yard-line. Quarterback Vincent Cortina zipped a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Dee Brizzolara, then followed that up with an 11-yard scramble of his own. The Gators defense responded by tightening up and forced a fourth down and 12 yards to go. Chicago chose to go for it, and the gamble paid off. Cortina lofted up a pass to wideout Sam Coleman in the end zone, which the freshman reeled in for a 29-yard touchdown.
That was all the scoring either side could muster for the next two-and-a-half quarters. Both defenses were on their games, keeping drives short and ineffective. The Maroons consistently won the battle for field position thanks to punter Jeff Sauer. The senior boomed a number of big punts, including a trio that traveled 53, 59 and 62 yards.
Chicago's defenders came up big when it mattered. Linebacker Alex Dzierbicki stonewalled a rush on 4-and-2 at the Chicago 24-yard-line in the second quarter. On the very next drive, linebacker Ben Wade intercepted a pass just as Allegheny was crossing midfield. Cornerback Vincent Beltrano opened the fourth quarter by stopping his man two yards short on a fourth down at Chicago's 15. Beltrano then forced a fumble on fourth down at the Chicago 37 on Allegheny's final drive of the game.
Sauer provided insurance points by banging through a 36-yard field goal with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter.
In the final statistics, the Maroons limited the Gators to only 182 yards of total offense. The run defense was particularly stout, only allowing 39 yards on 28 carries (1.4 yards per carry). Wade was a catalyst in the middle of the field as the junior had a game-high 13 tackles with one interception. Dzierbicki ended up with 10 tackles and Beltrano made nine stops. Defensive linemen Michael Cifor (four tackles) and Scott Mainquist (six tackles) tallied one sack each.
Offensively, Chicago ran for 100 yards and passed for 170. Cortina completed 14 of 28 with one touchdown. Freshman Justin Waney was the leading rusher with 33 yards. Brizzolara led the receiving corps with seven catches for 80 yards. Coleman added 61 yards on five receptions.
The Maroons will next travel to Wittenberg University for a 1 PM (ET) game next Saturday.