Golden Gaels Photos
Queen's Golden Gaellery by Jeff Chan
Waterloo at Queen's 20071013
GAELS WAX WARRIORS; DEFENCE DOMINATES IN LOPSIDED WIN
By Claude Scilley, Kingston Whig-Standard
With a defensive performance that almost had to be seen to be believed, the Queen's Golden Gaels stymied the Waterloo Warriors in almost every way imaginable Saturday. In claiming a 45-0 Ontario University Athletics victory before a Homecoming crowd of 10,452 who braved a chilly, overcast afternoon, the Gaels allowed the visitors just 78 yards of total offence.
Consider: It was 21-0 before the Warriors got a first down, and that was because Queen's roughed quarterback Luke Balch in the sixth minute of the second quarter. Waterloo had four first downs in the first three quarters of the game, three of them by penalty. Waterloo's Sean Cowie, the fifth-ranked receiver in the country with 35 catches in his first five games, caught three balls - for 14 yards. Waterloo crossed midfield just three times, and never got beyond the Queen's 42-yard line.
"It was amazing," said Queen's centre Dan Bederman, who from the sideline had the best view in the house for the stirring defensive performance. "Our defence is just incredible. I've never been on a team that has done that well. Zero points. How many drives did they get? Incredible." Not since Sept. 1, 2003, when Queen's permitted the York Lions to gain just 55 yards in a 47-7 victory, has a Gaels defensive unit been so suffocating.
"I'm not going to say we played perfectly," said linebacker Thaine Carter. "[but] we did play very well today. Everybody did their job." Carter said the Gaels are a hungry football team. "We had some tough losses over the past couple of weeks and we really [wanted] to go out there and show how we can play. "We're not only playing for ourselves, we're playing for our coaches, our families, our alumni ... a lot of people are counting on us to go far." Carter said the athletes are grateful for the preparation they get. "We really want to make our coaches proud," he said. "We're hungry, we're young, we're really ambitious and we'd really like to put a [championship] ring on our coaches' fingers. I can't explain it. It's a unanimous feeling on the team."
Queen's defensive co-ordinator Pat Tracey was pleased with his team's play, but allowed that Waterloo wasn't at full strength. "The Joe Paopao offence that we saw on the tapes was a complicated offence to defend," Tracey said. "Then we find out that both quarterbacks are injured. The offence is designed to spread you out and then ... they couldn't run it because the quarterbacks couldn't run anymore. "[That] really limited what they could do." Just the same, the players had to execute and Tracey said they did so very well, thanks to their ability to recognize formations. "They have some formations that are difficult with personnel," he said. "Seventy-five, their best player, plays tight end," said Tracey. "That series of plays has about four combinations in it and they defended all of them very well. Then they take out 75 and put in No. 4 or 16 or 23 and ... it starts to multiply how many options they have. The guys just reduced it down. It was very well done."
Warriors coach Dennis McPhee was fairly dejected with the way the day turned out. "They're a good football team and they took advantage of our obvious weakness, which is our offensive line," McPhee said. "I knew it was going to be difficult with the crew we had on hand today but I expected a little bit more. We're young and we're banged up but they've got to do a better job than that. When you add inexperience and mistakes to poor play, that's a recipe for disaster and that's what it was."
The Gaels over-matched their opponent, coach Pat Sheahan said. "I don't think man for man they could match us. They played with some heart but I just don't think they have the horses at the moment to be in the race. "We dominated just about every facet of the game." Sheahan said having lost in the last minute at Ottawa last weekend provided some impetus for a splendid performance, not just by the defence but by an offence that generated 539 yards. That's the most in a game since Queen's gained 554 yards at Guelph, Sept. 27, 2003. "The kids were upbeat from the get-go," Sheahan said. "I think the Ottawa experience has been a bit of a breakthrough for them, emotionally. They know they're in the hunt and the result of today's game is probably only got them even more excited. "They know they're building a heck of a football team."
- Mike Giffin rushes for two touchdowns and Danny Brannagan throws for four others, one to Giffin, two to Scott Valberg and one to Rob Bagg, as team improves to 5-2.
- Warriors: A dreadful performance, with just 78 yards of total offence as the Warriors, 3-4, lose their fourth in a row.
- The game: It's 21-0 20 minutes into the game; the outcome could have been more severe had Giffin not fumbled twice inside the Waterloo 20-yard line and Dan Village missed a 22-yard FG.
- Significance: Queen's clinches third place and a home playoff date Oct. 27; Waterloo has to beat Western this week to make the playoffs.
- Mike Giffin: Queen's RB has a career-best day, 193 yards rushing, becomes the first player in modern school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season (official statistics were not kept prior to 1964). With 1,029 yards, Giffin breaks the single-season record set in 1992 by Brad Elberg (937); Giffin is also the first player in Queen's history to have seven 100-yard games in a season.
Next: Varsity Blues in the season finale, Saturday at Toronto.
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