Guelph’s breakthrough season was ended yesterday by the Montreal Carabins. There really wasn’t much left to doubt as Montreal looked to be the superior team. I don’t think any OUA competitor we faced this year helped much to prepare us for this game. If the OUA had embraced the N8 proposal for regular season national interlock games on national TV, Guelph would have hosted Calgary and played Laval in Quebec City. Win or lose, those games would have done more to prepare Guelph for post-season play outside the OUA.
I thought the Gryphons held their own on defense and special teams. Where we really came up short was on offense. In my opinion the numbers that most explain the outcome – a measly 65 rushing yards, only 14 1st downs and 3 interceptions. One place where I thought Montreal really excelled was tackling. Numerous times Guelph backs or receivers were stopped for short gains, that surely would have been much bigger plays against OUA opponents.
Game stories, recaps and other links:
Guelph Mercury – Guelph Gryphons dropped in Mitchell Bowl
Gryphons.ca – Carabins defeat the Gryphons 25-10 in Mitchell Bowl
Montreal Gazette – Montreal Carabins advance to Vanier Cup with 25-10 win over Guelph Gryphons
A Western fan’s blog take – Well That Was Smurf-irific: a little redux on the 2015 Mitchell Bowl at the UofG
Sportsnet.ca video recap – http://www.sportsnet.ca/cis/carabins-do-it-old-school-against-gryphons/
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♦ Biggest game in 31 years!? The pre-game tailgating certainly lived up to, or exceeded, expectations. There were parties all over the P19 parking lot. As always the Parents-of-Players group set the pace. But Gryphon football alumni were out in bigger numbers than I have ever seen before. And it was a very nice change to have some opposing fans to tailgate with us. There is so little tailgating at other OUA stadiums and so few fans of visiting OUA teams who tailgate that this may be the first time I ever remember interacting with large numbers of opposing fans. That made it even more fun!!
♦ Announced attendance was only 3,780. That disappoints me. In part, because it continues a downward trend for post-season attendance in the OUA. The past few Yates Cup semis and finals, and the Mitchell Bowl the past two years, have not attracted nearly enough students to the games. That is a shame and I hope OUA/CIS marketing people will find new ways to engage/motivate the student populations at Guelph, McMaster, Western, et cetera.
♦ I watched the game from the GryFan Zone atop the Hill. The experience up there was pretty good. The lineups for beverages were annoyingly long most of the time as staff hand-poured from individual bottles for every order. It was the first time all season there was a decent crowd up there. But that is just one kink that needs to be worked out. Overall the GryFan Zone idea was a good one that needs to continue and grow.
♦ One thing about watching from the GryFan Zone, there is a little less watching and a little more socializing. I’m going to sit down and re-watch the game broadcast in a few minutes. I will definitely have some more comments to share in the next 24 hours
♦ Finally, this has been a great season for the Gryphons. Winning a Yates Cup for the first time since 1996 was a real breakthrough – Going Beyond the plateau of 7-1 and a playoff loss. The Gryphons are champions!! They look to be positioned well for sustained success in future years and hopefully that includes getting beyond this new plateau and back to the Vanier Cup.