Golden Gaels Photos
Queen's Golden Gaellery by Jeff Chan
Western at Queen's 20080927
The Stangs took a come-from-behind 4-point win over Ottawa in the first game of the year, had a close 11-point win over Laurier, rolled over Waterloo by 43, and demolished York 71-0. With only Laurier as a common opponent, it's difficult to compare records, but it is notable that Western's margin over Laurier was only 11 points, while the Gaels beat Laurier going away, by 34.
With the firm of Brannagan, Giffin & Valberg, Queen's has the leading passer, rusher and receiver in the country, by yards. But Western's combination of Faulds, Leckie and Pasic are right up there, so the offensive battle will be impressive, with the edge going to Queen's who have gained almost 100 yards more per game than Western. However, Western has scored 186 points (including the 71-0 win over York) to 165 points scored by Queen's who have yet to play the Lions. A look at the opposition (Western versus two likely non-playoff teams in Waterloo and York; Queen's versus one non-playoff team in Toronto) may explain some of the discrepancy in scoring.
On the defensive side of the ball, Western has only allowed 13.5 points per game versus the Gaels' 15.5 points. The Stangs also have the advantage in yards allowed per game, 289 - 341. That's a variance that Coach Pat Tracey is unlikely to let stand.
QUEEN'S 43, WESTERN 16
If you were to glance at the stats, a few things would jump out at you: first downs 33-18; net yards passing 386-148, net offense 457-290, net offensive plays 89-63, time of possession 46:00-29:00 (okay you’d also notice this adds up to more than an hour and there was no need for overtime)… all in favour of the Western Mustangs. Then you might look at the final score and say, the stats guys must have gotten something wrong, because it looks like Queen’s 43, Western 16. But no, there’s no mistake. Beneath the offensive stats are some other more telling results: fumbles lost 0-3, interceptions 0-4, sacks by: 4-2, touchdowns 5-2, field goals 2-0, all in favour of the Gaels.
The score, given the advantage Western had in yardage and possession time, was not indicative of the play, even though the Gaels outscored the Mustangs in three of the four quarters. (Let's take a deep breath and then forget all about that third quarter!)
The defense was spectacular, giving up plenty of yards and plays to Western QB Mike Faulds but stopping the Stangs or forcing them into turnovers whenever they threatened … except in the third quarter when the Gaels were outscored and the offense could get nothing going. But as with all great teams, the Golden Gaels hung in and ultimately put the game out of reach with a 20-9 final quarter.
Alex Daprato (with a game-changing 94-yard return), Mike Botting, Jimmy Allin and Peter Boshyk (to set up Mike Giffin's last TD late in the game) recorded the interceptions. Thaine Carter, TJ Leeper and Osie Ukwuoma recovered three of the 5 Western fumbles. Leading tacklers were Carter (8 tackles), David Rooney (7), Leeper (6.5) and Daprato (5.5). Chris Smith, Ukwuoma, Dee Sterling and Kyle MacDonald had the sacks.
The country’s leading passer, rusher and receiver did not have their usual success, against a tough Western defense. Danny Brannagan was 16 of 36 for 148 yards, 2 TD’s and was sacked twice. Mike Giffin had his string of 100-yard games snapped as he gained 69 net yards on 20 carries – but with 3 TD’s. And Scott Valberg had 7 catches for 76 yards. Scott Stinson and Chris Ioannides had 47 and 6 yards receiving, but a TD each. The good news – the team committed no turnovers – correcting a problem from the last few games.
Special teams were also solid. Dan Village was good on all 5 converts and 2 of 3 field goals for a total of 11 points, and out kicked the Western punter. The remaining points came from a conceded safety in the first quarter. Jimmy Allin had a key 21-yard run on a fake field goal that led to Scott Stinson’s TD 2 plays later.
So what impact does all this have on the stats? Queen's leap-frogs Western to go #2 in most points scored with 218, just 4 less than Ottawa. The Golden Gaels remain unbeaten along with Laval and Saint Mary's. Queen's ranks #1 in total net yards of offense with 2684, just 1 ahead of Ottawa. With 1048 yards rushing and 1636 yards passing, they are #3 and #2 nationally.
Danny Brannagan drops to #2 in yards passing to Josh Sacobie of Ottawa, 1552 yards to 1677. Brannagan and Sacobie are tied for #1 in passing TD's with 13. Mike Giffin hangs on to the #1 rushing position, just ahead of Jamal Lee (753 vs. 724) but Lee has one game in hand. Giffin also leads the land in rushing TD's with 9, one ahead of Lee. Scott Valberg drops to #2 in receiving yards to Joshua Svec of Waterloo (Waterloo?) with 548 vs. 622. He mains tied for first in receiving TD's with 5, along with Alain Dorval of Sherbrooke and Nick Pasic of Western. Mike Giffin is #1 in scoring with 11 TD's for 66 points. Dan Village is #2, with 10 FG's, 25 converts, andd 3 singles.
The key stat: five wins, zero losses.
The Gaels have three games left in the regular season and a terrific shot at finishing first in the OUA, not that anyone is looking too far ahead, even of next week’s opponent, the hapless York Lions. One has only to look at the results of Sunday's NFL games (two unbeaten teams lose in upsets: previously winless KC over Denver; Washington over Dallas) to see that no team can be taken lightly.
The Gaels travel to Toronto to meet the Lions at York Stadium at 1:00pm on October 4.
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2000-2008, (Queen's 73, Western MBA 75) but may be used for personal non-commercial use, and by Queen's University, the University of Western Ontario, the CIS and its member conferences, and by the Vanier Cup, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights are reserved.
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by Queen's University, and U Sports Canada and its member conferences, other participating teams, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan.
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