HAMILTON (October 18, 2014) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team were handed their second straight loss of the season by the McMaster Marauders as they fell 27-10 at Ron Joyce Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After the Hawks (4-3) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Marauders (7-0) scored 24 straight points on the strength of quarterback Marshall Ferguson of Kingston, Ont., and running back Chris Pezzetta of Burlington, Ont., to build a lead that would prove to be insurmountable for the purple and gold.
Ferguson finished the day 23-for-33 for 264 yards and two touchdowns while Pezzetta rushed for 116 yards.
“A better effort definitely on defence, but offensively obviously you could see that was the thing really slowing us down,” commented head coach MICHAEL FAULDS on his team’s play. “Hats off to our defence, because I don’t know how many minutes they were on the field, but it was a significant amount because of how many 2-and-outs and short drives we had offensively.”
In what was a very positive start for Laurier after a tough loss to No. 4 Western a week ago, the Hawks drove the field against the defence of the No. 3 Marauders to open the game. Quarterback James Fracas of Waterloo, Ont., capped the drive with a 12-yard pass to Greg Nyhof of Georgetown, Ont., to give Laurier a 7-0 advantage.
However, from that point forward, the Hawks did very little to generate offence and the Marauders began to take over the game.
Trailing 7-3 heading into the second quarter, McMaster got the wind at their back and took advantage. A Danny Vandervoort (Barrie, Ont.) 48-yard touchdown was sandwiched between two Tyler Crapigna (Nepean, Ont.) field goals to push the Marauders in front 16-7 at the half.
The second half was not much better for the purple and gold on offence. Laurier crossed midfield just once in the quarter and struggled to put consistent drives together.
“We started off really well. The first couple touches he [James] makes a great pass to Greg Nyhof, and then we have the one mistake throwing the interception in the second quarter,” said Faulds of his offence. “The one thing as a quartrback is that you have to have a really short memory. You throw a touchdown pass or an interception; you have to move on to the next play. And James didn’t do a great job bouncing back from that interception and it escalated.”
However, the defence stepped up and limited McMaster to just one score in the third, keeping the Hawks within three scores as they trailed 24-7 after three.
The Hawks struggles on offence proved to be too much on the day though as Laurier managed just three points in the fourth, off a conceded safety and a missed field goal.
Crapigna put the game away for McMaster midway through the final quarter with a 41-yard field goal, his 83rd as a Marauder that set a new CIS record for field goals made in a career.
Defensively, Laurier got a big effort from second year linebacker Nakas Onyeka of Brampton, Ont. Making his first career start, Onyeka had a career-high 11 tackles, including nine solo, two of which were tackles for losses. Teammate Chris Ackie of Cambridge, Ont., matched Onyeka with 11 tackles, all solo, which was also a single game career-high for the CFL draft prospect.
“I thought we had a really good week of practice, and Wednesday we probably had our best practice this year, and I think it starts and ends with that,” stated Onyeka on the play of himself and his teammates on defence. “We made a few errors on both sides of the ball, including [special teams], but all of that will be improved for Guelph.”
Running back Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., was the lone bright spot on offence for the Hawks as he rushed for 123 yards on 22 carries, the seventh time this year that he’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark. He now has 1,255 yards on the season, which is the 16th most rushing yards in one season in CIS history.
Up next for the Hawks, they close out their regular season at home against the No. 6 Guelph Gryphons (6-1). Laurier enters the final game of the year tied with Ottawa and Carleton in the standings, with two of the three teams qualifying for the fifth and sixth playoff spots.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at University Stadium.