Gaels season opens with victory

 

Queen's quarterback Nate Hobbs (left) drops back for a pass at the Gaels season opener against the Carleton Ravens on Sunday.
Credit: 
Photos by Kendra Pierroz

Chris Mackey’s last-minute interception put the finishing touches on the Gaels’ 2015 season opener.

The second-year cornerback’s pick in the end zone handed Queen’s (1-0) a 34-24 victory over the Carleton Ravens (0-1) on Sunday — capping off the final 30 minutes in which the Gaels outscored Carleton 20-4.

“For us, the guys who had to make plays made them,” Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan said. “We’ve got some fixing and polishing up to do, but we’ll do it after a W [win] and not an L [loss].”

After a 20-14 halftime deficit, Queen’s scored 17 unanswered points during the third quarter. The run included a 50-yard touchdown for wide receiver Doug Corby, handing the Gaels their first lead of the game — one they wouldn’t relinquish.

Quarterback Nate Hobbs threw for 338 yards in his first start under centre for the Gaels, connecting twice with Corby for scores. The second-year player improved as the game went on, completing 15 of his 20 second half passing attempts.

“I thought Nate Hobbs — for his first time out — looked like a very seasoned pivot,” Sheahan said. “He didn’t look like he was particularly ruffled at any time during the game. He was very, very within himself.”

Hobbs struggled with ball control, fumbling multiple times in the game, including one that saw a Carleton game-tying touchdown. The touchdown was later negated by an offside penalty.

Hobbs, Corby and running back Jesse Andrews provided a spark in the second half, but the biggest shift came on the defensive end.

After falling behind 14-0, Queen’s forced the Ravens to punt 12 times during the final 51 minutes of action.

The Gaels surrendered few points in the second half, giving up only a pair of safeties. The second safety came after Corby was tackled in the end zone following a punt he fielded at the Queen’s one-yard line.

While the Gaels contained the Carleton passing attack, they failed to keep Ravens’ tailback Jahvari Bennett from running roughshod on them. Bennett racked up 140 yards on 15 rushes in the game.

Sheahan said the Gaels’ focus on maintaining slotback Nate Behar and Carleton’s passing game gave Bennett the opportunity to pick up long rushes.

“I’m sure that most Queen’s fans would be happy to know that we prevented the big plays most of the game,” Sheahan said. “But the cost was we had to give a couple of rips up the middle.”

Sheahan added that the Gaels could make some small adjustments to keep offences from exploiting their run defence heading forward.

Queen’s is on the road for their next game to take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees (0-0) next Sunday. When the teams last met in September 2014, Ottawa broke the Gaels’ 14-game home winning streak with a 37-30 comeback victory.

Queen's quarterback Nate Hobbs (right) looks to connect with Doug Corby at Sunday's game.

Corrections

September 14, 2015
Doug Corby was tackled after he fielded a punt at the one-yard line, not after a punt at the one-yard line as the article originally stated.

The Journal regrets the error.

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