Game 1 preview: McMaster Marauders

O-Line opening holes for #32 Rob Farquharson Photo credit: Lou Toppan

O-Line opening holes for #32 Rob Farquharson
Photo credit: Lou Toppan

Mac logo This is a very big game for a season opener. In recent weeks Mac’s head coach, Stefan Ptaszek, has been telling anyone who will listen, “we’re treating it like a playoff game”. Since most people are conceding Western will earn one of the two playoff byes, that leaves ten teams battling for the other bye. Guelph & Mac are the leading candidates and this Week 1 game could easily determine who gets that coveted reward. has the following to say about the game:

It’s not hyperbole to say this early contest could factor into playoff positioning as both Guelph and McMaster are expected to be among OUA league leaders. A victory in the opener means an immediate advantage in the standings, but also gaining the benefit of holding the tie-breaker should teams finish with the same record.

The Hamilton Spectator provides another preview of the game with quotes from coaches Ptaszek and Lang. Tickets are still available on-line if you want to attend the game. Buy them today. They may not be available at the gate tomorrow. McMaster will pack the stadium with frosh.

My Thoughts: I expect Guelph to win this game but there are things that could happen to change that. We really can’t afford to have our O-Line start out this season the way they did last year. We had great talent but only 1 of 5 players were in a familiar position in 2013 and it showed in the first few games. This year 3 of 5 starters are back in the same spots – Nesbitt, Wilhelm & Fraser. I expect Mburanumwe and MacRae to form the left side of the line. I think having played the game in Montreal helps to have this group ready. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Another key, our revamped D-Line needs to shut down the Marauder run game. If we can do that we are in great shape. While no one is talking about it, I don’t believe Mac QB Ferguson’s arm is 100%. I think his throwing range and velocity are somewhat limited. Take away the run game and Mac really only has the short passing game to work with. They have the option of giving their touted rookie QB some series. Get them in those situations and it’s almost a DC’s dream.

My suggesting that play at the L-O-S in the key shouldn’t surprise anyone. If the O-Line performs up to my expectations I really like our chances. Rob Farquharson can run on  Mac. We saw it before he cracked a rib in the game last year and in the 2012 Yates Cup. My expectations for our receiving corps are higher after watching the preseason game. Colin Booth, Lucas Spagnuolo, Curtis D’Hollander and others give us weapons to go with vets Charette, Fraser & Ingram.

The D-Line was stout versus the Carabins and will definitely be better with Cam Walker in the lineup. If we can get big performances from our DTs we will be okay. The LB corps should be superb. And with an added year’s experience our very young DB group will surprise many people. I love the speed and athleticism that Colin Mandich and Mikey Carney bring to the corner position. Mandich was already playing at an all star level last year before he was hurt. Carney had an excellent year at D-Half.

One notable advantage for Mac – experience. Marauders return 20 starters. Guelph returns 16. Mac still has more than a dozen players from their 2009 and 2010 recruiting classes on their roster. Guelph has 3 from 2010 and zero from 2009.

McMaster Previews:

From the CIS website: McMaster Marauders team preview via McMaster Sports Info.

Mac’s capsule from the Toronto Sun: The skinny: Ptaszek did well to keep a bit of a rebuilding team in the hunt last year after two Vanier Cup appearances in a row, including a thrilling 2011 national triumph … Fifth-year QB Marshall Ferguson has the 2013 CIS rookie of the year as a target — Daniel Vandervoort … Twenty starters return … Tyler Crapigna one of the more dependable kickers in the league … Team very high on Regina junior QB recruit Asher Hastings.

Recent History: Guelph enters the game with a one game winning streak in the series thanks to last year’s victory, but has never won at Ron Joyce Stadium which opened in 2008. While Mac has 7-2 edge since 2007 all the games with the exception of 2011 & 2012 have been decided by one score or less.

2013 – Guelph 24-22
2012 – Mac 30-13 [Yates Cup]
2012 – Mac 50-9
2011 – Mac 37-13
2010 – Mac 43-35
2009 – Mac 32-29
2008 – Mac 32-31
2007 – Guelph 25-21 [OUA quarterfinal]
2007 – Mac 37-36

Media Coverage: The game will be on local Cable 13 in Hamilton and streamed on There should be an on-line radio broadcast from 900 CHML.

** Leave your comments, predictions or questions in the comments section.

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2 Responses to Game 1 preview: McMaster Marauders

  1. Nick says:

    Hey Peter,

    What happened to Malik Richards? He was CFC top 100 and was supposed to be really good coming here, and now I heard we lost him? What’s the story there? Where did he go?

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