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MFOOT hangs tough in opening loss to Guelph
Laurier: 7 Guelph: 21

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GUELPH, Ont. (August 25, 2013) - The Wilfrid Laurier University football team dropped their 2013 season opener on Sunday afternoon as they lost a 21-7 decision to the Guelph Gryphons at Alumni Stadium.

The Golden Hawks, who were playing their first game under new head coach MICHAEL FAULDS, got a strong effort from their defence but could not generate enough on offence to knock off the Gryphons, the 2012 Yates Cup finalists.

"Defensively we"re really strong, offensively we're really young obviously and we've just got to get up," said Faulds following his first game as a head coach. "I told the guys in the huddle when we just broke them down, that we've got seven more of these games. Where we are right now is going to be a lot different than where we are Monday night when we play [Toronto] at home."

It was a tough start for the Hawks as Guelph jumped on the board thanks a Keith Walker (Burlington, Ont.) touchdown less than five minutes into the contest. However, a missed extra point, meant the Hawks were done just 6-0. 

After a missed field goal from the Gryphons gave them a 7-0 lead, Laurier got on the board late in the first quarter. Fifth year senior Felix Odum of Pickering, Ont., picked off Guelph quarterback Jazz Lindsey of Markham, Ont., and returned it 34 yards for the major. The touchdown was the second of Odum's career. His first came in 2011 when he returned a kickoff for six points.

Guelph would retake the lead in the second quarter thanks to a one-yard run from backup quarterback Lucas Nangle of London, Ont., and after a conceded safety from Laurier, they held a 16-7 lead at the half.

Laurier's offensive struggles continued in the second half as they failed to generate any momentum, keeping their defence on the field. But the Hawks young group held strong and allowed only a single field goal in the third quarter, keeping the purple and gold in the game.

Late in the fourth quarter and trailing by 12, quarterback Julien John of Oakville, Ont., put together his most successful drive of the day. Threatening to cut the lead to five, Laurier could not get into the endzone and a missed field goal meant the Hawks came away with nothing. Guelph would get one last conceded safety to earn the 21-7 win.

Lindsey, who left for a portion of the game in the second quarter, finished the day 14 of 30 for 117 yards and one touchdown. The Gryphons biggest weapon on the day was running back John Augustine of Welland, Ont., who rushed for 127 yards on 16 carries.

John, making his first career OUA start and standing under centre for the first time in three years, finished the day 11 of 30 for 103 yards. 

"When we got out there, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be," commented John after the game. "I just have to put the ball where it needs to be, clean up my reads a little bit, but we're going to stay the course, and this offence is going to progress."

Fifth year slotback Isaac Dell of Niagara Falls, Ont., was John's favourite target as he made five catches for 53 yards.

Up next for the Hawks, they will return to Waterloo as they host the Toronto Varsity Blues on Monday, September 2. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at University Stadium.

NOTES: Rookie defensive back Taylor Calverley of Kettleby, Ont., led all players on the day with 9.5 total tackles...Guelph registered four sacks on the day while the Hawks finished with two...attendance at Alumni Stadium was 2,155, which included a large group of Laurier's Residence Life Staff
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