Guelph lost a hard fought game 27-25 to Laurier yesterday morning. The loss means they will have to rely on others if they are to make the playoffs but I actually see this as a potential positive turning point in the season. Primarily because the Gryphons never gave up.
Guelph trailed 17-6 at the half and 24-6 early in the 3rd Q. But they kept fighting. They scored 3 touchdowns in the 2nd half as the offense may have found its groove. They seemed to be able to drive the ball on a good Laurier defense more and more easily as the game wound down. A failed 2-pt convert was all that kept the game from going to OT.
Game stories and related links:
Gryphons.ca – 2nd Half Rally Falls Short …
Laurier Athletics – Laurier holds off Guelph for sixth win
“Like we said to the guys all week, they’re [Guelph] not a four-loss football team and they showed that today,” said head coach Michael Faulds after the victory. “They took us right down to the wire but I’m proud of how our guys battled. Leading 24-6, we would like to put them away but in the end, we made enough plays to get the win.”
KW Record – no story on-line
My Two Cents: First off, I did not take the day off work to go to the game. I’ve read the read the summaries, looked at the stats, talked to people who were there and read most of the on-line commentary but I’ve only watched the 1st Q on video. There will be more to come later but these are a few of my immediate thoughts …
♦ From what I’ve heard the “School Day” game was a disaster for the regular fans. 4,000 elementary school students running around the stadium with little apparent supervision wasn’t an experience OUA football fans want to endure again. One fan said straight up he would not attend another game that is packed with elementary school students.
♦ Any thoughts that this Gryphon team was going to mail it in were dispelled in my opinion. There is no quit in them. They could have gotten down after a poor 1st half had them trailing 17-6. Others might have given up when they quickly fell behind 24-6 in the 3rd Q. This team has character!
♦ Laurier’s defense was supposed to be the best, or one of the best, in the OUA. They led the conference in scoring defense with 16.7 points against. Guelph scored 25. The Hawks allowed an average of just 360 yards to opposing offenses. Guelph gained 465. The Guelph offense was gaining momentum as the game went on. I think there will be some confidence and momentum there that can be carried forward.
♦ On special teams, Gabriel Ferraro probably had his best game of the year punting. He averaged 42 yards per punt. That may be a career high. He was 2 for 2 on FGs. Brandon Gordon looked good again on punt returns.
♦ If you read my post 3 days ago, you know I was happy to hear that James Roberts had a season high (maybe a career high) rushing the ball with 6 carries for 40 yards. On the two runs I’ve seen so far he picked up good yardage and still slid or stepped out of bounds without taking a hit. I hope he can continue to do that.
♦ I did see something in the 1st Q I haven’t seen from Guelph in years – a 2-RB formation. As long as Todd Galloway has been our OC the 1-Back Pistol formation has been the norm in the backfield. Two years ago he added a 3-Back “Diamond” formation. Injuries in the backfield have meant there often weren’t enough RBs to use the Diamond. I like that he has adapted the offense to the circumstances.
♦ One problem Guelph didn’t correct was their penalty woes. Guelph had a 58-yard Jordan Terrio pass reception wiped out by a 5-yd penalty!! Several other drives stalled after the Gryphon O took penalties. In total, the Gryphons took 13 penalties for 110 yards – right in keeping with their averages in games they lose.
♦ Two of the 3 touchdowns the defense gave up were BIG plays. Essentially one play drives. That is a shame against an offensively challenged team like Laurier. Those two play – a 71-yd run & a 94-yd catch&run – accounted for more than 1/3 of their total offense. After a fumbled punt WLU took over on the Guelph 16. The D forced them to settle for a FG. Eliminate the big plays and Laurier would have really struggled to make a game of it.
♦ I’m not sure how late I will be able to stay awake but with a little luck I will get through the final 3/4s of the game video. Check back Sunday night or Monday for more possible reflections.