Western won’t play starters

In final regular season game, Western coach Greg Marshall plans to rest many starters against the Gaels tomorrow

The Western Mustangs head coach says he won’t field many of his starters in tomorrow’s game against the Gaels.

The undefeated Mustangs clinched first place in the OUA last week, sealing a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage for the entire OUA post-season.

Marshall listed over 7 starters struggling with injuries, including quarterback Donnie Marshall, who’s in an ankle cast.

“The most important thing for us is that players are healthy in the playoffs,” Mustangs coach Greg Marshall said. “[Saturday’s game] doesn’t mean anything to us in the standings.

Running back prodigy Tyler Varga was hit while he wasn’t wearing his helmet in the Mustangs game against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues last weekend. First-year Varga leads the CIS with 15 rushing touchdowns.

Marshall said Varga has a sore neck and is doubtful to play at Richardson Stadium tomorrow.

Fullback Dan Duff, receivers Zach Bull and Brian Marshall, offensive lineman Matt Norman and defensive lineman Brent Wheeler are also all injured and likely to rest on Saturday.

“A lot of guys have been cleared [to play],” Marshall said. “But I think that another week’s rest would be good,” Marshall said.

The Mustangs offence has averaged 311 rushing yards per game while the Gaels’ defence has has held opponents to an average of 55 running yards.

“The number-one run defence against the number-one run offence,” Queen’s coach Pat Sheahan said.

Saturday will be the Mustangs’ first visit to Kingston since the Gaels beat them 43-39 in the 2009 Yates Cup. After seven lead changes, the Gaels scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I asked a couple of [players] what their favourite Queen’s-Western memory was,” Sheahan said. “They went right to that game.”

Last season, the Mustangs beat the Gaels 46-10 during Western’s Homecoming game.

“We went down there last year and got our nose bloodied,” Sheahan said. “There’s not too much required for motivation.”

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on tomorrow at Richardson Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on The Score.

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