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Queen's at Laurier 20091024
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2000-2009, but may be used for personal non-commercial use, and by Queen's University, the CIS and its member conferences, and by the Vanier Cup, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights are reserved.
Laurier 25, Queen's 13
Queen's Golden Gaels lose season finale
Kingston Whig Standard
The Queen's Golden Gaels football team fell short in its bid for a second perfect regular season in a row. With first place in Ontario University Athletics and home-field advantage through to the Vanier Cup already wrapped up, the Gaels (7-1) lost 25-13 to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-2) Saturday in Waterloo. The loss snapped the Gaels' school-record 17-game regular season winning streak.
All four OUA teams at 5-2 won on Saturday, giving Laurier second place because of tiebreaking rules. Queen's and Laurier both get byes in the quarterfinal round. No. 6 Guelph is at No. 3 Western and No. 5 McMaster is at No. 4 Ottawa. The lowest-seeded survivor travels to Richardson Stadium to meet the Gaels Nov. 7, meaning Queen's will face Guelph, McMaster or Ottawa.
Queen's star quarterback Danny Brannagan had a rough afternoon Saturday, throwing three interceptions. Two Kingston natives led the way for the Golden Hawks. Free safety Scott McCahill, a Frontenac graduate, picked off a Brannagan passed near the goal line in the second quarter and raced all the way to the other end zone for a huge play. Instead of scoring a touchdown and tying the game, the Gaels gave up a major and fell behind 18-4.
Meanwhile, Golden Hawks rookie quarterback Evan Pawliuk, a Holy Cross graduate, also had a strong game. On the first Laurier drive, he hit Shamawd Chambers for a 34-yard touchdown pass.
Brannagan also did not finish the day as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport career passing leader. While he overtook previous leader Matt Connell of McGill, Western quarterback Michael Faulds had a huge 550-yard outing against Toronto to surpass Brannagan for top spot.
Mustang QB breaks record in style
Western's Michael Faulds throws for 550 yards to set CIS career passing mark in 47-0 rout of U of T
By David Grossman, Toronto Star
They were two guys on a mission: Danny Brannagan and Michael Faulds, talented and elusive university quarterbacks, both wanting to be No. 1 in Canada. Turns out both surpassed the Canadian university record for career passing yards on Saturday, but only one ended up celebrating at the end of the day. That was Faulds, the fifth-year pivot at the University of Western Ontario, who put on an aerial show, setting two CIS records in the Mustangs' 47-0 whipping of the University of Toronto Blues down the highway in London. Good on 39 of 52 passes for a personal best 550 yards in only three quarters before pulled to avoid aggravating a knee injury, Faulds accumulated 3,033 yards for a CIS single-season record that surpassed former two-time Hec Crighton winner Tommy Denison's mark of 3,001. But more importantly, Faulds entered the history books as the No. 1 college quarterback in Canada – now with a career total of 10,811.
"I'd be lying to say (the records) were not on my mind, but right now it's not something I needed to have – I'm more about team success, winning the Yates and then the Vanier," said Faulds, a former Toronto Star high school all-star while at St. Andrew's College. "Sure, I feel great, but I will likely appreciate it more in the years to come." McGill's Matt Connell, who had thrown for 10,455 before graduating last year, had been the CIS record holder.
Brannagan had been the front-runner on pace to break the career yards record entering the Gaels' conference finale against Laurier with 10,425 yards, only 30 behind Connell and 164 ahead of Faulds. While he did throw for 289 yards yesterday to finish with 10,714, it was one of those games the Burlington, Ont., native would rather forget. Laurier ended the Gaels' 17-game regular-season win streak with a stunning 25-13 win here at University Stadium. Brannagan completed 25 of 45 passes, had three picked off and didn't throw a TD strike for the first time this year.
"Very disappointing, things didn't work out the way I had thought," said Brannagan, referring to the loss. "The goal was to win the game, finish the season unbeaten for a second year, and we didn't do that. I'd feel awful if an individual accomplishment by me distracted from the team performance."
Laurier kicker Chris Mamo had three field goals, two singles and a pair of converts to become the all-time Golden Hawk scoring leader. Scott McCahill picked off a Brannagan pass on the Laurier goal line and returned it 110 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to give the Hawks an 18-4 edge.
