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Guelph at Queen's - OUA Semi-Final 20131102
All photos are by Jeff Chan. Jeff is past Chairman of the Vanier Cup - Canada's University Football Championship and the Premier University Event in Canada, and was a member of the Canadian College Bowl Board and Vanier Cup Organizing Committee from 1978-2000.
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2000-2013, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by Queen's University, the CIS and its member conferences, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights, including for all corporate use, are reserved.
QUEEN'S 34, GUELPH 17
GAELS YATES BOUND AFTER KNOCKING OFF GRYPHONS 34-17 IN OUA SEMI
By Shawn MacDonald, Queen's Sports Information
The No. 4 Gaels are headed to the Yates Cup after avenging last year's OUA semi-final overtime loss to Guelph with a commanding 34-17 victory in their 14th consecutive win at Richardson Stadium.
"We just battled, it wasn't pretty. but it was a battle," said head coach Pat Sheahan after the win. "We caught them on man coverage on the big play with Macdonell. It was our receivers coach who made the call, and Macdonell beat him.
"Quarterback was good today, he didn't make any mistakes and he played very poised. There were some sacks he took today, that under those conditions at that time, he should've taken them. And that's what you have to do, you don't want to cough up the ball and make a critical error and cost your team the ball game when it's all on the line like that."
Ryan Granberg (Sherwood Park, Alta.) got things rolling early for the Gaels on Saturday, collecting 88 all-purpose yards in the first quarter including a 1-yard run to put Queen's up 7-0 five minutes into the game. Granberg finished the game with two touchdowns, 113 yards on the ground, and 27 receiving yards.
Guelph took the lead 14-13 with 5:38 remaining in the 2nd quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Jazz Lindsey to A'dre Fraser. Daniek Ferraro made it 17-13 with a minute left in the 1st half, scoring the last of Guelph's points.
From there, Queen's scored 21 unanswered points, shutting the Gryphons out in the 2nd half to win the game 34-17. After Guelph conceded two safeties to Queen's, Billy McPhee (Burlington, Ont.) added to his 228 yards passing on the day, with a touchdown pass coming on a 39-yard strike to Scott Macdonell (Montreal). McPhee also contributed with his legs, with a 26 yard run to set up Granberg's second score on the day.
"I'm so proud of my guys everywhere, defense guys did awesome," commented Sam Sabourin. "Offense, special teams, awesome. And a lot of credit goes to the D-line."
The Gaels will play Western at Western in the 106th Yates Cup on November 9, 2013.
On November 14, 2009 the Gaels last faced the Mustangs in the Yates Cup where Queen's took a 43-39 victory. Queen's and McMaster last squared off for the Yates in 2002 where the Marauders bested Queen's 33-19.
GAELS STORM INTO YATES CUP
By Doug Graham, Kingston Whig-Standard
Saturday, November 2, 2013 8:20:36 EDT PM
The Queen's Golden Gaels are on their way to the Yates Cup, making amends for a lost trip to the Ontario University Athletics football championship last year.
The Gaels chased away those demons by sacking the Guelph Gryphons 34-17 Saturday at Richardson Stadium before about 2,500 fans.
It was the same Guelph team which upset Queen's 42-39 in overtime in a similar semifinal meeting last season.
"It has been a long four years (waiting to get back to the Yates Cup)," linebacker Sam Sabourin said.
"We felt like we have underachieved quite a bit. It's awesome right now," added Sabourin, one of the team's stars on a defence which pitched a shutout at the Gryphons in the second half of Saturday's bitterly cold and wet OUA semifinal.
The Gaels trailed 17-16 at half time but rallied in the second half behind quarterback Billy McPhee.
The victory sends the Gaels to the 109th Vanier Cup which will be played in London next Saturday. The undefeated Western Mustangs thumped the McMaster Mauraders in Saturday's other semifinal.
"It feels good to finally be where we think we're supposed to be," said fullback Ryan Granberg who was the best ball carrier on the field with 116 yards including two short touchdown runs.
There was no question, however, the leader for the Gaels was quarterback McPhee, both with his arm and his feet.
It was McPhee's fourth-quarter play, pulling down the ball and taking off for a 25-yard run to the one yardline that set up Granberg's second major, making the score 27-17.
"He recognized it and took off. Too bad he didn't score. He deserved it," head coach Pat Sheahan said. "It was a big play in the ball game."
The Gaels would go on add a final touchdown with six minutes left. McPhee connected on a 37-yard scoring play to a wide open Scott Macdonnell.
However, it was McPhee pulling the ball down and taking off to the one-yard line that lit up the offence.
"They presented the opportunity and we ran with it," McPhee said. "The coach challenged me earlier in the week. If they take away the throwing
opportunities then it was up to me to make plays.
