Football flattens Waterloo

Queen’s running back breaks single-season record

Gael Mike Giffin tries to evade a tackle from Waterloo’s John Boonstra.
Gael Mike Giffin tries to evade a tackle from Waterloo’s John Boonstra.
Photo: 
The Gaels’ defence celebrates their Homecoming win over Waterloo.
The Gaels’ defence celebrates their Homecoming win over Waterloo.
Photo: 

A raucous Homecoming game crowd of 10,452 braved the cold weather to witness the Golden Gaels football team put on a show.

The Gaels demolished the Waterloo Warriors 45-0 while limiting them to only 54 yards on offence in a defensive masterpiece.

Gaels running back Mike Giffin ran for 193 yards and cemented his name among the top rushers in Queen’s history with his seventh game of the season with more than 100 rushing yards, a new Queen’s record. He also eclipsed the all-time single-season rushing record of 937 yards set by Brad Elberg in 1992.

Giffin, who scored three touchdowns in the game, was speechless when asked about his record-setting season.

“It feels great after a win. … I feel really good about it,” he said.

Giffin said having such a large crowd helped his motivation for the game.

“I always love playing in front of a big crowd,” he said. “I love to see people cheer for me and cheer for the team, so I think that’s really why I excelled today and had my best game of my career.”

Despite his exploits, Giffin credited the defence for the team’s victory.

“Defence, first and foremost, was amazing,” he said.

Head coach Pat Sheahan said he was pleased with the way his team played.

“I’m pretty sure they came in with a plan to stop the run and they were able to slow us down a little bit, but I thought we got the ball up the field pretty well,” he said. “It just shows that we’re closer to obtaining the kind of balance that we need.”

Sheahan said the team will have to improve if they hope to be a contender in the playoffs.

“We’ve still got to play better than this, I’m afraid,” he said. “We had a lot of untimely penalties and mistakes.”

Queen’s quarterback Danny Brannagan had arguably his best game of the season, going 19-31 for 303 yards. He threw for four touchdowns and one interception.

Brannagan said after playing Laurier and Ottawa back-to-back, the Gaels were ready to be a top-tier OUA team.

“Since we played those two tough opponents, we can see the level that we have to play at to be a top team in this league,” he said. “I think now it’s just up to us to keep playing at that level and make sure we’re pushing ourselves to get better.”

Giffin was the team’s leading receiver with 68 yards on four catches. Wide receiver Scott Valberg caught two touchdown passes and slotback Rob Bagg accounted for the Gaels’ other touchdown.

Valberg said he was happy with the result, but that the team still has to play better.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “The score wasn’t really an indicator of how we played.”

Defensive back Chris Smith said he agreed with Sheahan that the team needs to be more disciplined.

“Against stronger teams like Ottawa and Laurier you pay for those penalties,” he said. “Today we didn’t have to pay for our penalties, but in the long run we will.”

The win moves the Gaels to 5-2 and secures them a home playoff date Oct. 27. Tickets went on sale yesterday.

In the meantime, the Gaels travel to the University of Toronto this weekend to face the Varsity Blues. The Blues set a new CIS record for futility with their 48th straight loss last weekend.

Smith said the team isn’t taking Toronto lightly.

“Toronto’s not as bad as they look, they’ve just been pretty unlucky,” he said. “We’re going to come at them hard.”

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Tickets for the Gaels playoff game Oct. 27 can be purchased by calling (613) 533-2500.

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