"That was beautiful – the highlight of my career," said McCahill, who is from Kingston. "We knew (Brannagan) was coming in for the record, needed a few yards, but to pick one off like that at a key point of the game." Queen's coach Pat Sheahan said the interception and score was the play of the game. "It was a 14-point play and if it goes the other way, we're standing here rejoicing," said Sheahan.
While Queen's and Laurier get byes to the semifinals, next Saturday McMaster, 32-29 winners over Guelph, goes to Ottawa, who eliminated Windsor 24-9. Western will host Guelph.
Hawks ruin perfect season for Queen’s
By Christine Rivet, Waterloo Record
The Laurier Golden Hawks spoiled the Queen’s Gaels quest for a second-straight perfect regular season with a surprise 25-13 decision in Saturday’s Ontario university football action. The 6-2 Hawks also earned second place and with it, a first-round playoff bye.
The hosts limited Queen’s quarterback Dan Brannagan’s entry into the record books to about 15 minutes. Brannagan briefly held the Canadian university record for career passing yards on Saturday, until he was eclipsed by Western’s Michael Faulds who threw for about 550 yards in a victory over Toronto, also Saturday.
So, it’s Faulds who goes into the record books as the nation’s all-time leading passer. Brannagan, who finishes his career with 10,714 yards, settles for second place.
In other Ontario University Athletics conference action, Waterloo crushed York 52-3; Western blanked Toronto 40-0; Ottawa got past Windsor 24-9 and McMaster defeated Guelph 32-29.
Laurier got touchdowns from Shamawd Chambers on a 44-yard pass reception from Evan Pawliuk and defensive back Scott McCahill returned an interception 110 yards for a major. The Hawks defence held Queen’s to one touchdown, a four-yard scamper by Ryan Granberg.
Brannagan passed for 289 yards on Saturday. Pawliuk finished his day with 273 yards. The loss ended Queen’s school record 17-game regular season win streak.
No. 2 Gaels finish first in the OUA despite loss to Laurier / Brannagan finishes second on CIS all-time career passing list
By Michael Grobe, Queen’s Sports Information
The Queen’s Gaels’ record 17 game winning streak came to an end as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks defeated them 25-13 in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) football action at University Stadium on Saturday.
In the race for the CIS all-time passing record, QB Danny Brannagan of Burlington, Ont., fell just shy of the all-time mark finishing second to Western’s Michael Faulds who threw for 550-yards against Toronto. Brannagan finishes his career No. 2 on the all-time list with 10,714 while Faulds first at 10,811.
For a short-time, Brannagan held the all-time mark surpassing Matt Connell (McGill) on a 23-yard pass to Scott Valberg of Kingston, Ont., late in the second quarter. Starting the game, Brannagan needed only 31-yards to pass Connell’s career mark of 10,455. Brannagan also led Faulds by 164 yards heading into today’s match. Brannagan was 25 for 45 finishing with 289-yards and no touchdowns in the game.
Both No. 2 Queen’s (7-1) and Laurier (6-2) sit idle next weekend having earned the two first-round byes in the OUA playoffs. Last week, Queen’s secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first place in the OUA. Laurier tied up its first-round bye with a win over the Gaels.
The Golden Hawks led the game from the opening kickoff when kicker Chris Mamo of London, Ont. scored his first of 13 points in the game on a rouge that got past Jimmy Allin of Belleville, Ont. The Hawks would extend their lead to 11-0 before Gaels kicker Dan Village of Abbotsford, B.C. registered his own rouge 32 seconds into the second quarter. Minutes later Village would connect on the longest field goal of his career (47-yards) to make the score 11-4.
The Gaels looked poised to tie the game at the 12:30 mark of the second quarter, but Kingston’s Scott McCahill picked off Brannagan on the goal line and returned it 110-yards for a touchdown making the score 18-4. Queen’s would force Laurier to concede a safety putting the score 18-6 at the break. In the second half, Mamo would kick 45, and 32-yard field goals while adding another rouge before the Gaels added a touchdown to complete the scoring 25-13.
Ryan Granberg of Sherwood Park, Alta., recorded the lone touchdown for Queen’s on a four-yard run. Granberg tallied 81-yards on 21 carries in his first game as a starter. Scott Valberg of Kingston, Ont., was Queen’s top receiver catching the ball 10 times for 159 yards.
