Well, that weekend certainly didn’t go the way we thought it would. Aside from Waterloo’s performance, that is.
We saw the two OUA favourites play at least one competitive half, two of the worst teams in the country playing in what might have been the worst game of football in history, and the year’s biggest upset (so far, anyway) thanks to some clever usage of the almighty rouge.
#2 Western 48
#3 McMaster 21
Brian Decker has a pretty thorough recap of this one, but I’ll still have a go at the game that was dubbed the Yates Cup preview.
The game looked like it would go back and forth until rookie Tyler Varga took over in the second quarter and absolutely trampled Marauder tacklers. Varga finished the game with 149 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries. He probably broke about 50 tackles in the process.
The Mustangs as a whole ran for 321 yards. Not quite the 499 they put up against the Waterloo Warriors, but it might be even more impressive since it was against a legitimate defence.
But the key to Western’s success was “containing” Hec Crighton favourite Kyle Quinlan. Sure, he completed 21 of 35 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. But he started 8-for-8 with a touchdown, giving Mac a 7-0 lead. So they did manage to adjust to Quinlan as the game went on. Plus, that interception was a pick-six that put the game away.
Quinlan’s opposite number, Donnie Marshall, had a serviceable game completing 14 of 23 for 235 yards and one interception. The passing numbers weren’t great, but his 79 yards on the ground were pretty important.
But a word of warning to any overconfident Mustang fans for that potential Yates Cup meeting. The game could have been very different if not for a couple awful drops of sure touchdowns, and Mac’s inability to break the plane on three attempts right before the half.
It’s hard to make anyone forget about a Hec Crighton winner, and Gee-Gees quarterback Aaron Colbon certainly isn’t doing it. But he has been pretty successful, earning OUA player of the week honours last week. This week, he threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second quarter to blow a close game wide open. Though, he did complete less than 40% of his passes, so it’s not all good for Colbon.
His counterpart Billy McPhee completed half of his passes for 208 yards. So why has the Queen’s offence been so bad? Well, they totalled 63 rushing yards on 21 carries, while the offensive line allowed McPhee to be sacked four times for a total loss of 31 yards. In comparison, Gee-Gees running back Brendan Gillanders had 161 yards rushing by himself.
Ottawa now gets the displeasure of driving to London to take on the Mustangs' running game, while Queen’s will host a slightly embarrassed Laurier Golden Hawks team.
The 42nd annual Red & Blue Bowl was clearly a barnburner. Okay, it was probably the worst game in football history for three quarters, but it ended with its fair share of excitement.
The Blues had a 10 play, 54 yard drive with the game on the line and kicker Andrew Lomasney hit a 37 yarder for his third field goal of the game and the winning score.
Quarterback Andrew Gillis didn’t have his best game, completing 19 of 39 for 268 yards and an interception. But receiver Alex Pierzchalski (9 receptions for 127 yards) and tailback Aaron Milton (114 yards on 19 carries) shouldered the offensive load for Toronto.
York didn’t have much to write home about on offence with their two quarterbacks (Nick Coutu, Dimitar Sevdin) combining to complete 13 of 31 passes for 152 yards. Blair Yachetti was one of the only bright spots, rushing for 83 yards.
The Lions, at the very least, can take a little solace out of their opening two games. Their defence is looking a bit better than last season. With Waterloo on the schedule, they might have a chance to end their massive losing streak. Toronto, on the other hand, will get the pleasure of finally appearing on The Score next week in what will surely be a one-sided game (at least they will get to show off that nice stadium).
On the bright side for Waterloo, this game definitely went better than their first. They ran for eight times as many yards as the first game (85 in total). The defence allowed over 100 yards fewer and held Guelph to only 181 yards rushing. Receiver Dustin Zender continues to impress, catching nine balls for 97 yards after his two TD performance in week one.
That’s all for the positives they had in this game. Evan Martin threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, but also had 5 picks. The Warriors also had a fumble lost.
Gryphons QB Chris Rossetti rebounded well from the beating against Ottawa, throwing for 241 yards and four touchdowns on 11 of 16 passing. Receiver Dillon Dimitroff had 163 yards receiving and a touchdown while Jedd Gardner had 128 all-purpose yards.
Guelph takes on Toronto next week on national television while Waterloo’s season probably rests on next week’s home game against the York Lions.
#8 Laurier 40
If you love wackiness and punting like I do, there is nothing like Canadian football.
On the last play of the game with the scores tied at 40, Windsor opted to attempt to punt a rouge, despite being well within field goal range. Dan Cerino’s kick didn’t have the leg and was caught by Golden Hawk receiver Dillon Heap, who punted it back out of the end zone. Cerino caught Heap’s punt and punted the ball again, back through the end zone this time, to earn that rouge and the victory. I’ll never get tired of watching this play.
Despite the finish, Windsor started poorly. QB Sam Malian completed 2 of 5 for 36 yards before injuring his leg and making way for backup Austin Kennedy. The young Kennedy was superb (if I had a player of the week vote, here’s who I’d choose) completing 25 of 37 for 443 yards and 5 touchdowns while running for 112 yards.
Windsor netted 636 yards total on offence. Are you kidding me?
Laurier's faces are sure going to be red because of that rouge, especially since it was their home opener (To the Laurier frosh: hopefully your next four years go better than your first introduction to Golden Hawk football).
But at least Shane Kelly is looking good at the quarterback position. Kelly needed to prove himself after a subpar, injury-filled season last year and perhaps did so after completing 21 of 33 for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. Anton Bennett ran for 132 yards on 20 carries and contributed one rushing and one receiving touchdown.
Also, former quarterback and current defensive back Luke Thompson had a game-high 7.5 tackles.
Windsor is still undefeated and gets the pleasure of hosting the Yates Cup hopefuls from McMaster next weekend, by which point they may actually find themselves in the top ten rankings. I am kidding, of course, but good for them nonetheless. Laurier finds themselves in a possible must win against another seriously desperate team when they go to Kingston to take on Queen’s.