"When the offensive line plays like (it did) it makes it easy. Ryan (Granberg) is a product of their success too. They were the MVPs of the game today by far."
The wind, out of the north, was a factor and indeed it led to a couple of interesting third-quarter decisions by Guelph coach Stu Lang. Twice he called for his team to concede a safety, putting Queen's into a 20-17 lead with the only four points scored in the third quarter.
Indeed the Guelph sidelines were celebratory in the reaction to the end of the third quarter when the Gryphons took over the ball with the benefit of the wind behind them.
Sheahan said McPhee was very good and joked he was driving him nuts because he was so determined not to make a mistake. McPhee had no interceptions and the Gaels did not turn the ball over on offence.
"He didn't want to take any chances and he was right. He played pretty poised,'' Sheahan said.
McPhee was sacked six times but Sheahan said even those losses were the right decisions rather than risk turning the ball over.
While Sheahan called it an interesting strategy choice, McPhee said it was motivation for the offence.
"It was a slap in the face really but it backfired," McPhee said. "They were saying we are going to give you the lead and (with the wind) we are going to take it back. Really it's a slap in the face. There was no other way to look at it."
"We were a little confused," Granberg said. "Our offence wasn't exactly stagnant. We knew we were moving the ball pretty decently."
Whatever Guelph thought was going to be available to them with the wind in its favour wasn't there because of the Queen's defence.
"I can't say enough about our defence. They held (Guelph) pointless in the final 30 minutes," Sheahan said.
McPhee, who finished 15 for 28 in passing with 228 yards, felt the Gaels ability to remain poised when it was still a one-score difference showed a lot to him.
"I think we finally showed the maturity of our team. When things got hairy we hunkered down. We knew how to react," McPhee said.
"Our experience really showed on the sidelines. Especially when plays don't always go your way. It's time to hunker down and prepare to just go out there and keep fighting."
BRILLANT 4TH QUARTER SPARKS GAELS PAST GUELPH
By Claude Scilley, SportKingston
It was, as Queen’s Golden Gaels coach Pat Sheahan described it, an interesting decision.
“If you come back and win the game nobody ever asks you about it.”
Indeed, as it turned out, the Guelph Gryphons’ choice to give up a safety that put the Gaels into the lead of their playoff football game Saturday proved moot, at least in terms of the scoreboard, since the Gaels subsequently scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to cement a 34-17 victory.
But was it?
Perhaps it’s mere coincidence that after an undistinguished period with the wind at their backs, the Gaels found the wherewithal to score those touchdowns against a stiff north breeze. Maybe the Queen’s defence would have played well enough to hold the Gryphons to just 76 scoreless yards of offence, with the wind, in the fourth quarter, anyway.
Or did that safety, and another eight minutes later, fill the Gaels with the requisite resolve to perform so exquisitely, and thereby secure a berth in the Yates Cup championship game next Saturday in London?
Teams will often surrender a safety touch when two points is an appropriate price to pay to gain field position. It is positively rare, however, that a team will do so when it means giving the other team the lead, especially so late in a game. Once they realized what was going on, the Gaels were not amused.
“It was a slap in the face, really,” Queen’s quarterback Billy McPhee said. “There’s no other way to look at it.
“What else are they saying? They’re saying, ‘We’re going to go score. We’re going to give you the lead and we’re going to take it back.’”
That’s exactly what Guelph coach Stu Lang was thinking.
“It was a game of field position,” he reasoned. “With two safeties we were down by three and we’ve got the wind in the fourth quarter. You’ve got to kick a field goal to win, anyway, and we thought we’d get more than that.
“We thought the two points was worth it because we had the wind in the fourth.”
Suitably riled, however, the Gaels gave the Gryphons a dose of the bitter medicine they had to swallow last year, when Guelph scored 22 points in the last 11 minutes of the fourth quarter to tie en route to eliminating Queen’s from the playoffs in overtime.
In what was virtually a mirror image of that cold, gray afternoon, on this cold, gray afternoon instead of throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, McPhee was flawless, running to set up one touchdown and throwing for the other.
This time it was Guelph quarterback Jazz Lindsey who threw the two fourth-quarter interceptions, as his team was suddenly powerless to stop the Gaels who, between their two touchdowns, mounted a drive that, while unsuccessful, killed almost four minutes off the fourth-quarter clock.
Instead of being victims of their own mistakes, as they were last November, the Gaels capitalized on the misplays of their opponent: A shanked punt and a fumbled punt both promptly wound up in the Guelph end zone.
