Golden Hawks outshine Gaels

Football’s undefeated streak ends at four games with 23-4 loss to Laurier

Defensive back Jimmy Allin, who was named Queen’s player of the game, stretches for the ball against Laurier.
Defensive back Jimmy Allin, who was named Queen’s player of the game, stretches for the ball against Laurier.

It seems the Golden Gaels are fallible after all.

The football team’s undefeated run came to a halt Saturday afternoon at Richardson Stadium, when the Laurier Golden Hawks beat them 23-4.

The battle of two undefeated teams was witnessed by 5,582 fans.

As it has all season, the running game treated the Gaels well, with running back Mike Giffin plowing for 171 yards and an impressive 6.6 yards per carry. The game was Giffin’s seventh straight with more than 100 rushing yards, and his fifth this season.

The passing game was a different story. Quarterback Danny Brannagan completed only 10 of 30 passes for 159 yards passing and two interceptions. Brannagan had thrown only two interceptions in the previous four games.

The team’s loss of slotback Rob Bagg to an apparent rib injury in the second quarter didn’t help

its performance.

Brannagan said the team’s passing game didn’t do its job.

“We just weren’t moving the ball through the air that well,” he said.

Queen’s head coach Pat Sheahan said the team could have been better in the passing department.

“We really didn’t get a consistent offensive effort today,” he said. “Our passing game was off.”

Sheahan said Brannagan wasn’t as good as in previous weeks.

“It wasn’t his best day, there’s no question about that.”

It seemed that whenever the offence came together in the second half, unlucky bounces cost the team a chance to score.

Giffin’s longest run of the day, a 36-yarder in the second quarter, ended in a fumble that Laurier recovered. In the third quarter, Brannagan threw a 54-yard strike to receiver Devan Sheahan, but the Gaels fumbled once again.

“Normally those are the kind of plays that can really tilt the game in your favour,” Sheahan said.

The Gaels’ only first down in the second quarter came when punter Dan Village recovered a wobbly snap and ran 10 yards.

Sheahan said the defence played well against a quality opponent.

“The good news is [the defence] is going to get stronger, they’re going to get better and they’re going to continue to shut them down,” he said.

Receiver Rob Bagg said the team knows the defence gives them a chance to win every game.

“We know we have the best defence in the country,” he said.

Laurier’s Ryan Lynch, the country’s leading rusher, was held to 88 yards, while Laurier quarterback Ian Noble threw for only 200 yards and one touchdown.

Bagg sustained a rib injury in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the game except for one play, a crucial third down in the fourth quarter. Brannagan’s pass to him was incomplete.

Sheahan said Bagg thought he could play injured, but discovered he couldn’t.

“He kind of forced his way in there,” Sheahan said. “He spoke to the medical staff and said he was ready to make a contribution. I think what he found is that he couldn’t go.”

Sheahan said Bagg’s loss had a visible effect on the offence.

“He was the big loss. He’s the kind of guy who can make plays in the second half and make a difference,” he said.

Bagg said he will be ready for next week’s game, a Saturday tilt in Ottawa against the Ottawa Gee-Gees—the OUA’s other

undefeated team.

Sheahan said the team had nothing to be ashamed of, as they played against a

formidable opponent.

“We knew that they were not going to come down here and hand you the game, you’d have to take it from them,” he said. “We weren’t ready to do that.”

Sheahan said the plan for next week’s game is simple.

“I think the first thing to do is not panic,” he said. “Let’s do a thorough evaluation of what went wrong and let’s fix that.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.