2015 Football Season in Review

I’m not sure how I missed this but I just ran across it on Gryphons.ca last week. While it’s light on details about the regular season it does have a nice synopsis of the playoffs and it’s full of details on regular season records set.

Season Record: 7-1
Playoff Record: 2-1 (beat Western in Yates Cup, lost to Montreal in Mitchell Bowl)

For a fourth consecutive year, the Gryphons posted a 7-1 record during the regular season, good for 2nd in the OUA standings. After earning a first-round bye, the Gryphons played host to the OUA’s No. 5-seed in the Carleton Ravens. Thanks in large part to third year running back Johnny Augustine (35 carries, 245 yards, 2 TDs) the Gryphons won 33-21 over Carleton to book a spot in the Yates Cup for the third time in a four year stretch.

For the 108th edition of the Yates Cup, the Gryphons would travel to London to face the No. 1-ranked team in the country in the Western Mustangs. After trailing through the first three quarters, the Gryphons would outscore Western 13-0 in the 4th and hang on to win 23-17 in what was U of G’s first Yates Cup title since 1996. The Gryphons would then welcome the defending Vanier Cup champion Montreal Carabins to Alumni Stadium for what was just the second bowl game to be played on the U of G campus in school history (the only other being the 1984 Central Bowl which Guelph won 12-7 over Calgary). In the Mitchell Bowl, the Gryphons lost 25-10 to Montreal, ending a remarkable 2015 campaign.

Several regular season records were set by the Gryphons during the 2015 season. Return specialist Ryan Nieuwesteeg led the country with 846 punt return yards. That total was a single-season school record and was also the second highest single-season total in CIS history next only to Laurier’s Dillon Heap who had 912 punt return yards in 2009. Nieuwesteeg also became the Gryphons all-time leader for punt return yards in acareer. His 1,592 career punt return yards put him No. 1 in U of G history, surpassing Michael Palmer who now sits in 2nd with 1,211 career punt return yards. QB James Roberts set a new Gryphon record with 18 TD passes during the regular season (surpassing the previous mark of 17 set by Justin Dunk in 2007), while RB Johnny Augustine set a single-season school record with 12 rushing TDs during the regular season (surpassing Gerrit Stam‘s mark of 11 set in 1996). Finally, receiver Jacob Scarfone set a U of G single-season record with 940 receiving yards in 2015 (surpassing Jeff Keegan‘s mark of 936 set back in 2005).

The Gryphons opened the season as the No. 6-ranked team in the CIS Top 10 and remained in the Top 10 rankings every week of the season (never falling lower than No. 7 and finishing as No. 5 in the final ranking of the year).

The 2015-2016 football season also marked the final year in charge for Head Coach Stu Lang who moved into an advisory role shortly after the season. Defensive Coordinator Kevin MacNeill was named Interim Head Coach on January 11, 2016.

View the full article including a list of major award winners here.

My #1 takeaway from this … what a consistent program the Gryphons have been over the past 4 seasons. Yes, we made it farther in 2016 than in previous seasons but 7-1 for 4 straight regular seasons. Then at least one playoff victory every year for ovverall 8-2, 8-2, 8-2 & 9-2 records is impressive consistency. All that Guelph can really do to improve on that in 2016 is win the last one.

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