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Queen's at Western - 20130928
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 31, WESTERN 50
NO. 2 MUSTANGS HANG ON TO BEAT NO. 3 GAELS 50-31 GRANBERG SETS GAELS CAREER RUSHING RECORD
By Shawn MacDonald, Queen's Sports Information
The No. 3 Queen's Gaels and the No. 2 Western Mustangs battled to keep their undefeated seasons in check at the Mustangs 100th homecoming anniversary in front of a crowd of over 12,000 at TD Waterhouse Stadium. In the end the Mustangs were able to capitalize and beat Queen's 50-31. The Gaels Ryan Granberg (Sherwood Park, Alta.) broke the team's career rushing record passing Mike Giffin who had 3,035 in his career, Granberg finished the day with 117 yards.
Gaels quarterback Billy McPhee (Burlington, Ont.) finished 22-36 with 336 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Granberg led the way on the ground with his 117 yards and a touchdown while Daniel Heslop's (Scarborough, Ont.) one reception for 87 yards led all receivers. Granberg hit the 3,000 yard rushing plateau and passed Gaels greats Larry Mohr and Mike Giffin in the school's all-time record books to become the career leader. He currently sits at 3,085 yards.
"When I came off the field a few people told me that I had won it so that was nice but I rather would have had a w," said Granberg on the record after the game. "Right now we're worried more about our playoff run and how we place so that had more impact on me."
Coach Sheahan thought the team played well but knows there are improvements to be made, "I thought our offense was pretty good, we came down the field well and made a lot of big plays to get ourselves in a position to score. We just didn't finish off a couple of drives if we can do that we'll be back in the hunt."
The Mustangs Will Finch proved his legs can be as lethal as his arm running for 153 yards and a score while throwing for 254 yards and two touchdown passes.
The Western offence didn't take long to show what they are capable of as Finch hooked up with Adam Sinclair on an 11-yard reception touchdown on their opening drive of the game. Queen's was able to put together a strong drive of their own, with Jesse Andrews (Arnprior, Ont.) picking up a 17-yard rush and Giovanni Aprile (Scarborough, Ont.) nabbing an 18-yard reception. On their first and goal attempt however, Andrews fumbled and the Mustangs took over.
The Mustangs opened up the second quarter in the same fashion as the first and Adam Sinclair rushed for 42-yards and a touchdown putting Western up two scores. Mid-way through the second frame on a play that had McPhee scrambling, the Gaels quarterback got a pass off that deflected off the intended receiver's hands and into those of Mustang Preston Huggins who took the ball 54-yards for a score. After two rouge's the Mustangs opened up a 23-0 lead over the Gaels.
Before the end of the first half the Gaels were able to get some momentum going. Heslop got the Gaels started with a big 16-yard rush setting the Gaels up with a first and goal. After Aprile got a near score but was downed on the 1-yard line, Heslop rushed to his right and found the end zone. The Gaels finished the first half trailing 23-7.
In the second half Dillon Wamsley (London, Ont.) connected on a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 23-10. The Gaels got great field position when Cory Dyer (Gananoque, Ont.) forced a fumble and the Gaels recovered. The Mustangs quickly responded with seven points however, as Will Finch continued to show off his running abilities and ended the Mustang drive with a 1-yard rushing score.
Just when things seemed to be slipping away, the Gaels special teams unit came through in the clutch. William Zed (Halifax, N.S.) blocked a punt attempt by Lirim Hajrullahu and after the ball spiraled around Zed was able to pick the ball up and take it 45-yards for the score and Queen's trailed 32-17.
McPhee connected with Heslop for an 87-yard play but the Chemistry major stepped out of bounds at the five yard line and Queen's was unable to score on their three attempts. The Mustangs responded with a field goal.
Granberg got his first touchdown of the game to bring the score to 35-24 but Western added two scores and a single to put the game out of reach. Queen's added an Aprile reception touchdown and the game finished 50-31.
On defense, the Gaels were led by Justin Baronaitis (Rexdale, Ont.) who finished with 11 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Sam Sabourin (Stittsville, Ont.) added 11 tackles as well for Queen's. Western was led by Malcolm Brown with 7.5 tackles.
QUEEN'S TAUGHT PAINFUL LESSSON AT WESTERN
By Clude Scilley, SportKingston
LONDON — Western Mustangs were full value for their victory Saturday afternoon. They never trailed and they never let the Queen’s Golden Gaels get too close in a football game they put into the books as a 50-31 decision.
At the same time, the Gaels were, to a large degree, authors of their own misfortune.
Missed opportunities cost them 14 points and penalties cost them five more, a 19-point bit of foregone loot that, in a twist of fate bound to cost Queen’s players a minute or two of sleep in the next few nights, just so happens to equal the margin of defeat.
“They are as aware of the missed opportunities today,” Queen’s coach Pat Sheahan said of his troops, “so it’s not like we were outclassed, outplayed or out-toughed. That’s not what happened.
“What happened was there were a few miscues, and a couple of mistakes made the difference.”
On a gloriously sunny, 20-degree day, the No.2-ranked Mustangs entertained a sellout 100th anniversary homecoming crowd with their sixth win, without defeat, this season. They scored first, led 23-0 before Queen’s scored a touchdown in the final minute of the first half and never allowed the visitors to get closer than 23-10, early in the third quarter, or 35-24, six minutes into the fourth.
