The Gryphons used the lessons they learned in 2012 to pull off another remarkable, last second, come-from-behind win. This time 24-23 over the Windsor Lancers. It was almost as improbable as some of their comeback wins last year. The Gryphons trailed by 2 points with only a minute left in the game, were pinned back on their own 8-yard line, were heading into a strong wind and had to count on an offense that had struggled all afternoon. All they did was use some clutch big plays to move the ball down to the Windsor 10-yard line and kick a game winning field goal. Just another day at the office for this team!
This was an important win. They all are but a loss to Windsor would have been more costly than a loss to almost any other team in terms of the standings and playoff implications. The Gryphons remain unbeaten on the new turf of Alumni Stadium heading into their Homecoming matchup with McMaster on Sept 21.
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Guelph easily won two of the three phases of the game – Defense & Special Teams – but still nearly lost the game. In the end it was a gutsy and clutch performance by the offense that made the victory possible. Stats line on the final drive: 7 plays, 91 yards in 0:58 seconds; 17 yard FG with 3.9 seconds left in the game.
I’m not particularly worried about the offense. A lot of the issues start with the O-Line. But we have more talent there than we did last year. The O-Line lost OUA All Star Matt Richardson but added two 5th year players back from CFL camps. The rest of the unit are guys who all saw action last year and return more experienced. I’ve got 100% confidence in OL Coach Mike MacDonald so I think this unit just needs a little time to get used to each other and gel as a unit.
The other missing piece is TB Rob Farquharson. No matter how well our freshmen TBs may have played [they have been impressive] they don’t have the experience of Farquharson. The inside zone and zone read plays require that the RB work in tandem with the O-Line. It is something that you can’t pick up in a couple of weeks. And neither of them at this point in their careers can match the physicality of Farq.
I will have more to say about the Defense and Special Teams in posts over the next day or two. As testimony to how well they played let me just point out that each unit scored a touchdown and the defense recorded an incredible ten sacks of Windsor QB Austin Kennedy. An interesting thing I noticed … our DBs actually looked better in man-to-man coverage than in zone. In 1-on-1 situations freshmen Orion Edwards and Mikey Carney both blanketed veteran Lancer receivers and prevented several pass completions.
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There was a good-sized crowd on hand to witness the victory. Attendance was announced at 3,758. There were hundreds of students in the crowd this week. But what there wasn’t, so far as I could tell, was an organized effort to bring in large numbers of frosh as part of Orientation Week. An effort like that in 2011 pushed opening day attendance to 6,500+. Financially, that doesn’t matter since those students are getting in free anyways. Ticket prices are up this year from $12 to $15 and that is a good thing. At $10 or $12 a ticket to a Guelph football game was undervalued. Homecoming tickets are on sale now at $20. I would be surprised if all 14,000 tickets don’t sell out quickly.