In the three previous games the Gryphons have allowed opponents to put up late scores that to the casual observer would obscure the extent to which Guelph had dominated the game. Exhibit A – a 92-yd punt return for UofT with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Exhibit B – Guelph doesn’t nail the coffin closed and Mac scores 9 points in the last 5 minutes. Exhibit C – Waterloo scores a TD with 53 seconds left in the game.
Given that background I loved the fact that the Gryphons were not going to allow it to happen again. The D’s incredible 6-play goal-line stand was in the middle of the 4th Q when the Gryphons had a comfortable 26-7 lead. The Lions threatened one more time. They got as close as having a 1st down at the Guelph 17. Lots of pressure and good coverage forced two incomplete passes. York’s final attempt was intercepted by Iain Hutchison in the end-zone when he went high in front of a York receiver to deny the TD.
Speaking of turnovers it was a pretty clean game. There were no fumbles lost by either team while Guelph had a 2-1 advantage over York when it came to interceptions. Besides the Hutchison pick, LB Andrew Graham came up with one late in the 1st Q. Guelph’s lone interception was a Jazz Lindsey pass that hit a York DB right in the stomach. As bad as it looked – i.e. throwing it directly to an opponent – I’m not sure it was Jazz’s fault. A York blitzer, or unblocked DE, was in Jazz’s face immediately. It was definitely a controlled pass not a wild heave. He obviously intended it for his “hot” receiver, his brother Saxon. I don’t know what the route was supposed to look like but if Saxon releases more to the inside it is an easy completion for 7 or 8 yards right behind the space vacated by the LB or DE.
* * *
While taking a quick look at the INT stats I noticed our DBs were also credited with five pass breakups. Safety Tristan Doughlin led with two. Brandon Hunter, Colin Mandich and Orion Edwards each had one. That is a very young group. Doughlin, Hunter and Mandich are sophomores. Edwards is a true freshman. Then you add in Mikey Carney, a redshirt freshmen who started at field corner and played the second half at boundary corner, and you have a very young group doing an exemplary job in the defensive backfield this season. Taylor Palmer [5th yr] and Iain Hutchison [3rd yr] are the only real veterans of the unit which is #2 in the CIS in interceptions with 12.
BTW early in the game a Guelph fan asked me who was the fastest player on the team. In previous years I would have known the answer to that. But this year I didn’t. The inquiring fan did a little more research and learned from a player on the team that cornerback Colin Mandich was the fastest player on the 2013 squad. He ran a laser-timed 4.42 sec 40 according to the source.
* * *
It has been a rare game this season when I don’t think something like … Darn! We’re taking way too many penalties. Friday night was another of those games. Then, just a few hours ago, someone posted a comment on the blog [read it here] raising the issue of penalties, particularly those taken by the offense. So … I took the time to examine all of Guelph’s penalties against York. We were penalized 10 times for 100 yards. Eight of ten were on the offense, two on the defense and none on the special teams. That is a big improvement from our Special Forces guys who have had multiple penalties in most games.
The flags thrown against the offense were for Illegal Procedure, Holding [x3], Facemask [x2], Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Roughing and Offside. Three of the eight penalties either killed drives or cost us points. Third & 2 at the York 16-yd line is a lot better than attempting a 38-yd FG. [It went wide for a single.] Given the game situation it may have been a good opportunity to “go for it”. At minimum a 23-yarder would have been a lot more makeable. Luke Nangle’s unnecessary penalty for spiking the ball was marked off on the kickoff.
The commenter “j” questioned the discipline of the offensive team. When you consider that the O unit is a more veteran group than the D unit, the penalty disparity doesn’t make sense. This offense is not consistent enough or productive enough that we’ll be able to get away with this against Queen’s or in the playoffs.