It was difficult to tell which football teams had more to be thankful for Thursday night—the Western Mustangs and McMaster Marauders, for the decisive victories they posted, or the Toronto Blues and Waterloo Warriors, that the terrible beatings they were being given finally stopped.
In Toronto, the Mustangs scored 27 points in the second quarter, including three touchdowns in the final two and a half minutes of the first half, on their way to a 58-2 win over the Varsity Blues. Down the QEW in Hamilton, McMaster quarterback Asher Hastings set an Ontario University Athletics record, throwing four touchdown passes to lead the Marauders to a 55-7 win over Waterloo.
Hastings, a third-year student and first-year starter from Regina, has 25 touchdown passes in just six games this year, surpassing the previous record of 24 TD passes in a season, set in 2003 by Tom Denison of Queen’s and matched in 2008 by Danny Brannagan, also of Queen’s. Hastings has two games left—against Laurier and Western—to chase the CIS record of 30, set by Chris Flynn of Saint Mary’s in 1989.
The record-breaking throw was a three-yard toss to Chris Pezzetta at 13:04 of the second quarter.
Hastings was 14-for-19 on the night for 174 yards. He was interception-free for the third game in a row, and the fifth time in six games. He has thrown just two interceptions in 200 pass attempts this year.
A 75-yard punt return for touchdown by Jordan Lyons two minutes into the game sent the Marauders on their way. Kingston’s Mitch O’Connor caught four passes for 89 yards and Dan Petermann had two touchdown receptions for McMaster, which improved to 5-1.
Jonathan Biggs, who had thrown just one pass all year, completed six of 17 attempts in the first start of his career for Waterloo. He spent a lot of time on his back, however, getting sacked six times.
Western’s Alex Taylor rushed for 203 yards and George Johnson caught six passes for 171 yards as the No. 3-ranked Mustangs remained undefeated six games into their season. Yannick Harou, Taylor and rookie receiver Jamal Kett each scored two touchdowns while quarterback Will Finch completed 27 of 41 passes for 473 yards.
The Mustangs gained 764 yards of total offence, which meant they could shrug off 175 yards in penalties.
Toronto back Alex Malone, a game after his league season-best 257-yard rushing performance against York, managed just 31 yards from 10 carries as the Varsity Blues suffered what is likely a fatal blow to their playoff aspirations, falling to 2-4.
Play resumes Friday night, when Laurier hosts Ottawa in a match of 2-3 teams that has serious playoff implications, while York, 1-5, visits Carleton, 4-2.
Queen’s, Windsor and Guelph all have the holiday weekend off.