Football falls apart in Guelph

Gryphons hand Gaels worst defeat in program history

Queen’s football was on the wrong side of history in their 66-0 loss to Guelph on Saturday.

The Gaels (0-4) were shut out in record fashion by the sixth-ranked Gryphons (3-1) in Guelph, representing the largest margin of defeat in the program’s 121-year history.

Nothing went right for the Gaels. They had 264 yards of offence to Guelph’s 679, lost six fumbles and allowed 10 sacks to an aggressive Gryphons defensive line.

“It was probably the toughest day of the season. It’s unfortunate, the timing of it, but there were a couple of guys on Guelph that were difficult to manage up front and things just didn’t go well for us,” said head coach Pat Sheahan. “The offence managed 24 first downs, but we shot ourselves in the foot. We had quite a few turnovers and every single one of them were drive killers.”

After holding the Gryphons to a field goal on Guelph’s first possession of the game, fifth-year quarterback Billy McPhee started the ensuing drive on a high note, completing a 12-yard pass to receiver Doug Corby. Queen’s drove inside the red zone, but made a mess of a field goal attempt on third down as they came up with no points.

Guelph’s dual-threat quarterback Jazz Lindsey scored on a 11 yard scamper on the next drive as the Gryphons began pulling away early. Lindsey finished with 345 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air, along with another two on the ground.

“We played on a short field a lot because they had pretty good returns. There’s no question we had trouble stopping them. They have some good weapons,” Sheahan said. “In every season, there’s one game a year where you play subpar, and this was that game this season.”

The Gaels got as far as Guelph’s 50-yard line on the ensuing possession, but McPhee threw incomplete on a third-down gamble.

McPhee was one of the few players to show up against Guelph, completing 22 of 31 passes for 225 yards while throwing zero interceptions. Fellow fifth-year senior Derek Wiggan had five tackles for losses and a fumble recovery.

After the first quarter, the Gaels trailed 17-0, and were down 25-0 by the time they next crossed midfield. On a third-and-eight play from the Guelph 41, the Gaels elected to keep their offence on the field, but McPhee was sacked for a nine-yard loss.

McPhee’s offensive line failed to adequately protect him, as the fifth-year pivot was sacked nine times on the day. The Gaels gave up 15 points in the second quarter and trailed 32-0 at halftime.

Guelph dialed up the pressure even more after the break, sacking McPhee six times in the third quarter alone and recovering two fumbles. The Gaels’ best chance to score came with 1:12 left in the third quarter, but kicker Dillon Wamsley missed a 47-yard field goal.

Queen’s defence forced its only turnover of the game in the third quarter, as Lindsey was stripped of the ball and Wiggan recovered.

“We have a young team, we were playing at the other team’s Homecoming and Guelph was very fired up for the game. We eliminated them from the playoffs last year so they were very fired up to face us and certainly, they’re the more veteran team,” Sheahan said.

With the Gaels down 58-0 in the fourth quarter, Sheahan elected to pull McPhee and bring in rookie quarterback Nate Hobbs, who completed two passes for 15 yards. The Gryphons scored 20 more points in the fourth quarter, with backups playing for most of it.

The Gaels now face an improbable situation to make the playoffs with an 0-4 record. They head into a must-win game at the McMaster Marauders (4-0) on Saturday in Hamilton.

OUA Football Standings

1. McMaster (4-0)

T-2. Western (3-0)

T-2. Windsor (3-0)

4. Guelph (3-1)

T-5. Carleton (2-1)

T-5. Laurier (2-1)

7. Ottawa (2-2)

8. Toronto (1-3)

T-9. Queen’s (0-4)

T-9. Waterloo (0-4)

T-9. York (0-4)

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