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Guelph at Queen's 20070909
The Queen's Golden Gaels improved their OUA record to 2-0 with a hard fought 26-14 win over the Guelph Gryphons in Kingston Sunday afternoon. The Gaels took the lead four minutes into the game when redshirt freshman Dan Village connected on a 22 yard field goal. Almost six minutes later with Queen's having pinned the Gryphons deep in their own territory, Guelph punter Ray Maver conceded a safety to make it 5-0. The rest of the first quarter and most of the second the two teams’ defences took over with the punters being the busiest players on the field.
Late in the first half Guelph quarterback Justin Dunk hit Zach Stacey on a 42 yard pass that took the visitors inside the Queen's 20. A couple of plays later Dunk hit offensive tackle Ryan Bomben on an eight yard touchdown pass with just 38 seconds left to give Guelph a 7-5 halftime lead.
Guelph opened the second half with the ball and proceeded to drive from their 32 all the way to the Gaels one where Dunk on third and goal ran in for the touchdown and a 14-5 Guelph lead. However, the game turned on the Gaels next offensive play as quarterback Danny Brannagan hit second year receiver Devan Sheahan on a 79 yard touchdown pass to pull the Tricolour within two. With momentum clearly swinging their way the Gaels took their next possession and drove the field behind a key 32 yard run by Mike Giffin. Giffin then scored his third touchdown of the season on a 2 yard run with under three minutes left in the third quarter giving Queen's a 19-14 lead. The Gaels iced the game midway through the fourth when Brannagan found receiver Rob Bagg down the middle for a 35 yard touchdown pass.
Guelph could not muster any offence the rest of the way and the game ended with Queen's knocking down a pass in their endzone. Overall Mike Giffin led the Gaels on the ground with his second straight 100 yard game of the season gaining 115 on 25 carries. Brannagan was 15 for 32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns with Bagg catching 8 passes for 96 yards and a score. For Guelph last year’s OUA Rookie of the Year Nick FitzGibbon was held to 29 yards on 12 carries but he also caught 4 passes for 44 yards. Dunk was 15 for 38 for 225 yards, a touchdown and one interception but completed just 7 of his last 24 attempts in the second half for only 66 yards. The Gaels now 2-0 host 1-1 McMaster on Saturday September 15th. - Bill Miklas
Comeback Kids do it again; Gaels rally for second straight victory, by Claude Scilley – Kingston Whig Standard
It might be exciting for fans and euphoric for players, but the pattern the Queen's Golden Gaels have established early this year for winning football games is not endearing for coach Pat Sheahan. "That won't be a formula for success, waiting until midway through the third quarter to come alive," Sheahan said yesterday, after his team did just that in a 26-14 Ontario University Athletics victory over the visiting Guelph Gryphons.
A crowd of 4,622 braved chilly, sometimes rainy conditions to watch the Gaels improve their early-season record to 2-0. "We're going to have to make more plays in the first half because those big explosion plays late in the second half are not always going to be there." For the second week in a row, the Queen's offence in the first half looked like it was making it up as it went along. While the Tricolour defence prevented Guelph from making a single first down in the opening period - indeed, didn't allow the Gryphons to cross midfield until the game's 25th minute - the Queen's offence could manage just a 20-yard field goal from Dan Village. "We hung out defence out a little bit in that respect," Queen's quarterback Danny Brannagan said.
It was hugely problematic, then, when Guelph scored in the final minute of the first half. It became even more worrisome to the Gaels when, after they elected to kick off to start the second half, Guelph made the decision backfire by marching 80 yards for another touchdown and a 14-5 lead. "All of a sudden we look up on the scoreboard and see that we're actually losing a game we felt we should be winning," Brannagan said. "That kicked it in for us, set off a spark. We knew we had to answer back." On the very next play, Brannagan found Devan Sheahan for a 79-yard touchdown pass. By all accounts, it was a pivotal play in the ball game.
"You felt the momentum shift and we never got it back," said Guelph coach Kyle Walters. "At 14-5, we could have made a defensive stand, had good field position and we could have gone for the jugular but it never happened. "A young team has more ups and downs than a veteran group. We were so high after going up 14-5 and immediately you get punched in the stomach. It's tough to get it back."
Brannagan didn't necessarily intend to throw the bomb on the play in question. "There are a lot of options, depending on what the defence does," the quarterback explained. "The safety had cheated over and left Devan deep down the seam. "It was pretty big. Whenever you have a big play like that it shows this is what we can do on any play. It lets everyone know our offence is capable of such plays. It's reaffirming." Sheahan said the big play by his son was timely. "Our emotional ebb couldn't have taken too much more adversity at that point," said the coach. "What it did was re-establish our intensity. I sensed we came alive a little bit there. Everybody got ignited on that. A big explosion play like that gets everybody's blood boiling a little bit."
Guelph didn't have another first down until after Queen's had scored two more touchdowns, one by Mike Giffin before the third quarter ended and the other by Rob Bagg, on a pass from Brannagan, midway through the fourth quarter. Pat Sheahan said his players are learning to deal with adversity. "I suspect with this group every week we'll have a new problem to deal with. We got a few chances to score in the second half and we made the most of them. To score 21 [points] in a row was good for us. We took charge." Sheahan said his players should not get accustomed to pulling games out at their leisure. "Our playmakers played when they had to today but that won't be enough as we go forward. We have to work harder and we have to work smarter."
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2007, but may be used for personal non-commercial use, or by Queen's University or the Vanier Cup with appropriate photo credit, unless otherwise authorized.
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, except as noted, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights, including for all corporate and media use, are strictly reserved, and any use of these photographs without the author’s express written consent is prohibited.