It took 12 crazy days, but at last, the Pearlman Cup has ended. The contest started on Oct. 10, but took an unfortunate turn, leading to its continuation this past Sunday. After all the chaos, the Daily Campus fell behind by three touchdowns, but their attempted comeback proved futile, as they lost the Pearlman Cup for the 10th time, 42-35.
“It was tough, man,” said associate sports editor and RB Evan Rodriguez. “Going into this one, I knew we had a lot of hope, and I know we all tried hard out there on the field. There’s no room for mistakes when you’re playing a team as loaded as UCTV, but that just means we have to get the future DC group prepared for next year’s matchup.”
The contest started out according to protocol with a coin flip, courtesy of Siri. The Daily Campus won the virtual toss and decided to defer to UCTV. Jon Heidan was under center and rifled a long pass for a first-play touchdown. The DC didn’t let this get their hearts down. It took a few snaps, but new QB and digital producer Lou Dortienzo Jr. took the Fighting Campus Correspondents down the field. He fired a pass to Liam Whelan for the score, and just like that, things were even again at 7-7.
The Static Channels wasted no time striking back as Heidan fired another dart downfield for a second consecutive one-play touchdown. Two offensive plays in UCTV had a pair of touchdowns. Once again, Dortienzo stayed poised. The drive started with some short yardage gains, including a toss to sports editor Stratton Stave. Soon after, Stave had the would-be equalizer slapped out of his hands, but a play later, Nate Torres finished the job, finding the end zone.
UCTV finished their third drive with a short touchdown toss to Kali Reed, a player who had previously been committed to the Fighting Campus Correspondents but flipped at the last minute. Torres and Dortienzo connected for another touchdown, and just like that, things were even at 21.
The teams traded turnover-on-downs, and UCTV was set to take over with 3:16 left in the first half. Then disaster struck: unforeseen darkness in the form of sunset hit the cup, and things halted to a standstill.
Whether it was poor planning or an unusual night where the Sherman Field’s lights didn’t turn on, the game couldn’t be played. With the wet turf and lack of lights, the teams resolved to continue the contest at a later date, this time under the Storrs sun.
The longest Pearlman Cup on record continued a full 12 days later, at the ripe hour of 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22. The Daily Campus experienced significant attrition during the hiatus, with Whelan, Torres and Connor Sargeant all missing from action. That didn’t phase the Fighting Campus Correspondents, though, who continued to fight despite starting the game with just the minimum of seven players
The game resumed from the 3:16 mark, and both teams were ready to go, with UCTV taking the field on offense. It didn’t take them long to pick up from where they left off, with TE Mitch Cohen securing an easy touchdown in the back of the end zone.
With the seconds running off the first half’s clock, the Daily Campus tried to push the ball up the field. Ultimately, there wasn’t enough time to make anything of it, as the Static Channels went into the break up 28-21.
Coming out of halftime, the DC had trouble getting things going. They couldn’t secure a touchdown on the drive and UCTV capitalized on it. Cohen scored another wide-open touchdown, the DC again turned the ball over on downs and things were not looking good for the Fighting Campus Correspondents.
Starting their drive with a chance to take a commanding three-touchdown lead, the Static Channels took to the air. That gamble didn’t pay off, with Stave picking the ball for an interception, narrowly staying in bounds. The Campus had a chance to pull momentum the other way however, Dortienzo chucked the ball over the middle and had it intercepted. UCTV didn’t waste this opportunity, scoring on a deep ball to get ahead 42-21.
At this point, things were not looking good for the Campus as the game entered the final quarter. Not giving up, Dortienzo completed a few passes to Rodriguez and dished the pigskin to Tomas Hinckley, who took it in for a TD.
Even with their first score of the day, the odds were still low for the DC. They needed a stop on the next drive. Associate photo editor Jordan Arnold delivered that stop on fourth down when he secured a beautiful interception to give the Campus hope. Dortienzo got the job done at the other end, connecting with a late-arriving CJ Dexter to make it a one-touchdown game.
However, time was becoming an issue for the Fighting Campus Correspondents, as they needed to force a turnover on downs to even get a chance to tie the game. On fourth down, the Static Channels were inches away from the sticks with 30 seconds left and everything on the line. They completed the pass, effectively ending the game as the clock struck midnight, or, in this case, noon.
“I think as the game went on, we only got better,” Hinckley said. “Regardless of whether or not we had all our players there we still fought hard. Still, we do need to bring the trophy home, so [Connor] Sargeant, Laffy Taffy [Connor Lafferty], [Sam] Calhoun and I got work to do.”
Though on his way out, Stave also has high hopes for the Campus’ future.
“It’s always brutal to be a part of a losing streak,” said Stave. “You look at Columbia football in the 1980s and that’s not something you want to emulate. It would have been great to be a part of the change, but that’s not the way it turned out. I’m just proud of the guys who came back after the first half and fought. I know this team is in good hands, and though I won’t be a part of it, I think they have what it takes to break the curse.”
Their next chance to do just that won’t come until October of next year. Until then, there are rumblings of a basketball game, so keep on the lookout for news on that in the near future.