Gryphons beat defending Yates champs

Pre-game WLU

Photo: Megan Pickett

Now that was a nice win!

It wasn’t a thing of beauty but I’ll take it.

Except for a couple of costly penalties, the defense was outstanding as they shut down the offense ranked 2nd in the country in offensive yards per game (560.33) and 3rd in the country in scoring (averaging 40.2 points per game). They held the Golden Hawks to 186 total yards – 66 rushing and 120 passing. Those are the type of numbers you only expect against one of the OUA’s bottom feeders. OUTSTANDING!

Guelph is now 2-0 with Theo Landers as the starting quarterback. To me, that is amazing. Think about it … while our backup QB is gaining the experience he needs to be successful, we’ve beaten a 4-1 and a 5-1 team. Landers’ numbers weren’t huge – 13 of 20 for 111 yards and 86 yards rushing – but he was very effective. He did not turn the ball over. One shortcoming … he did have 3 or 4 passes blocked at the line of scrimmage.

The Gryphons dominated the game from beginning to end. Yet, I still had an uneasy feeling with having to settle for FGs instead of TDs. It wasn’t until Jacob Scarfone returned that missed FG for a 122-yard touchdown that I was able to breathe easily.

Game recaps and related links

Gryphons.ca: Gryphons take down #5 ranked Laurier 24-14

“The guys rallied together today and were able to find a way to overcome some tough situations,” said Gryphons head coach Kevin MacNeill. “We controlled the pace of the game from the start and received an incredible effort by our defence today. They applied some great pressure in the pass game and really shut down the run game. Hats off to everyone on that side of the ball.”

Laurier Athletics: Struggles in loss to Guelph

For Guelph, the majority of their offence came on the ground as fifth-year Johnny Augustine of Welland, Ont., rushed for 176 yards on 31 attempts. Quarterback Theodore Landers of Maple Ridge, B.C., making his second career start in the place of injured starter James Roberts of Cambridge, Ont., had 86 yards rushing on 14 attempts …

OUA.ca website: Complete stats and box score

Guelph Tribune/Mercury: Gryphons victorious over defending Yates Cup champs

Guelph Sports Journal: Photo gallery

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Further Thoughts on the Game

Red Zone Problems – After scoring 5 offensive touchdowns against Waterloo the Gryphon O was held out of the end zone by a good WLU defense. I think the quality of the defenses faced explains a large part of the difference in RZ conversion but getting shut out of the EZ is not acceptable.

Field Goals – Hitting 5 of 7 field goals isn’t bad but I have higher expectations of Gabe Ferraro. I consider him worthy of being an All Canadian again. I want to see him hit 85% of his attempts. After yesterday’s game he has been good on 78.8%.

Right now he is in a tight battle statistically with Western kicker Mark Liegghio for top spot in the OUA. Liegghio has not hit as many long FGs as Ferraro but he has been good on 89% of his attempts. I think Ferraro needs to be a perfect 3 for 3 or 4 for 4 in the season finale to have a good chance of earning 1st Team OUA All Star honours.

Short Yardage Situations – I agree with almost all of the decisions to go for it on 3rd-&-1. I like that Coach MacNeill trusts his players. What concerns me is that 7 games into the season we aren’t yet converting on those gambles nearly often enough. Third-&-1 or 3rd-&-inches should be nearly automatic with the O-Line talent this team has.

Running Game – Johnny Augustine was outstanding running the ball. And the O-Line won the overall battle at the line of scrimmage against a very big Laurier defensive front. Theo Landers was effective again. Not sure what the issue is but Landers has tripped himself up on couple of occasions these past two games when he has had a lot of open field in front of him.

Defense – That was as good a game as the defense has played all year. Their play in the opener against Ottawa seemed a little more dominating but at this point in the season I don’t think anyone considers the Gee-Gees offense on par with the Golden Hawks. Well done!

I have to admit I had a few concerns with the D after some of the big plays given up against Waterloo, missed tackles against Mac and failure to account for the QB running against Western. Laurier’s RB and WRs are very talented and would be very dangerous in the open field if initial tackles were missed or a coverage blown. Same with QB Knevel if he isn’t contained. The D handled it all very well.

Pressure vs Sacks – Anyone just looking at the Box Score [0 sacks] won’t appreciate that the defensive front did a pretty good job of pressuring Knevel. He didn’t have a lot of time. He took several solid hits as he released the ball. He only had one run of any significance [13 yards]. The Gryphon D never let him get comfortable and into a groove, and it showed.

QB hit vs WLU.jpg

Alain Cimankinda hits Laurier QB Michael Knevel   Photo:Gryphons.ca

Chili Bowl Cookoff VII – There is a new Champion! After 3 consecutive wins, and 4 wins in 6 years, Dan & Andrea Crabbe were de-throned. But it isn’t about the winning. It was a great time to greet new and old friends. There were 8 chilis to be sampled, the most entries in several years.

Chili Bowl vii

Playoff Picture – While the coaches and players need to take it one game at a time, as a fan I don’t mind looking ahead. I believe Guelph has secured themselves a playoff spot with this win. Another win this coming Saturday at Carleton and they have a very good shot at hosting a Quarter-Final game. That is based on my expectations that Western will beat Ottawa and McMaster will prevail over Laurier.

A third consecutive win would boost the Gryphons record to 5-3. Not too bad after an 0 & 2 start. They would have some nice momentum heading into the playoffs.

 

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3 Responses to Gryphons beat defending Yates champs

  1. Birddawg says:

    3 yards and a cloud of dust – that was the strategy, and it was executed perfectly. O-Line made it possible for Johnny & Theo to run all day. The defense was at it’s best as Laurier was fortunate to get 14 points. This is the team I thought they were! Hey Peter, is Roberts out for the season?

    • Game plan was very conservative but it worked.
      I heard someone say Roberts was practicing. So, if he isn’t back this week then probably for the Q-Final. I don’t think he’d be practicing if he was out for the season.

  2. Birddawg says:

    I’m curious if we go to a 2 QB system when Roberts returns. Over-simplifiying here but its Landers for the run and Roberts for the pass. Just spit-ballin….

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