Western Mustangs served notice Saturday night that it doesn’t matter who you are, or how good you might be—they’ve got an ass-kicking reserved for everyone.
This time it was the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, a .500 team that gave the Guelph Gryphons all they could handle a week ago, who were no match for the Mustangs, who went to Waterloo and administered a 59-9 whipping before a crowd of 3,368 at University Stadium for their third consecutive victory.
The first two wins were gained with relative ease, against Windsor and York, but Laurier was expected to be a more formidable foe after losing 30-19 against Guelph in a game where the Hawks marched downfield three straight times in the fourth quarter, succumbing only when two of those drives ended with interceptions in the red zone.
Western made the possibility of such late-game heroics unlikely when it scored five touchdowns in the first half, two of them less than a minute apart late in the second quarter, the last of which came on a 25-yard return of an intercepted James Fracas pass by Nick Vanin.
Ben Kelly’s 46-yard field goal on the final play of the first half left the Mustangs with a 38-0 lead at the break.
Vanin’s TD was the second pick-six in the game for Western. Clay Harris went 20 yards to the end zone with a Fracas pass in the game’s fifth minute, giving the Mustangs their first touchdown.
Western was four yards shy of 800 yards of total offence, divided almost fairly evenly—452 to 349—between rushing and passing, but it was a day to shine for the Western defence. Besides the two interceptions, the Mustangs sacked Fracas six times, three of them by Ricky Osei-Kusi.
Will Finch was 25-for-33 for 385 yards and three touchdowns for the Mustangs. Matt Uren caught 10 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns for Western, as Alex Taylor carried the football 10 times for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Again the Mustangs distributed the ball, with 12 different receivers catching passes from Finch and backup Stevenson Bone, who ended the game 6-for-12.
For the second game in a row, Laurier’s Dillon Campbell was held to less than 100 yards on the ground. The senior from Whitby had gone 10 straight games with 100 yards or better rushing, but on this night he was held to 74 yards from 13 carries.
Elsewhere Saturday in Ontario University Athletics, for the second time this year the McMaster Marauders staged a second-half comeback, this time to defeat the visiting Ottawa Gee-Gees 57-42; the Carleton Ravens thumped the Windsor Lancers 62-16, Guelph stayed undefeated with a 49-22 win over the Lions at York and the Queen’s Golden Gaels overcame some early difficulties to defeat the Waterloo Warriors 47-24 (http://www.sportkingston.ca/index.php/articles-edit/3367.html).
Playing in Hamilton, the Gee-Gees moved ahead 35-24 when Lewis Ward kicked a 47-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but it took just over three minutes for the Marauders to answer with a touchdown, when Asher Hastings connected with Aaron Baker to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
The Gee-Gees gave up a safety on their next possession and McMaster scored again before the third quarter was over, on a 61-yard pass from Hastings to Daniel Vandervoort, his second touchdown of the day.
McMaster, which scored 31 second-half points to beat Toronto on Opening Day in a game it trailed 26-17 at one point, finished with 520 yards of total offence. Hastings was 24-for-35 for 373 yards and five touchdowns, with Dan Petermann catching six balls for 135 yards. Wayne Moore had 132 yards rushing for the Marauders, from 12 carries.
Kingston’s Mitch O’Connor had one catch for 23 yards.
Ottawa quarterback Derek Wendel was 24-for-46 for 301 yards, with Ian Stewart (six catches, 93 yards) and Mitch Baines (seven catches, 70 yards) the leading receivers. The Gee-Gees were unable to mount any sort of running game whatsoever, with Bryce Vieira, coming off a 110-yard game against Queen’s last week, gaining 41 of Ottawa’s 69 yards on the ground.
Ward, the Bayridge Seconday School grad, had field goals of 41 and 47 yards. Sydenham High School grad Ben Fisher caught three passes for 22 yards.
At Windsor, Carleton scored 22 points in the first quarter, the Ravens led 37-0 at halftime and it was 51-0 before the Lancers got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter. The Ravens had 552 yards of offence but it was the Carleton defence that ruled the day, sacking Windsor quarterbacks five times, intercepting four passes and holding the Lancers to just 81 yards rushing.
Jesse Mills, 17 of 22, threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns for Carleton, as the Ravens utilized 12 different receivers. Tailback Jahvari Bennett carried 18 times for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Liam Putt was 14-for-28 for the Lancers. Beau Lumley had six catches for 188 yards and a touchdown for Windsor.
In Toronto, Guelph seemed determined to get the most of quarterback James Roberts, who, despite a two-touchdown lead, was not only still in the game with less than five minutes to play, but still carrying the football. He scored on a one-yard run with 4:32 to play.
In a game he would finish 20-for-32 for 231 yards, Roberts would throw two touchdown passes, but also be intercepted five times.
Johnny Augustine rushed for 88 yards and had three one-yard touchdown runs for the Gryphons. He also caught five passes for 98 yards. D’Adre Fraser had eight catches for 92 yards for Guelph.
Jahmari Bennett’s 115-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter was the highlight of the day for winless York which, despite the score, possessed the ball for more than 33 minutes, almost seven minutes more than Guelph.
This week, two of the league’s remaining undefeated teams, McMaster, 2-0, and Guelph, 3-0, will meet in Guelph. Queen’s, 2-1, will be the next team to try and survive the Western meat grinder in London, while something has to give at Waterloo, where York visits and both teams are 0-3. In the other game, Carleton, 2-1, entertains Toronto, 1-1. Laurier has the week off.