Shomari Willams of Brampton, Ont., was Queen’s top defender registering nine solo tackles and a half sack. In all the Gaels registered three sacks on Laurier QB Evan Pawliuk of Kingston, Ont., with Osie Ukwuoma of Mississauga, Ont., registering 1.5 sacks.
Pawliuk was 20 for 30 throwing for 273-yards with one-touchdown pass. Laurier’s top rusher was Mike Montoya of Burlington, Ont., who netted 63-yards on 10 attempts.
In two weeks time, the Gaels will begin the hunt for their 23rd Yates Cup title facing either Guelph, McMaster or Ottawa at Richardson Stadium on November 7th beginning at 1:00pm. The game will also be broadcast nationally on THE SCORE.
NOTES: Brannagan finished his regular-season career throwing for 77 touchdowns since joining the league in 2005 which is good for third on the national list behind CIS record holder Chris Flynn of Saint Mary’s (87) and OUA record holder Josh Sacobie of Ottawa (79)… He also ends third on the CIS career list with 1,211 attepts and fourth with 668 completions and and his 2580 passing-yard season this fall – despite missing a game due to an injury – ranks ninth all-time.
2009 OUA FINAL STANDINGS
1) Queen's (7-1) - bye
2) Laurier (6-2) - bye
3) Western (6-2)
4) Ottawa (6-2)
5) McMaster (6-2)
6) Guelph (3-5)
Golden Hawks Upset No. 2 Gaels in OUA Football
Wilfrid Laurier Sports Information
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-2) defeated the No. 2 nationally-ranked Queen's Gaels (7-1) 25-13 to finish in second place in the OUA and earned a first round bye in the playoffs.
Laurier took the lead from the opening kickoff with a single by Chris Mamo (London, Ont.). It would be the first of 13 points for the kicker/punter who set the Laurier career scoring record with 270 points. Mamo hit three field goals, two converts and had another single to move past former teammate Brian Devlin who had previously held the scoring title with 261 points. In addition Mamo's three field goals were from 45, 37 and 33 yards. The 45-yarder is the longest field goal he has hit in his career at Laurier.
After the opening kickoff the Hawks defence stepped with a Giancarlo Rapanaro (Niagara Falls, Ont.) interception on Queen's Danny Brannagan. Laurier then marched down the field and Evan Pawliuk (Kingston, Ont.) connected with Shamawd Chambers (Markham, Ont.) on a 44-yard reception for the home team's first touchdown.
Pawliuk was 20 for 30 on the day for 273 yards and one major. "I took what they gave me, but they have a very good defence," said Pawiuk following his best performance of the season. "We were focused on our goal, which was to get more points than they did."
"Pawliuk showed us last week after four interceptions he was mentally tough when he helmed our team to the win," said Laurier head coach Gary Jeffries. "Our game plan this week was to get some pressure on Brannagan and not give him much time."
In the race for the CIS all-time passing record, Brannagan of Burlington, Ont., fell just shy of the all-time mark finishing second to Western's Michael Faulds who threw for 550 yards against Toronto. Brannagan finishes his career No. 2 on the all-time list with 10,714 while Faulds first at 10,811.
For a short-time, Brannagan held the all-time mark surpassing Matt Connell (McGill) on a 23-yard pass to Scott Valberg of Kingston, Ont., late in the second quarter. Starting the game, Brannagan needed only 31 yards to pass Connell's career mark of 10,455. Brannagan was 25-of-45 finishing with 289 yards and no touchdowns in the game.
"Coming into the game and we were ready on defence," said Scott McCahill (Kingston, Ont.) who picked off Brannagan for a game changing 110-yard interception return for a touchdown. "We made some adjustments in the game during the second half and they worked." The 110-yard interception return tied the third longest in OUA history.
The Golden Hawks defence was led by safety Courtney Stephen who had 6.5 tackles (five solo, three assisted) in the game. Rapanaro and Mitchell Bosch also had strong performances each with five tackles apiece. In total the Laurier defenders knocked down seven Brannagan pass attempts.
The Gaels defence was led by Shomari Williams (Brampton, Ont.) who had a nine solo tackle effort and a half sack. Osie Ukwuoma (Mississauga, Ont.) also contributed 1.5 sacks.
