Game 8 preview: Queen’s Golden Gaels

Michael Fortino's OT TD defeats Queen's in Yates Cup Semi-final

Michael Fortino’s OT TD defeats Queen’s in Yates Cup Semi-final

Queen’s enters this contest with a 6-1 record and a #5 national ranking. [Guelph is #4] The Golden Gaels only loss was a 50-31 defeat to Western in London three weeks back. This Queen’s team was one of the favourites to make it to the Yates Cup early in the season. Surprisingly from my perspective, they out-polled UWO prior to their loss. SportsEh even ranked them #1 in the CIS for several weeks. Queen’s had high expectations for 2013, with even talk about another Vanier Cup run coming out of Kingston.

Having 20 of 24 starters returning gave Queen’s fans high hopes. They still have every chance of achieving their goals in the playoffs but their performance so far in the 2013 season has been unexpectedly erratic. The 6-1 record masks a couple of near losses. [Guelph fans know what those can be like.] A 1-7 Laurier squad took them into overtime. Early in the season they prevailed over Mac 31-24 in spite of being outgained 495 to 227.

Record since 2007: The Gryphons are 3-3 against the Golden Gaels over the past 6 years. During that time Queen’s has won the 2009 Vanier Cup and recorded a perfect 8-0 regular season in 2008. As much as it hurts to remember, the 2009 Labour Day game was one of the best games I have seen in the past six years. In the archives of gryphons.ca you will find this summary of the 2009 game. It is worth noting that the vast majority of players on the Queen’s roster have never beaten Guelph.

2012 – 42 -39 Guelph [Yates Cup semi-final]
2012 – 33-28 Guelph
2011 – did not meet
2010 –  21-15  Guelph
2009 –  52-49  Queen’s
2008 –  41-30  Queen’s
2007 –  26-14  Queen’s

My Thoughts: I understand this Queen’s team will have lots of motivation – i.e. the revenge factor. I can’t think of a game, really a pair of games, that probably has been as much of a “burden to bear” as their losses to Guelph last year. Another point, this Queen’s team is a much more veteran group than Guelph. The Golden Gaels returned 20 of 24 starters. The Gryphons just 15. A third factor, this game isn’t at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium where the Gryphons are undefeated over the past two years. While each of those factors may favour Queen’s I like Guelph’s chances in this game.

No doubt Queen’s is favoured but I don’t doubt for a second that Guelph can win. I was more apprehensive heading into the two games last year than this. This team while not as veteran as last year’s squad has lots of talent. Most of the freshmen and sophomores who will be counted on have almost a full season worth of experience now. Guelph has more experience on offense than D. The O-Line which had some “growing pains” early in the season is coming into it’s own. That should allow our skill players to flourish on Saturday.

On defense I believe Guelph has a decided advantage along the line of scrimmage. Queen’s may have more size and experience along their o-line but they don’t match up particularly well with the speed and athleticism of the Gryphon D-Line. I don’t expect Guelph will shutdown the Queen’s rushing game but they will contain it. And they should be able to put plenty of pressure on QB McPhee. I look for Guelph to hold Queen’s below 30 points.

Media Coverage:

TV: broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360

This entry was posted in History & traditions, Uncategorized, Yates Cup and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Game 8 preview: Queen’s Golden Gaels

  1. j says:

    Agreed.

    It’s a big game, yes. If we lose, and taking nothing for granted after that, the line has to say that we’ll see Queens again in the playoffs which is a reversal from last year. Home field advantage, grass field, revenge factor … all real for sure so it’s about not playing to the margins.

    This team knows how to win but to be great, it’s about knowing when to win … again. They have the talent, the heart, and the attitude. It’s all about the team head now. The coaches have done their jobs, especially if the head on the team for Saturday’s matchup is to go out there and PLAY! They have practiced hard and whatever was not accomplished in practice will not be accomplished in the game so again, let’s play.

    Win or lose though, it’s a tuneup. The bye is big, but again, it’s about opening up the margins and nothing can compete with a fearless mental discipline to build the margin we need. If they go out and play, with a head to make mistakes at full speed absent a fear of making one, then that will be the best prep for the next game which is the only thing we know for sure … there will be a next game. The coaches do the right thing by focusing on one game at a time and one play at a time. We can look beyond. Is the good money on the Gryphons to win the Vanier Cup? We know they can and they know they will. The question of did they or didn’t they is for post-game analysis.

    We’re heading for the game Stu and his staff deserve …firing on all three cylinders. From what I have seen, Jazz will turn a corner and make believers of any remaining naysayers; dismissing the luck factor that is all-too-slowly dissipating. We are going to see skill and captain traits dominate over talent and panache. I see a limb looking for a squatter … 41-28 Guelph and it will never be close! Look for one or two of the up and comers to step up and show what kind of leaders, not just football players, are being built at Alumni Stadium!

    PS. It’s relevant to remember the last Queens game one more time. To the best of my knowledge following some research and media engagements, only one team in the history of North American football, college level or higher, has recovered from a 22 point lead with 10 minutes to play to win a regular season game … and no other team has done it in the playoffs … IN THE HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICAN FOOTBALL! That is an extraordinary statistic, even if the best of my knowledge ain’t so best. Check it out. There’s no amount of luck in the world that will do that. We have good reason to believe.

    j

  2. John Mac says:

    “41-28 Guelph and it will never be close” – how’s that working for ya J ?

  3. j says:

    Belief was too heavy for the limb … It broke.

    I think the game probably went the way most thought it would go. The question is how to get behind the team in a way that makes a difference. Put what I did on the list of things that didn’t (don’t) work … Makes “better luck next time” more than just luck.

    • John Mac says:

      Lol, good stuff J. Nothing wrong with good karma my friend. The Gryths are fortunate to have such caring & engaged supporters and frankly they deserve it. I wish them every success….starting in 2014 ! – 🙂

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