As the OUA season waves goodbye to September, critical games remain for the conference. This past weekend, four of the five home teams got the message, and blew out their visiting opponents. The losing clubs played well, but it was not enough to keep the opposing offenses from having quintessential clinics.
The Queen’s Golden Gaels-Toronto Varsity Blues game may have come down to the wire, but the Blues were not in any condition to win outright.
The Blues, with a meagre eight rushing yards, three lost fumbles and 120 penalty yards, disciplined themselves out of this game. They did keep the contest competitive—QB Andrew Gillis’ 277 passing yards and the stellar Blues defence was able to keep the Blues close—but a lack of offensive execution eventually killed the momentum. The torrential downpour on Friday in Toronto certainly didn’t help either team.
With only a productive kicking game to put them over the top, the Gaels should still be worried too. Gaels quarterback Billy McPhee only threw 91 passing yards for the game, and the team lost two fumbles.
#10 Ottawa 16
Did you see this coming? Knocking off ranked teams are common, but a 51–16 thumping of the newly-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees? Put it this way, coming into this game with a three-game losing streak, the Hawks nonetheless averaged 34 points in those losses. Those are scary good numbers, and the Hawks were due.
Fifth-year Laurier quarterback Shane Kelly went off, with 348 passing yards and four touchdowns. The team got a 13–0 lead after the first quarter, and never looked back. What a way to celebrate 100 years of a university!
Despite thumping the Blues 41–0 the week before, how good are the Gee-Gees, anyway? On one hand, they are in the middle of the OUA pack, and basically out of the Top 10 this week. They also face Windsor and McMaster to finish off the regular season. On the other hand, they do face the York Lions (also known as the York Sacrificial Lambs). Personally, they should be okay if they refocus on defence. After all, the team put up over 450 net offensive yards.
#2 Western 48
Could you have expected anything more from the bottom-dwelling York Lions? To go on the road against one of the nation’s best is more than a challenge. But, the squad managed to put up some points in a 43–28 spanking.
Going up 10–6 after the first quarter, the Lions registered 271 net offensive yards, including over 200 yards in the air. WR William Austin was a positive for the squad, catching 138 from QB Dimitar Sevdin. DB Jordan Nugent recorded six solo tackles in a losing effort.
But, this game was a Mustangs running clinic. RB Tyler Varga tore it up with 197 yards rushing—659 yards thus far this season—and RB Nathan Riva, who seems to be forgotten by most outside of Mustang nation, recorded 137 rushing yards. Producing in the running game should not be a problem for the squad, but they have other issues to address. A total 182 penalty yards and two lost fumbles could be the difference between Yates Cup champion and mediocrity.
#6 McMaster 46
This was the script of this drama: the Marauders marched ahead 43–0 in the first three quarters, and let it hang out in the fourth. The tale of the tape also recorded over 700 net offensive yards, 24 first downs, and 160 return yards for the Marauders. If you thought the removal of QB Kyle Quinlan would have messed up the team’s winning equation, then you should take a second look at this squad. They’re good, simple as that.
As for Waterloo, results for their key players are showing positive growth. WR Dustin Zender caught 162 yards, and three players recorded five solo tackles each (Brendan Conway, Djordje Gavrilovic, and Brad Morton). The quarterbacks also put up over 250 passing yards. They may be abysmal all-around (continuing the York Lions/Lambs joke, how about the Waterloo Civilians?), but at least they’re not giving up on games.
For a team that is second in the conference (4–1, though third on the tiebreaker with Mac), the Lancers are certainly continuing to deliver smart, methodical football to the OUA masses.
In their victory over the reeling Guelph Gryphons, they ran for over 200 yards, and kept the Gryphons from running for over 61. The running was done by committee, lead by RB Shomari Grant and Austin Kennedy. Anyone facing the Lancers in the playoffs will have a problem with these two fellows, bar none.
On defence, the Lancers may have to refocus on the pass, as two Gryphon touchdowns were through the air—QB Jazz Lindsey threw for 200 yards in the process. The Lancers have allowed 260 yards per game this season.
The Lancers have Queen’s, Ottawa, and York for the remainder of this season. They should have plenty of time to work on their pass defence.