"We have some nice momentum certainly, but our goal was to get the bye and we got it," concluded Jeffries. Laurier will now have a bye week before they host the OUA semifinal at 4:30 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 7.
Tale of two quarterbacks: Tebow, Brannagan
By Chris Young, Toronto Star
Since Grade 3, Danny Brannagan has wanted nothing more than to be a football player – a quarterback, thinking and throwing and winning like his interchangeable boyhood idols of Steve Young and Joe Montana – and it has all gone according to plan, including the final destination: A business suit. But not just yet.
The Queen's University Golden Gaels, with Brannagan under centre, have won 17 straight regular-season games, a record for their more than 120-year football history. Brannagan is at 10,424 yards in career passing, just 32 yards away from becoming the Canadian college game's most prolific passer.
He would seem to have everything awaiting him – except a CFL career. When this season is done, he'll go from putting up numbers to crunching them. "I'm going to earn my CA," he says, looking ahead to a Price Waterhouse gig starting next fall. "I'll be doing grunt work for the next couple of years."
Such is the familiar lot of the played-in-Canada college quarterback. The CFL's quota rules call for three open quarterback spots on a 42-man roster, spots that usually are filled by Americans, the argument being the U.S. talent pool is deeper. The stocky 6-foot Brannagan has a rocket arm, football smarts and his stats, hard to ignore.
Heading into Saturday's season finale at Laurier, Brannagan is not the only one taking dead aim on Matt Connell's Canadian career passing mark. Western's Michael Faulds is 163 yards behind Brannagan on the career list, but in a head-to-head meeting last week, the Gaels posted the most important number – a 27-26 win, pushing their record to 7-0.
The final, 84-yard winning drive then was vintage Brannagan: Poise, experience, playmaking – and nothing new. Brannagan twice has gone to the U.S. and beaten American counterparts, first as a peewee player with the Burlington Stampeders team. Then in 2005, on the verge of going from an OFSAA Bowl title at Burlington's Assumption High School to Queen's, he threw two TD passes and ran for another as Canada beat their U.S. high school all-star counterparts in the NFL Global Junior Championship game. For a kid who was shelving dreams of a U.S. scholarship – "no one's interested in a Canadian quarterback," he said – that game was an eye-opener. "The first day we arrived down there, the big news was that 13 of the guys we were playing were signing their letters of intent," he recalled of the trip to Jacksonville, and billeting at the house of Tim Tebow's high school coach, Craig Howard. "It's a different world down there."
Here in Kingston, Brannagan is just another guy ordering lunch at the downtown Subway: turkey with cheese, hold the mustard. That too fits. His ice-blue eyes match a placid demeanour that seems antithetical to sports' chest-thumping, tattooed present. "It's a little unnerving that he's so calm," says Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan. "He's never got an excessive jubilation penalty. We'd have to have him blood tested if that ever happened."
The unflappability showed up on his recruiting trip to Queen's, the Golden Gaels coaches telling players to take care of this prized prospect. Instead, he was abandoned in the middle of town, in the middle of the night. He phoned an old friend from high school to put him up for the night in Kingston. "It was an experience," he deadpans. Early this season, Brannagan was knocked out of a game, the second head injury of his college career. In both cases he missed a week before picking up right where he'd left off.
"He always had a dedication and a determination," said his father Dan Sr., a former lineman at the University of Windsor who coached his son in Burlington and is a spotter in the booth at Golden Gaels games. "At his first practice with me I noticed it. You know how little kids are, they're half-listening and looking away – except for him. Danny was just locked into my eyes, so extremely focused on what I was saying, and taking it in."
Now, those eyes prepare for the final month of the season and playoffs, leading up to a shoo-in Hec Crighton Award nomination for the country's outstanding player and, perhaps, the Vanier Cup final on Nov. 28. Beyond that doesn't matter, at least for now. But Golden Gaels centre Dan Bederman went to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' training camp as a free agent last spring. And he's quite sure Brannagan belongs at the next level.
"I got to take an up-close look at the kind of quarterbacks there, and I'm not an expert, but I could see that in terms of QB talent, Danny is right there," said Bederman. "He deserves at least a shot. He can throw just as far, he's smart and can read a defence – the only knock on him is his height, but this is a league where Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia showed you don't have to be that big to excel ... it's a shame."