As was the case last year, this all happened after the home team stumbled through a third quarter that was startingly bad. In this case Queen’s, with the wind at its back, ran 10 plays in the first 14 minutes, had one first down, 18 yards of offence, a missed field goal and nothing to show for a splendid 81-yard return of a Guelph kick by Alex Carroll.
Does a team go from that sort of sluggish display to the kind of fourth quarter the Gaels put together without some sort of sudden impetus?
You’ve got to wonder.
“I think we handle adversity a lot better than we have in previous years,” said Gaels tailback Ryan Granberg, who rushed for 120 yards. “We don’t get down, we get angry and start fighting. I think that’s a big difference from previous years.”
This is Queen’s first berth in the conference final since 2009, and therefore the first for most members of the team.
“It’s been a long four years where we felt like we underachieved quite a bit,” linebacker Sam Sabourin said. “It stops right now.”
Reaching the Yates Cup final is something the team always thought it was capable of achieving the last three years, Granberg said. “It feels good finally to be where we think we’re supposed to be.”
McPhee said Saturday’s performance “finally showed the maturity of our team.”
“When things got harried we kind of hunkered down. Our experience really showed on the sideline. We knew how to react, especially when plays don’t go your way: it’s time to hunker down and prepare to go out there and keep fighting.”
Which the Gaels did.
“We just battled,” Sheahan said. “It wasn’t pretty but it was a battle.
“Let’s face it, that was not a smooth ride today. There were some bumps on the flight but they hung in.”
Sheahan said it would be impossible to offer sufficient praise for his team’s defence, which held Guelph scoreless in the final 30 minutes of the game.
“It was a great job by coach (Pat Tracey),” he said. “The first 30 minutes he had to see what their plan of attack was, he got a good look at it, they figured it out and they pretty much stopped them in the second half.
“We got into trouble in the second quarter because it wasn’t just that (Guelph) had the wind, they were scrimmaging from our side of the 55-yard line. As a team we did a pretty good job in the fourth quarter of giving them a long field (and) as the clock starts to tick down, the goal line seems to be further and further away.”
Notebook — The Gaels got their touchdowns from Granberg, on a pair of one-yard runs, and Scott Macdonell, on a 39-yard pass from McPhee in the fourth quarter. Dillon Wamsley had first-half field goals of 38, 29 and 40 yards. Jazz Lindsey threw for both Guelph touchdowns, to his older brother, Saxon, and to D’Adre Fraser. … Macdonell had a career day receiving, not just for his game-best 124 yards. A 54-yard catch brought the Gaels out of a hole in the second quarter against the wind and was the big play on a drive that led to a field goal. His catch at the end of the third quarter gave Queen’s first down on second-and-10, a conversion the Gaels had failed to make three times in a row. It was Macdonell’s second career 100-yard receiving game. The other came in last year’s playoffs, against Laurier. … Oddly, Queen’s two best passing quarters came against the 25 km/h wind. “(Billy) throws the ball well into the wind,” Sheahan said. “His arm is so strong that sometimes with the wind, the wind is not an advantage for him the way you’d think it would be.” … Sheahan had more words of praise for McPhee, who had an interception-free game for the third time in four games and ended the regular year with fewer picks than any starting quarterback in the country. “He didn’t make any mistakes,” Sheahan said. “He was almost so determined not to make a mistake he was driving me nuts. He didn’t want to take any chances — (but) he was right. He played pretty poised. There were some sacks that he took today that under those conditions, at that time, he should have taken them. That’s what you’ve got to do. You don’t want to cough up the football and make a critical error that could cost your team the ball game when it’s all on the line like that.” … Guelph came out to warm up for Saturday’s game in gold uniform tops, the same colour that Queen’s wears. It’s an old bit, actually, to show up with the wrong jerseys. It’s designed to upset the home team, because the protocol dictates that in case of a conflict, it’s the home team that has to change. In Queen’s case that would be particularly problematic, since the Gaels have just one set of uniforms and they’re gold in colour. “We had a good chuckle about that,” Sheahan said. That’s because he’d told his players in a meeting Friday not to be surprised if the Gryphons pulled that very stunt. “Coach Lang has a great marketing mind and we anticipated some kind of gimmick,” he said. “I warned the team, don’t be at all surprised if they’re out there warming up in gold jerseys, just to make (us think), ‘Hey what are they doing,’ to try to create a little confusion, a little commotion.” … The Gaels won their 14th consecutive home game, a streak that dates to September, 2011. They won’t be at home again this year, however. The winner of the Yates Cup game next week travels to the home of the Canada West champion the following week for a national semifinal. The Vanier Cup this year is in Quebec City.
