Game 2 preview: Toronto Varsity Blues

UofT logoThe past four years the University of Toronto has offered the Gryphons some surprisingly competitive games, including an upset in 2011. Both teams come into this game with 0-1 records. The Varsity Blues dropped their opener at home to the Laurier Golden Hawks 53-17. I watched part of the 2nd Q of that game and saw UofT march the ball down the field and score a TD just before the half to keep the game competitive at 27-17 for WLU. I was really surprised to see that the Hawks had outscored them 26-0 in the 2nd Half.

Based on the game stats, UofT really struggled to run the ball – only 70 net yards but Blues quarterbacks Simon Nassar and Chris Jugovic were a combined 27 of 49 for 333 yards. The Blues D gave up 329 rushing yards and 256 passing yards to the Hawks. You can read the UofT Sports Info Office’s account of the game here. The video highlights are here.

Hopefully tomorrow’s game will bring out a large crowd with many O-Week frosh there. The thunderstorms are supposed to end in the morning. The forecast for the afternoon looks promising with a temp of 21 C and a mixture of sun & cloud.

Previews: The CIS website has this preseason preview of the Varsity Blues and here is a video preview from UofT. From Mike Koreen’s OUA preview in the Toronto Sun,

The skinny: [HC Greg] Gary brings aboard new co-ordinators — former Argos star Kevin Eiben on defence and ex-Gee-Gees assistant Luigi Costanzo on offence … Team’s .500 mark last year was best record since 1993 Vanier Cup win … Toronto-born QB Simon Nassar threw for 1,549 yards and 13 TDs in four starts last year, but he loses top receiver Paul de Pass and running back Aaron Milton … RedBlacks draft pick Aaron Wheaton (Ajax) anchors the O-line.

My Thoughts: I expect a game more like Guelph’s 38-12 win than the much closer games of 2010-2012. In my opinion it was DC Donnovan Carter’s defenses that gave the Gryphons most of their problems in those years but Carter accepted the DC position in Windsor last year. I look for the Gryphons to handle the Blues fairly easily.

I’m interested to see what the Gryphons do in several areas. Do they stick with the 3-4? Does John Rush continue to play a new position [Jack LB] or move back to the middle? Does the offense play with the greater tempo of a HUNH team? Do we see more freshman this week? Do Gryphon punt and kick returners handle the ball better and get better blocking in front of them? Does Daniel Ferraro continue to punt consistently? There are still lots of other unanswered questions at this point in the season.

I am looking forward to the pregame tailgate party returning to Lot 7 on East Ring Rd. I understand there are some special things planned throughout the day.

Record since 2007: Guelph holds a 5-1 advantage over the Varsity Blues since 2007. In fact, the 2011 upset at the Varsity Centre was the first time Toronto had defeated the Gryphons since 1995. The Gryphons hold a 22-16-1 head-to-head advantage over UofT since their first meeting in 1976. [Source:]

2013 – 38-12 Guelph
2012 – 31-29  Guelph
2011 – 21-12  Toronto
2010 – 15-13  Guelph
2009 – 53-25  Guelph
2008 – 30-0  Guelph
2007 – did not play

Broadcast: Streamed online at

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One Response to Game 2 preview: Toronto Varsity Blues

  1. Thanks to alumnus Mark Staffen for letting me know I’d made a rather obvious error – crediting Toronto with the win in 2013. I’ve corrected that.

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