Football stays undefeated

Gaels beat Windsor Lancers 38-3

Gael linebacker Mike Walker (49) lines up a tackle on Windsor’s star receiver Glenn McKay on Saturday.
Gael linebacker Mike Walker (49) lines up a tackle on Windsor’s star receiver Glenn McKay on Saturday.
Supplied photo By Windsor Athletics

The Queen’s Golden Gaels, Canada’s eighth-ranked team, remained undefeated after pounding the University of Windsor Lancers 38-3 in front of a national television audience on Saturday evening.

Running back Mike Giffin continued his all-star season with three rushing touchdowns and 120 yards, while quarterback Danny Brannagan threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns.

Unlike their previous three wins in which the Gaels came from behind, the team surrendered a single point on a missed Windsor field goal before exploding for 28 unanswered points in the first half.

Head coach Pat Sheahan was pleased with his team’s effort.

“We had some great individual contributions, but overall what impressed me about the game was that it was a real team effort,” he said. “All three facets of our game excelled.”

The defence held Windsor’s running back, Hec Creighton Trophy winner Daryl Stephenson, to only 109 yards and no touchdowns.

“A player like that, you’re not going to stop him. You’re going to slow him down. I thought our guys did a good job slowing him down considerably,” Sheahan said.

Stephenson passed the 4,000-yard mark for his career and is now poised to break the all-time OUA mark set by current Hamilton Tiger-Cat Jesse Lumsden.

Giffin, who ran for his fourth straight 100-yard game and has scored six touchdowns in the last two games, was pleased with his team’s quick start.

The offense came out early and put some points up on the board, which we haven’t been doing lately,” he said. “We worked on coming out with a fast start in practice this week. It was nice to actually do what we practiced.”

Sheahan said he thought Giffin did well against his high-profile counterpart.

“In the end our big guy prevailed over their big guy,” he said.

After the Gaels were down 1-0, Jimmy Allin, returning kicks for the first time all year due to a thumb injury, returned a punt deep into the Windsor end, setting up Giffin’s 19-yard touchdown run.

The Gaels never looked back, allowing only 97 passing yards and intercepting Windsor quarterback Dan Lumley three times. Defensive co-ordinator Pat Tracey had his squad applying constant pressure and had the Lancers on their heels the whole game.

Allin made two of the interceptions. Sheahan said he was pleased with the defensive back’s play.

“He had a great game … He’s got a real knack for putting himself in a position for turnovers,” he said. “We’ve always known he was great but he’s finally getting some recognition.”

Brannagan’s best play of the game was a 67-yard strike to Rob Bagg that made the game 35-3.

After questioning Brannagan’s ability to play in the first half, Sheahan glowingly praised his quarterback’s play.

“We put the challenge out to [Brannagan] to succeed at the start of the game and he did,” he said. “He stood in there several times and took contact, and came back and made the play the next time. He showed some real progress this week.”

The game, which took place over Windsor’s Homecoming weekend, was somewhat of a revenge mission for Queen’s, who had lost to Windsor the past three years by margins of two, three, and four points respectively.

“We wanted to go in and spoil their Homecoming and that’s what we did,” Sheahan said.

Giffin said the game’s national television audience added some hype.

“Once you know you’re on TV, everyone has something to prove. People have friends and family watching.”

Queen’s is one of three undefeated teams in the OUA, along with Laurier and Ottawa, both at 4-0, who are the Gaels’ next two opponents.

The Gaels host Laurier next Saturday at Richardson Stadium at 1:25 PM.

Sheahan said the team’s success rests on the outcome of the next two games.

“As much as it’s been a great start, these two games will be indicators of where we stand,” he said.

“These two games will define our season.”

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