HALF-TIME ADJUSTMENTS SPUR GAELS' DEFENCE TO MASTERFUL SECOND-HALF PEREFORMANCE
By Claude Scilley, SportKingston
Losing running back Rob Farquharson to an injury in the third quarter didn’t help the Guelph Gryphons’ chance of coming back against the Queen’s Golden Gaels in Saturday afternoon’s Ontario University Athletics semifinal football game.
It wasn’t necessarily the reason they ultimately lost the game, Gryphons coach Stu Lang says.
“We just couldn’t connect,” Lang said. “Everything was there. We hit that bad punt that gave them short field position and then we fumbled on a return, which gave them short position. With wind, it’s a battle of field position. There’s nothing they did that we didn’t expect.”
On a carry late in the third quarter, Farquharson injured a hamstring. It was the same injury that kept him out of games early in the season.
Taking him out of the game Saturday “was more a precautionary thing,” Lang said.
“The training staff and Neil Lumsden, our running backs coach, decided to hold him out because the plan was obviously to get to the Yates Cup and we wanted him to be ready to play.”
How was his team’s offence affected by Farquharson’s departure?
“Rob’s an all-star,” Lang said. “It hurts, but to be fair, in the fourth quarter we had the wind. We should have been throwing the ball better. We just didn’t score any points you can’t win without scoring points.”
Indeed, the Gaels had neutralized Farquharson before he went out of the game. After a first half in which he gained 75 yards, he had just 10 in the third quarter, with gains of zero and one yard and a one-yard loss among his five carries.
“We had a little trouble stopping them in the first half,” Gaels linebacker Sam Sabourin said. “Coach (Pat) Tracey did an excellent job making some adjustments, moving some guys around. For the most part they came out in their five-pack once we stopped that inside run play in the second half.
“We’ve got some of the best DBs in the country. They can man up next to anybody. We’re confident with the guys we have back there and just kept playing our defence.”
In the second half, Queen’s not only prevented Guelph from scoring, the Gryphons were tackled five times behind the line of scrimmage, quarterback Jazz Lindsey was sacked once and he threw two interceptions. They managed just one play longer than 11 yards, and none longer than 26.
“In Canadian football, when you have wet weather, those receivers, they drop one pass and it just kills a drive,” Sabourin said. “We got lucky a few times; other times I think we just covered them down pretty well. I’m so proud of the guys, everywhere. ”
Sabourin said he was surprised to see Farquharson come out of the game.
“He’s a tough player, I’ll say that about him,” Sabourin said. “It’s shocking to see a guy like that go out of the game. You know he’s got to be pretty darn hurt when he comes out of the game because that guy’s a tough runner and a tough guy all around.”
Guelph STATISTICS Queen's
19 FIRST DOWNS 18
10 Passing 9
9 Rushing 8
0 Penalty 1
55.56% (5 of 9) THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY 100.00% (3 of 3)
289 TOTAL NET YARDS 438
73 Total Offensive Plays 66
3.7 Average gain per play 5.4
212 NET YARDS PASSING 228
17 - 35 Completions-Attempts 15 - 28
6.06 Net yards per pass play 8.14
3 - 22 Sacked:Number-Yards 6 - 42
2 Had intercepted 0
58 NET YARDS RUSHING 126
38 Rushing Attempts 38
1.53 Average gain per rush 3.32
10 - 273 PUNTS: Number-Yards 11 - 356
27.3 Average 32.4
104 TOTAL RETURN YARDS 74
11 - 59 Punt Returns:No-Yards 4 - 25
4 - 45 Kickof Returns:No-Yards 3 - 30
- Int. Returns:No-Yards 2 - 19
7 - 60 PENALTIES: Number-Yards 2 - 25
1 - 1 FUMBLES: Number-Lost 2 - 1
29:29 TIME OF POSSESSION 30:31
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 T
Guelph 7 10 0 0 17
Queen's 10 6 4 14 34
Queen's - TD Ryan Granberg 1 yd RUSH (Dillon Wamsley convert) 09:55
Guelph - TD Saxon Lindsey 15 yds PASS from Jazz Lindsey (Daniel Ferraro convert) 06:45
Queen's - FG Dillon Wamsley 38 yds 00:54
Queen's - FG Dillon Wamsley 29 yds 08:47
Guelph - TD A'dre Fraser 32 yds PASS from Jazz Lindsey (Daniel Ferraro convert) 05:38
Guelph - FG Daniel Ferraro 23 yds 00:55
Queen's - FG Dillon Wamsley 40 yds 00:03
Queen's - SAF scored by Queen's 08:34
Queen's - SAF scored by Queen's 00:33
Queen's - TD Ryan Granberg 1 yd RUSH (Dillon Wamsley convert) 11:25
Queen's - TD Scott Macdonell 39 yds PASS from Billy McPhee (Dillon Wamsley convert) 05:4
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.