Brannagan has talked to others who've been in his situation. "They all express frustration that the game has to stop. It doesn't seem to be that fair, but I'm sure there are reasons behind it. Growing up you know that, being a Canadian quarterback, your career pretty much ends after the CIS with very few exceptions. Coming in, I knew I had five years of football, and I've been pretty much approaching it like that all along."
Holy Cross graduate making the most of his opportunity as a starter
by Mike Koreen, Kingston Whig Standard
After going almost three years without taking a snap in a competitive school football game, Evan Pawliuk has experienced a trial by fire this season. Considering the challenging personal circumstances, the Holy Cross graduate has every reason to hold his head high at Wilfrid Laurier University. Pawliuk, pressed into starting duty in the fourth week of the year after Luke Thompson suffered a season-ending knee injury, is 3-1 as a starter heading into the Golden Hawks' season finale today against the visiting Queen's Golden Gaels. "The opportunity has been great," said Pawliuk, who didn't even dress at Laurier in 2007 and 2008 before earning a spot on the game-day roster this year.
"The team has really rallied around me since the start of the season. It was a bit tough getting used to the game speed. It's a lot different than practice, but I'm getting used to it. I think I've done pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. You can only get better. When Pawliuk mopped up for Thompson in a season-opening 36-0 win over Toronto on Sept. 6, it was the first school-game action for the pivot since Nov. 13, 2006 when his Crusaders lost to the Frontenac Falcons in the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association final.
In his starting debut at Laurier, the left-hander threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another in a key 30-14 road win over the McMaster Marauders. The Kingston native's only loss as a starter came when the Golden Hawks missed a potential game-tying two-point convert with five seconds left in a 27-25 loss against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The fleet-footed Pawliuk's numbers are respectable -- 74-for-132 passing with 1,184 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions to go along with 221 yards rushing and three touchdowns. "Every left-hander always looks a little bit unorthodox throwing the ball, but he actually throws a pretty good ball," Gaels coach Pat Sheahan said. "He is fairly mobile. He'd remind you a lot of (Golden Hawks offensive co-ordinator) Ryan Pyear, he's that type of athlete."
Pawliuk certainly would appreciate being compared to Pyear, who won the Vanier Cup as Laurier's quarterback in 2005 before stepping into his current role. "Ryan really helps me out," Pawliuk said. "He's a great mentor." "He played the same position a few years ago and he knows exactly what I'm thinking. He gives me really good tips on what to do."
Pawliuk also appreciates the support of Laurier head coach Gary Jeffries, who has stressed to his young quarterback not to feel the need to try to win games by himself. Even after Pawliuk threw for four interceptions last week, Jeffries offered words of encouragement, reminding the quarterback that the team still won the game 21-14. With a win against the Gaels, who already have clinched first place in Ontario University Athletics, the Golden Hawks would be assured of a home game in the playoffs. They also still are in the running for second place and a first-round playoff bye, though the Hawks need some help to reach that standing.
"That (a playoff home game) is one of our main goals as a team," said Pawliuk, who was the starting quarterback for a Limestone Grenadiers team that reached the Ontario Varsity League final in 2006.
Pawliuk said he's good friends with some of the Gaels from the Kingston area, including receiver Devan Sheahan and offensive lineman Derek Morris. But he hasn't exchanged text messages with his buddies leading up to the game. "I've been pretty busy this week," he said.
As for the Gaels, they'll be looking to finish undefeated for the second season in a row. Coach Pat Sheahan said healthy starters will be playing today. There's also the matter of the record chase: Queen's quarterback Danny Brannagan needs 31 passing yards to become the career leading passer in Canadian Interuniversity Sport history. But Western Mustangs quarterback Michael Faulds, also in his final game today against Toronto, is 164 yards behind Brannagan.
"Do we play games for records? No we don't," Pat Sheahan said. "My belief is good things happen when you're thinking about something else. The thing is to go out and have a good day on offence. If we do that, all of the other superfluous rewards will come along. "We did not set out five years ago to make Danny Brannagan the leading passer of all-time. It was to prepare him to be a championship quarterback. That was the drill."
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Gaels update:Regardless of what happens today, the Gaels will finish first in the OUA and get a quarterfinal bye next week. Queen's faces the lowest-seeded quarterfinal winner in semifinal play Nov. 7 at Richardson Stadium.
