Mustangs Extra Thankful on Blackout Night
Western Mustangs FootballGreg Campbell
The Western Mustangs head into the Thanksgiving break this weekend with a lot to be thankful for.
Starting with the running game, the Mustangs came into Thursday night’s contest leading the OUA in rushing yards per game (272.3), yards per rushing attempt (7.7), and rushing touchdowns (18). Their contest against Windsor was no different. Despite a slow start, at least by Western standards, the offensive line bullied the Lancers front seven all night, and Mustangs receivers held up their blocks. By the end of the evening, Greg Marhsall’s team had a whopping 493 yards on the ground, averaging 11.7 yards per rush.
This was all done without Alex Taylor, who sat out the contest due to precautionary reasons after sustaining a rib injury in the Mustangs previous contest at Queens. Cedric Joseph, the senior from Montreal, Quebec, had a record-breaking evening, carrying the rock 17 times for 355 yards and a trio of scores, all in the first half. It all began with a 90-yard scamper on the opening play of the second quarter, and the rest was history-- literally. Joseph’s 355 yards broke an OUA record for most rushing yards in a game, and put him third on the all-time Usports record for most rushing yards in a contest. The senior was only 40 yards shy of the all-time record, but was rested in the second half. Trey Humes, slotted into the No. 2 role, had 13 carries for 98 yards and a score.
Meanwhile, Chris Merchant was an efficient 15 of 18 for 263 yards and three scores through the air, but threw a pair of interceptions as well. Coming into the game, the senior had only thrown a single pick the entire season. Veteran Harry McMaster led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in three passes in the first quarter for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brett Ellerman had a team-high six catches, good for 65 yards and a score.
Marc Liegghio continued his great season, hitting all four of his field goal attempts, including one from 36 yards out, while averaging 43 yards per punt on his four punting opportunities.
The offence may have got their filling, but the defence got the stuffing Thursday night, limiting veteran quarterback Sam Girard to a 5 of 9 performance through the air for a measly 61 yards, and four carries for 43 yards. Marcus Kentner, the team’s starting tailback, chipped in with 47 yards on 14 carries, which equates to just 3.4 yards per touch.
Devin Comer led the way for Paul Gleason’s defence with 5.5 tackles, including a sack. Joining the quarterback takedown parade was Fraser Sopik, Mitchell Stadnyk and Deionte Knight. Five fumbles were also forced by the #1 defence in the OUA, with Marvin Gaynor losing two fumbles and Girard losing one as well.
For Windsor the one lone bright spot came from third-year linebacker Daniel Metcalfe, who could win OUA defensive player of the week after his team gave up nearly 800 yards of offence. The Kingsville, Ontario native accounted for a strip off of backup QB Kevin John, which he ran back for a 42-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He also picked off Merchant in the first quarter and ran that back 64 yards, and recovered a Joseph fumble in the second quarter.
Windsor dropped to 1-5 on the year with the loss. They finish their season on the road at Laurier before heading back to Alumni Field to take on the McMaster Mauraders.
The Mustangs head back to the nation’s capital next weekend to take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees at 1pm in a battle for first place in the OUA. You can catch all the action live here on Radio Western 94.9fm or online at www.radiowestern.ca/stream