What can I say? It was very disappointing. This team just has to learn from it, then forget about it and move on.
I honestly don’t feel much better about this game [a 34-27 loss in OT] than the 50-9 loss on Labour Day two years ago. I guess that says something about the changed expectations around this program when going into OT with one of the OUA’s top tier teams feels like a serious failure. I recall feeling disappointed but still pretty positive after some close losses to Mac, Queen’s and Western in 2008 & 2009. This game was just disappointing.
One difference today is it didn’t feel like this team played up to its potential. And there was a definite feeling that we gave this one away more than Mac beat us. Even with the lead at half time I didn’t have a good feel. We were making costly mistakes and we didn’t put as many points on the board as we should have. The idea that we would kick a FG in the 2nd Q with the ball on the 1-yard line is troubling. In total, we settled for 3 FGs within the red zone. Score TDs on a couple of those opportunities and Mac doesn’t have a chance of coming back.
Mind you the kicking game was one of the highlights. Daniel Ferraro was 3 for 3 on FGs, hit both converts and punted consistently, averaging 38.3 yards per punt. But our return game was below the standards that we’ve become used to at Guelph. The blocking needs to be much better. Our coverage units were decent. Jacob Scarfone made a great play to field the ball cleanly on Mac’s attempt at a short kickoff.
Some other highlights included Rob Farquharson rushing for 143 yards plus grabbing an 18-yard pass, and A’dre Fraser with 6 receptions for 103 yards. Fraser racked up those stats going up directly against a 6th year former All Cdn corner. One real concern is, that besides Farq and Fraser only Alex Charette [4 for 42, 1TD] made an impact on the stat sheet. In total Guelph outgained Mac 389 to 337. But, again that brings us back to the issue of red zone performance.
On defence I was surprised to see Guelph spend so much of the game in a 3-4. The past couple seasons Guelph has utilized multiple fronts, switching frequently between 4-3 and 3-4. I’m not going to question that decision because I trust DC Kevin MacNeill feels this is the best way to utilize the talent he has. Unexpectedly losing
four five experienced DLs [Finley, Marouf, Thompson, Mallough & Osmow] was bound to have an impact. The other front we saw numerous times was 7 or 8 defenders standing up on the L-o-S. There was definitely the appearance of learning on the fly but all things considered the defensive front seven was pretty solid. I don’t think youth is an excuse for losing this game, in spite of writing this in my preview:
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.
It was pretty clear today that Guelph was capable of beating Mac. We blew it. It was disappointing but with the youth we have there is a lot of potential for this team to grow and improve over the next few weeks.