Though few coaches ever celebrate defeats, the football team may be reveling in the team’s performance against the Western Mustangs this past Saturday.
While the Gaels fell to 2-2 with a 48-25 loss against their biggest rivals, it was a far cry from the major blowouts the Mustangs have grown accustomed to this season. Going into the game, the London-based side had scored 209 points, while conceding just 26 — all in just three games.
“They hadn’t been in a lot of close games so far this season, so [head coach Pat Sheahan] said it’d be good to get them in that situation and see how they’d respond,” Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs said.
Sheahan, who referred to the Mustangs as “one of the top teams in the country” earlier in the week, corralled his Gaels to a third-quarter shutout, the first stretch of 15 minutes this season that the Mustangs have gone without a point.
“Obviously we didn’t get the result that we wanted,” Hobbs said. “But I think we showed that we can hang in and play with those guys.”
Hobbs connected with Curtis Carmichael twice and Connor Weir once for receiving touchdowns, while also putting up 336 yards through the air.
Jesse Andrews registered his fourth 100-yard game of the season in as many tries, picking up 102 yards on the day. Andrews is currently leading the province in both carries (75) and rushing yards (583) this season.
However, while there were some bright spots for Queen’s in containing Western’s full potential, the winning team still put up a rather impressive show. Mustangs quarterback Will Finch put up 463 passing yards to go along with two touchdowns through the air.
“The game was kind of a big measuring stick for us,” Hobbs said. “If you want to be seen as one of the top teams in the nation or you want to be seen as a top player, you’re going to have to perform against the teams like this.”
The Gaels kept the game close until the fourth quarter, trailing by a score of 31-18 with just over 10 minutes remaining after Carmichael’s second score.
“When we got within two scores there near the end, there was definitely a lot of hope from the guys,” Hobbs said.
However, a nine-play Mustang drive on the following series all but sealed the deal for Western.
The Gaels find themselves in a crucial matchup this weekend on the road against the University of Toronto. With four games to go in their regular season, Queen’s sits in the sixth and final playoff spot in the OUA.
After the performance on the weekend, Hobbs and the Gaels have a lot of confidence.
“Knowing that we can play with those guys [Western], we can hang with just about anyone in the conference,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together and seeing what we can accomplish over the next four weeks.”
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