Golden Hawks update:Laurier is in a four-way tie for second at 5-2. If all four 5-2 teams -- Laurier, Western, McMaster and Ottawa -- win today, the Golden Hawks finish second and get the other quarter-final bye.
Kingston connection:Laurier quarterback Evan Pawliuk isn't the only Golden Hawk with Kingston ties. Starting safety Scott McCahill is a Frontenac graduate and Belleville-born fullback Peter Quinney is a former Limestone Grenadier. The Hawks also have two non-dressing young players from Frontenac -- linebacker Simon Ryder-Burbidge and defensive back Reed Bracken.
Queen’s football means never taking your foot off the pedal
By Christine Rivet, Waterloo Record
Please don’t ask Pat Sheahan about the Mike Giffin Incident. It may be about to repeat itself as the playoffs loom. The Queen’s Gaels head coach has been dogged for a year by the now-graduated Giffin’s untimely exit in a meaningless 2008 regular-season football finale.
Giffin, last year’s Ontario conference MVP, ripped up his knee on the first play from scrimmage against Waterloo in 2008, and Sheahan is sick to death of answering questions that start with ‘What if you rested Giffin in that Waterloo game and he wouldn’t have missed that semifinal you lost to Ottawa?’ “It started with my wife early Sunday morning making that comment. I’ve been bombarded with that one,” Sheahan said with mock exasperation. Of course, the Gaels’ perfect regular season went down in flames last year, without Giffin carrying the mail. We revisit this ancient history now because No. 2 Queen’s is in an eerily similar situation on Saturday against Laurier at University Stadium (Rogers, 1 p.m.)
First-place wrapped up. Nothing much to be played for in Week 8, except quarterback Dan Brannagan’s record-book pursuit. Brannagan needs 31 yards to capture the all-time Canadian university passing yardage record. But it’s not as simple as that. Western’s Mike Faulds, who lines up against the sad-sack Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday, is 163 yards behind Brannagan for the record. So, this week’s question for Sheahan is: Do you sacrifice Brannagan’s record chase rather than risk injury to your superstar (a la Mike Giffin)?
Sheahan will make that gamble again. He said Brannagan will play on Saturday, and likely start to finish. At least, that’s what we think he said. “In every game I’ve participated in where somebody has an idea we would rest someone, usually bad things follow. It becomes a major distraction,” said the blustery coach. “That’s not the way football works. You keep climbing, you keep polishing your stuff.”
And what of the 5-2 Laurier Golden Hawks? Currently, in a four-way tie for second, the Hawks can still snag the playoffs’ coveted second seed, and with it a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage for the semifinal. But they’ll need help. Laurier needs to defeat Queen’s, and also needs Mac, Western and Ottawa to win their regular-season finales.
Queen’s (7-0) at Laurier (5-2)
Kickoff: University Stadium, 1 p.m.
Audio webcast: cfrcradio.com
History 101: Queen’s trounced Laurier 41-7 last year, one of the Hawks’ worst defeats this decade.
Extra points: Gaels are shooting for their second straight undefeated regular season . . . This game features all three current CIS players of the week, Queen’s QB Dan Brannagan and DB Jimmy Allin and Laurier’ returner Dillon Heap.
Gaels go for second-straight 8-0 season against Laurier
Queen’s Sports Information
The Queen’s Gaels will look to put the finishing touches on their second-straight undefeated season on Saturday when they travel to Waterloo to face the Laurier Golden Hawks. It would be only the third time in Queen's history that the Gaels would have back-to-back teams finish undefeated in the regular season. They would also become the ninth team in school history to post a perfect regular season mark.
The Gaels, currently ranked No. 2 in Canada, are coming off a thrilling 27-26 victory over the No. 6 Western Mustangs last weekend. The victory ensured that Queen’s finishes first in the OUA and gains the all-important first-round bye in the OUA playoffs.
In the game against the Mustangs, the final outcome was determined in the final two minutes of the game. After Western took the lead on a Nathan Riva touchdown run, QB Danny Brannagan of Burlington, Ont., and the Gaels offence responded by marching down the field. With 13 seconds to play, Brannagan connected with Blaise Morrison of Bedford, N.S., on a 30 yard catch-and-run touchdown to clinch the win.