Each time Queen’s got that close, however, Western answered with a touchdown on its very next possession.
Ultimately, however, it was their own mistakes that doomed the No.3-ranked Gaels to their first loss in five games, as they turned the Western five-yard line into their own little Bermuda Triangle.
After the Mustangs scored on a long drive with their first possession, Queen’s was poised to deliver the perfect counter punch when an 88-yard drive of its own landed them on the Western eight.
From there tailback Jesse Andrews carried to his left but lost the ball at the five-yard line, where Western recovered.
In the third quarter, on a broken play, Gaels quarterback Billy McPhee scrambled out of trouble long enough to find Daniel Heslop with a short pass. Heslop took it 87 yards down the left sideline before, while checking over his shoulder for pursuers, he inadvertently stepped on the paint at the Western — you guessed it — five-yard line.
A broken play and a short run later, Queen’s faced third-and-goal, again from the five, but McPhee couldn’t connect with Scott Macdonell, one of at least two receivers open in the end zone.
The penalty-botched points were a single on a Dillon Wamsley kickoff — at the time, it would have cut a 15-point Queen’s deficit to two converted touchdwns — which came back when the Gaels were caught offside, and four points when Western kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter, but got another chance when Queen’s was caught with too many men on the field. With the new opportunity, the Mustangs went in to score a touchdown.
Even after a pitiful third quarter, when the Gaels had one first down and, but for Heslop’s long play had negative net yards, Queen’s was still in the game, trailing 32-17 with 14 minutes to play and the Mustangs punting from their own 12-yard line.
With the wind, Western’s Lirim Hajrullahu boomed a kick over the head of return man Doug Corby, who tried to catch it over his shoulder, missed it, and ultimately didn’t corral it until it stopped rolling at the Queen’s 19-yard line.
Even the best teams can have only so much resilience. The Gaels couldn’t get out of their own end, gave Western the ball back on their own side of midfield and Hajrallahu kicked a field goal to give his team a three-score cushion.
Gaels linebacker Sam Sabourin said the missed scoring opportunities weren’t discouraging for a defensive unit that has been the Queen’s salvation more than once this year.
“The offence did a great job all day,” he said. “It was the defence that let us down. We didn’t play our best game. We got backed up way too many times, gave up long drives. It was not a great effort by the guys on the defence.
“I don’t know what was going on with their inside trap plays in the three-back formation. We couldn’t really see what was going on, who was getting blocked where. We’ll go into the film room, see what went wrong and come back next week.”
His disappointment with the outcome aside, Sheahan did not seem displeased with his team’s performance.
“Our kids (came) down here and scrapped under pretty adverse conditions and showed a lot of character, and that’s what I demanded of them today,” he said.
“I really liked the touchdown before the half; being down 23-0 there, coming back and scoring before the half, showed a lot of grit. And that last touchdown at the end, that was important. Our guys never quit.”
Sheahan tipped his hat to Western — “a very good team, a very good opponent” — and he believes there’s instructive value in the defeat.
“I think what our guys found out today is there’s a level of competition required when you’re in a big game against the best team, that all your mistakes will count against you,” he said. “Today they did.”
Western got two touchdowns from four Queen’s turnovers.
“I thought our offence played better today save for two missed opportunities that figured very large in the outcome,” Sheahan continued. “Defensively, we knew we had a challenge today. There were times when we stood up and there were times that they bested us”
The Gaels held Western to 548 yards of offence — about 130 fewer yards than the No. 1 offence in the land had been gaining in an average game — and Queen’s managed 484 yards of their own, just seven yards off its season best.
“The opportunities were there,” Sheahan said. “I liked the way our kids moved the football. Obviously, we’ve got to be a little bit better on the finish in the big games against good teams. And we’ll play better against them defensively the next time.”
Western quarterback Will Finch threw for 245 yards and rushed for 114 more, while Yannick Harou had a 153-yard day rushing the football in place of injured tailback Garret Sanvido.
“Anytime you are on the winning side at your first real homecoming, it’s a good feeling,” Finch said. “Everyone prepped hard for this.
“There are nerves and there’s a lot of people staring at you. It’s football. You just want to have fun, and these are the guys to have fun with. (Queen’s is) a good football team. They are well coached, but all our guys wanted it. Everyone wanted it.”
McPhee had a season-best day for Queen’s, with 332 yards from 22 completions (in 36 attempts). Granberg also had his best day of the season, with 117 yards from 12 carries. It was the first 100-yard game by a Queen’s back this season.
The teams traded explosion touchdowns. Western’s Preston Higgins returned McPhee’s only interception into a 54-yard touchdown in the second quarter, giving the Mustangs a 21-0 lead. William Zed of Queen’s blocked a punt midway through the third quarter, picked it up and went 45 yards for a touchdown that brought the Gaels back to 32-17.
QUEEN'S STATISTICS WESTERN
28 FIRST DOWNS 37
484 TOTAL OFFENSE 548
332 NET YARDS PASSING 254
199 NET YARDS RUSHING 299
4-149 PUNTS: Number-Yards 4-162
41 TOTAL RETURN YARDS 259
5-30 PENALTIES: Number-Yards 3-20
1-1 FUMBLES: Number-Lost 2-2
1-5 SACKS: Number-Yards 3-23
0 0 INTERCEPTIONS: Number-Yards 1-54
26:34 TIME OF POSSESSION 33:26
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.