It was lucky sevens for the Yellowjackets as UR hit the jackpot against the University of Chicago Maroons, scoring seven touchdowns en route to a 48-17 rout Saturday at Fauver Stadium. Freshman running back Pat O’Brien led the way, notching four touchdown runs before the half to give the Yellowjackets a comfortable 34-3 lead coasting into the second half. The win improves UR’s record to 3-4 overall -1-1 in the UAA – while Chicago drops to 1-6 overall – 0-2 in the UAA.

The contest was free of the fumbles and interceptions that have weighed down the Yellowjackets in recent weeks, and except for an interception in the mid-third quarter the Yellowjackets allowed no turnovers. On the contrary, it was UR that was able to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes, instead of vice versa.

A fumble forced by senior captain Sam Snowden and recovered by senior defensive back Buck Penderzolli on Chicago’s one-yard line set up the first touchdown of the game, as O’Brien easily maneuvered one yard into the end-zone for the score.

Senior Kicker Chris Johnston’s extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score 6-0 early in the first quarter.

“We established a real physical presence on the field early in the game,” Head Coach Mark Kreydt said. “We made a clear statement before the half that we came out to play.”

After a quick four-and-out by the Maroons, the Yellowjacket offense retook the field starting on their own 30-yard line. O’Brien broke free of the Chicago defenders on the second play of the series, romping for 34 yards before being brought down by Maroon Anno Fasoranti.

A face-mask penalty against the visitors carried UR another 15 yards and within two plays the Yellowjackets were 14 yards from their second touchdown. The boon was almost lost as O’Brien fumbled at the 11-yard line, but sophomore quarterback Aaron Molisani caught hold, losing two yards but recovering possession.

Molisani completed an 11-yard pass to senior receiver Brian Ferris followed by a three-yard touchdown run by O’Brien. Johnston kicked the point after touchdown to round out a 13-0 lead.

The Maroons ended UR’s shutout on the next series, driving 69 yards in 14 plays to UR’s six-yard line. The defense held out, however, denying the touchdown and forcing Chicago to settle for a 23-yard field goal instead.

Senior defensive back Kassim Howell returned the following kickoff 17 yards to give the Yellowjackets excellent field position on their 35-yard line. Three plays later, UR’s offense had advanced to Chicago’s 27-yard line. O’Brien then smashed 27 yards to the goal-line for his third touchdown.

The Yellowjackets then took to the air with slightly less success, although Molisani still completed 15 of 24 attempted passes. UR then spent much of the second quarter perfecting a run-pass formula that succeeded in bringing home another two touchdowns before halftime, a two-yard touchdown run by O’Brien and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Molisani to Ferris.

“Our plan is always to find the right mix that gets us in the end-zone,” Kreydt said. “I felt that early in the game we could run the ball against Chicago, and any time we can establish a running game it allows more opportunities to pass later.”

The halftime break did nothing to cool UR’s fire, as the Yellowjackets scored yet another touchdown on their first possession of the third quarter with a 54-yard bomb from Molisani to senior receiver Patrick Roman.

Chicago’s first touchdown of the game was set-up by an interception from sophomore quarterback Pat Manuel by Colin Carrier, who returned the pick-off 42 yards to the Yellowjacket 7-yard line. Quarterback Phil Marino hit Frank Brown with a three-yard touchdown pass making it 41-10.

UR scored its final touchdown seconds into the fourth quarter as Molisani ran a bootleg and escaped defenders, running 68 yards down the sideline.

The score was followed by the Maroons’ only capable drive of the game, a 68 yard nine-play drive that climaxed with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Marc Zera to Andrew Maloney.

“It was really a positive day from start to finish,” Kreydt said. “We felt in control and were able to play some younger players and gain valuable experience. Hopefully we will be able to take this momentum on the road with us next week.”

The Yellowjackets will have a challenge next Sunday as they hit the road and travel to St. Louis to take on the Washington University in St. Louis Bears. Traveling can take a toll on the team, but Yellowjackets will need to continue playing turnover-free football while summoning enough offensive potency to give the Bears some bad news.

Schloss can be reached at aschloss@campustimes.org.



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