CHICAGO, Ill. – Despite over 200 years of combined history among the academic powers, Allegheny and Chicago met on the gridiron for the first time on Saturday at legendary Stagg Field. Unfortunately for the Gator faithful, the Maroons rode an outstanding defensive effort en route to a 10-0 victory.
Saturday's loss marked the first time Allegheny had been shutout since a 3-0 overtime loss to Westminster early in the 2003 season. The Gators' defense played well, especially during the early part of the action where Chicago's average drive start was its own 40-yard line. However, the offense sputtered against an outstanding effort by Chicago's defensive front.
Allegheny, which finished the day with a 182 yards of offense, averaged just 1.4 yards per rush while closing with 39 net yards on the ground. The Gators were just 3-of-13 on third down, and were unable to capitalize on seven first downs off of penalties.
The Maroons manufactured the only touchdown of the day after taking advantage of their best starting field position of the afternoon. A defense that couldn't get a rest through much of the opening frame put Chicago in a fourth-and-12 from the Gators' 29-yard line. Throwing into coverage, Vincent Cortina split the defense while Sam Coleman hauled in a tremendous catch for what was ultimately the game-winning score. Following the point-after, the Maroons moved ahead, 7-0, with three minutes left in the first quarter.
A solid performance by the Blue and Gold defense kept Chicago at bay until a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Sauer with six minutes left in regulation extended the deficit to a pair of possessions. Allegheny, which had its two best drives of the day thwarted on downs, saw its final hopes fade after fumbling in its final series.
Brad Burkley, John Douglas, Bill Devlin and Rick Howser tied for the team lead with eight tackles a piece. Douglas had a sack and two more tackles for loss in extending his team-high for the season to 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Colin Hartford also played well, making three tackles while getting credit for two pass break-ups.
Senior Mike Person finished 24-of-33 for 136 yards, but was intercepted just prior to halftime. Derrick Emigh totaled seven catches for 42 yards, while Andrew Niklaus had six catches for 45 yards.
Chicago's defense fueled the non-conference victory after allowing Allegheny into the red zone just once during the tilt. The Gators, who were converting on fourth down at an 80% clip entering the game, was 0-for-3 in fourth down situations. The Maroons also prevented any big plays, as a 12-yard completion served as Allegheny's longest play of the day.