Milestone mishap

Granberg injured in final seconds of season-ending victory

Running back Ryan Granberg rushed for 98 yards against Toronto, but was injured late in the game.
Running back Ryan Granberg rushed for 98 yards against Toronto, but was injured late in the game.
Queen’s limited Toronto to three offensive points on Saturday.
Queen’s limited Toronto to three offensive points on Saturday.

Queen’s final regular season win may have come with severe repercussions.

The Gaels topped the Toronto Varsity Blues 35-7 at home on Saturday, but saw running back Ryan Granberg go down on the second-last play of the game after suffering a vicious hit to the head.

He finished the game 34 rushing yards short of 1,000 on the season.

Head coach Pat Sheahan said the personal milestone motivated his decision to keep Granberg on the field late in the game.

“It’s one of those things where there’s no second-guessing — we decided to do it [and] everyone was in agreement,” Sheahan said. “If he misses next week, then I’ll regret doing it.”

There was no immediate update on Granberg’s condition, but he could be the latest addition to an extensive Gaels injury list.

They faced Toronto without eight starters and reserve offensive lineman Nicholas Romanchuk, who sprained his ankle at practice on Wednesday night.

Rookie Erick Lessard made his first career start at left tackle in place of Romanchuk, alongside two other backups on the offensive line.

“The decision of who to start at left tackle was made Thursday, after one practice,” Sheahan said. “We had a bit of concern with protection, [but] fortunately, it was not an issue.”

The absence of certain starters didn’t hinder the Gaels against Toronto. Quarterback Billy McPhee completed 14 of 18 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while Granberg added his 10th rushing score of the season.

Receiver Chris Patrician returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“I got some great blocks,” said Patrician, the only player in the CIS with multiple punt return touchdowns in 2012. “I had some guys running with me [down field]. Once I got in the end zone, it was because of them.”

Toronto managed just three points on 18 offensive drives. They punted 12 times, conceded two safeties and committed three turnovers, including an interception by Gaels defensive back Christoph Smith.

Queen’s defence held the Blues to 165 total yards, sacking quarterback Simon Nassar three times.

“We have to get some stability on [offense] to compete with a program like Queen’s,” said Toronto head coach Greg Gary. “We’re a developing program and we performed like a developing program.”

With a third-place finish in the OUA, the Gaels will host the Laurier Golden Hawks on Oct. 27 in the conference quarter-final.

Laurier finished 3-5 this season, clinching the OUA’s final playoff seed despite losing 43-0 to McMaster on Saturday.

Queen’s defeated the Golden Hawks 42-16 in their regular season match-up on Sept. 8.

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