Brannagan was spectacular on the afternoon as he passed for 436 yards and two touchdowns. He also became just the second quarterback to eclipse the 10,000 yard passing mark when he accomplished the feat in the first quarter. Western QB Michael Faulds became the third player to reach the milestone later in the first half. Also starring for the Gaels on the afternoon was RB Marty Gordon of Kingston, Ont. Gordon ran for 86 yards and two touchdowns, his first multiple-touchdown game of the season.
The Golden Hawks, winners of two straight games, defeated the Guelph Gryphons last Saturday by a score of 21-14. QB Evan Pawliuk, who has been filling in for Luke Thompson after the Hawks starter suffered a season-ending injury, was the catalyst for Laurier. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 251 yards while rushing for another 68 yards and two touchdowns.
A major storyline of this Saturday’s game is where Brannagan will finish on the CIS all-time career passing list. Currently, the accounting major sits just 31 yards shy of the all-time record of 10,455 yards. However, with Faulds still within striking distance of the record, it could come down to who has the better game this weekend.
Another sub-plot to this game is the OUA final standings. Although the Gaels have already clinched first in the OUA, they can play spoiler for the Golden Hawks in terms of where they finish in the playoff seedings. A Queen’s victory would mean that Laurier could finish as low as fifth in the standings but a Golden Hawks win could mean that they finish as high as second. Kickoff between the Gaels and the Golden Hawks is scheduled for 1:00 pm at University Stadium in Waterloo.
Brannagan Eyes History on Saturday
OTTAWA - Queen's quarterback Dan Brannagan will play the final regular season game of his stellar university career on Saturday and, if all goes according to plan, he'll then go into the OUA playoffs as CIS' all-time leading passer. Brannagan of Burlington, Ont., has amassed 10,425 yards through the air since joining the Gaels in 2005 and needs 31 more this weekend against Wilfrid Laurier to break the CIS career mark of 10,455 set a year ago by former McGill pivot Matt Connell.
Brannagan could also set an OUA record for career touchdown passes Saturday. He enters the duel in third place on the CIS all-time list with 77 TD strikes, two back of OUA record-holder Josh Sacobie of Ottawa and 10 shy of the national mark established from 1987 to 1990 by Saint Mary's three-time Hec Crighton trophy winner Chris Flynn. No. 2-ranked Queen's (7-0), which has already secured first place in the OUA standings and a bye in the first round of the playoffs, visits Laurier (5-2) at 1 p.m.
Western's own fifth-year senior, Michael Faulds of Eden Mills, Ont., will also end his varsity career near the top of a number of CIS quarterback categories. He even has an outside shot at overtaking Brannagan for the passing yards lead. Going into the No. 6-Mustangs' (5-2) finale Saturday against Toronto (1-6), Faulds sits in third place on the CIS list with 10,261 yards, is second with 722 career completions (94 behind Connell) and fourth with 1,189 attempts, only 11 back of second place.
Other players to keep an eye on this weekend include Queen's receiver Scott Valberg of Kingston, ON.
Valberg ranks ninth with 2,758 career receiving yards, only 23 out of eighth position and 111 shy of seventh place. He is also tied for 13th wi
CIS CAREER LEADERS (regular season only)
1. 10455 Matt Connell, McGill 2003-08 **
2. 10425 DANNY BRANNAGAN, Queen’s 2005-present
3. 10261 Michael Faulds, Western 2005-present
4. 9974 Ben Chapdelaine, McMaster 1997-01
5. 9885 Josh Sacobie, Ottawa 2004-08
6. 9449 Teale Orban, Regina 2004-08
7. 9287 Justin Dunk, Guelph 2005-present
8. 8800 Darryl Leason, Calgary - Regina 1996-98 / 2000-01
9. 8766 Larry Jusdanis, Acadia 1991-95
10. 8637 Chris Hessel, Western 1998 / 2001-04
11. 8424 Bill Kubas, Laurier 1990-94
12. 8407 Greg Vavra, Calgary 1979-83
13. 8294 Brent Schneider, Saskatchewan 1992-96
14. 8288 Mathieu Bertrand, Laval 1998-99 / 2001-03
15. 8158 Blake Smelser, UBC 2002-06
16. 8073 Benoit Groulx, Laval 2005-present
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