Football holds up under pressure

Gaels defeat Varsity Blues, improve to 4-0

Gaels’ running back Mike Giffin tries to juke past Toronto defensive back Derek Batchelor Saturday. Queen’s won 58-14.
Gaels’ running back Mike Giffin tries to juke past Toronto defensive back Derek Batchelor Saturday. Queen’s won 58-14.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo By Jeff Chan
Toronto linebacker Scott Smith (42) makes an unsuccessful diving attempt to block a pass from Queen’s quarterback Dan Brannagan Saturday.
Toronto linebacker Scott Smith (42) makes an unsuccessful diving attempt to block a pass from Queen’s quarterback Dan Brannagan Saturday.
Credit: 
Supplied photo by Jeff Chan

Going into Saturday’s game against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, the football team had little to gain and everything to lose.

The Varsity Blues came into the game with an unexpected 2-1 record, but were still trailing a 49-game losing streak behind them. Number-four ranked Queen’s was expected to annihilate the Blues, and the Gaels lived up to the weight of expectations, recording a 58-14 victory and improving their record to 4-0.

Defensive end Neil Puffer said the high expectations were tough to deal with.

“There was a fair bit of pressure on us,” he said. “Everyone expected us to win, everyone expected us to be perfect.”

He said the team still didn’t play their best, despite the lopsided score.

“We`re not terribly excited about our game today because it didn`t meet our standards for this sort of game,” he said. “We had a couple fumbles, and the trick plays that they were running on us, they got a lot of mileage from. We need to have our heads wrapped around those and know when they’re coming.”

The Gaels got off to a slow start, and it looked like Toronto would take the lead early on with a trick play. Quarterback David Hamilton handed off to fullback Mark Stinson, who faked a run to draw in the Gaels’ defence and then launched a long pass to a wide-open Drew Meerveld who took it in for a touchdown. The play was called back on a holding penalty though, and the Gaels responded to the early scare with two touchdowns of their own.

The Blues responded with a touchdown to make it 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Queen’s piled up 23 more points before the half and began to run away with the game.

Defensive back Jimmy Allin said Toronto was a much tougher opponent this year than when the Gaels had faced them previously.

“U of T’s obviously a much-improved team,” he said. “They’ve got some great athletes.”

Allin said Queen’s still has a long way to go before they meet their own standards of play, though.

“We need to work on everything,” he said. “We need to get better.”

Head coach Pat Sheahan agreed there’s still a lot of work to do.

“I’m pleased with the win, but I think that we’re still not a hundred per cent polished,” he said. “We still have a few areas that we can improve on, and my hope is with each passing week, we’re going to gain a measure of consistency and improve our execution. ... Maybe I’m becoming too hard to please, I don’t know. It was a good win, and we want to be better, that’s all.”

A Golden history against the Blues

September 4, 2006
October 20, 2007September 20, 2008
ScoreGaels 53, Toronto 7Gaels 54, Toronto 24Gaels 58, Toronto 14
RushingQueen's, 151 yards on 25 attempts; Toronto, 50 yards on 21 attemptsQueens, 225 yards on 32 attempts; Toronto, 229 yards on 36 attemptsQueens, 292 yards on 36 attempts; Toronto, 67 yards on 19 attempts
PassingQueen's, 275 yards on 17 completions; Toronto, 195 yards on 16 completionsQueens, 479 yards on 18 completions; Toronto, 146 yards on 10 completionsQueens, 325 yards on 19 completions; Toronto, 189 yards on 21 completions
Net offensive yardsQueen's 418, Toronto 204Queen's 696, Toronto 328Queen;s 609, Toronto 251
First downsQueen's 24, Toronto 17Queen's 25, Toronto 19Queen's 26, Toronto 16
Sacks RecordedQueen's 6, Toronto 4Queen's 2, Toronto 1Queen's 4, Toronto 4
Mike GiffinOne carry for four yards, two catches for 37 yards and one touchdown17 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns, three catches for 70 yards and one touchdown16 carries for 215 yards and two touchdowns, one catch for 11 yards and one touchdown

-Source: universitysport.ca

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