PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Offense – A’dre Fraser
Defense – Colin Mandich
Special Forces – Daniel Ferraro
After an injury-plagued 2013 season Fraser came up with 103 receiving yards on six catches against one of the OUA’s top coverage corners. From gryphons.ca, “The Lawrencetown, NS native … was at his finest in the third quarter, returning a missed field goal 50 yards and then pulling down a 29-yard reception on the ensuing play. He also tallied four punt returns for 74 yards, averaging 18.5 yards and did a great job blocking down field as a receiver opening a hole for one of Rob Farquharson’s touchdowns” … I thought Mandich was having an all star calibre season before he was hurt in 2013. He appears to be picking up where he left off recording 1 solo tackle, 1 assisted tackle, a pass break-up and an interception while providing outstanding coverage. Mac Myers also had a notable performance with 9 solo tackles … as I wrote yesterday, I was very happy with the consistency of Ferraro‘s punting – 9 punts for 345 yards, an average of 38.3 and a long of 47 yards. He was perfect on 3 FGs & 2 PATs.
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You can find post-game media coverage in the Guelph Mercury – Gryphons fall in overtime in football season opener and the Hamilton Spectator – Mac steams to 34-27 come from behind overtime win. From the Mercury:
The Guelph Gryphons stalled in the red zone and it proved costly in their OUA football season opener …
“I’m probably more disappointed than I’ve ever been as a head coach. A lot of it’s my fault,” Gryphon coach Stu Lang said. “We should have won that game. We gave it away.”
And the Spectator:
It wasn’t a sweat-stained thing of beauty to be sure, as the maroons committed plenty of mistakes, especially on offence. The Marauders had a chance to win the contest in regulation time but Tyler Crapigna’s 45-yard field-goal try with 35 seconds left was partially blocked at the line of scrimmage
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Speaking of stats a couple of other things jump out at me …
Time of Possession – Guelph 25:45 – McMaster 47:29 – there is definitely something wrong with these numbers. No way a game with a single, brief OT period takes more than 73 minutes. None the less I don’t doubt that the Marauders had a significant advantage here.
Total Offensive Plays – Guelph 63 – McMaster 75 – if you’re trying to run an up-tempo offense then these numbers are a serious problem. In the NCAA, Hurry-Up No-Huddle offenses [HUNH] want to run 90+ plays per game. If Guelph was trying to run HUNH then something was seriously wrong. I didn’t see anything close to the tempo I would expect. While I’m sure its not an easy transition the Gryphons still appear to be a long way from the goal. I recall seeing the Gryphon offense completely set at the L-o-S while Mac was shuttling players in & out. Unfortunately Gryphon players were still looking to the sideline for the play call. But, you know what? … the tempo is more important than the play. If Guelph had just snapped the ball they would have been able to pick up positive yardage regardless of the play they ran. The Mac defense was not ready to play. Snap it quickly and the Marauders would likely have been penalized for “Too many men on the field”. To repeatedly snap it quickly would have prevented Mac from being able to substitute their defensive personnel the way they wanted.
Penalties [Number/Yards] – Guelph 8-90 – McMaster 7-60 – Not a huge difference. But what really bothers me were some of the penalties not called. In the first half Ryan Nieuwesteeg was knocked flat on his face by a block square in his back from a Mac receiver. It was the type of infraction that could have resulted in a neck or spinal injury and was so obvious I still can’t believe it wasn’t called. After the game I talked to a couple of Burlington high school coaches who said they couldn’t believe how much holding McMaster got away with specifically against DE Cam Walker. They said it got worse as the game went on because the officials were letting it go. One of the coaches said he saw “ten instances” where he would have normally expected a flag to be thrown.
The most costly penalty of the game, in my opinion, was the holding call early in the 4th Q that negated a 20+ yard gain on a pass to TE Pat Gerrie. Guelph would have had a 1st down at mid field instead of punting into the wind from deep in their end. Even if we don’t pick up another 1st down on that series our D would have had a longer rest and the field position been 30+ yards to our advantage.