The Western Mustangs were undefeated and ranked first in Canada when they came to Richardson Stadium on Saturday. But the Gaels won 37-0 in front of 5,185 fans to extend their own winning streak to six games.
The Gaels will host the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in the OUA quarter-finals on Saturday. If the Gaels win, they’ll travel to Hamilton to face the McMaster Marauders in the semifinals.
The Mustangs had already clinched first place in the OUA for a first-round bye, so head coach Greg Marshall chose to rest eight starters on Saturday. Quarterback Donnie Marshall and running back Tyler Varga were among the players on the bench.
The Gaels dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage against the Mustangs’ second-stringers. Running back Ryan Granberg ran for 197 yards and one touchdown to finish the regular season with an OUA-high 1,068 yards.
Queen’s defence held the country’s number-one rushing offence to a season-low 153 rushing yards. The Gaels have allowed only two touchdowns in the past five weeks and have two shutouts in their last two games.
“No one likes to be pushed around at the line of scrimmage,” defensive lineman Osie Ukwuoma said. “That’s something we pride ourselves on.”
The Gaels could have won by a greater margin if they had converted more of their chances on offence. They came within 20 yards of the endzone nine times, but only scored two offensive touchdowns. Quarterback Billy McPhee consistently overthrew his receivers, completing 10 of 20 passes for 192 yards.
Head coach Pat Sheahan said the offence needs to be more consistent in the playoffs.
“I would have liked to have been a little bit more productive,” he said.
McPhee and defensive lineman Johnny Miniaci both left the game on Saturday, but Sheahan said the injuries weren’t serious and he only kept the players out as a precaution for next week’s game against the Golden Hawks.
The third-place Gaels finish the regular season at 6-2, while the Golden Hawks are in sixth place at 4-4. The Gaels beat the Golden Hawks 58-35 at Richardson Stadium on Sept. 17. But the Golden Hawks’ leading receiver, Shamawd Chambers, was injured during their last meeting with Queen’s. He’s expected to play next weekend.