A young McMaster football team, averaging 2.8 years experience in the starting lineup, was defeated 35-11 by a veteran Queen’s Golden Gaels squad, averaging 3.5 years experience, 35-11.
Playing on a hot and humid day (28 degrees – 31 with the humidex) at Richardson Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 1), the Marauders offence, with Ryan Fantham (London, ON) taking the snaps, could only generate 68 yards of total offense in the first half. With Queen’s compiling 235 yards, the Marauders went into the locker room down 14-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, McMaster called upon third-year passer Steve Sparks (Hamilton). After a rough start, including a Tony Okorodudu (Hamilton) fumble, and an interception, Sparks settled down to complete 13 of 18 passes for 168 yards, including orchestrating a 10-play, 68-yard drive capped by a three-yard pass to Sean Fahey (Mississauga) playing in his first game with McMaster.
McMaster receiver Matthew Peressini (Hannon) had four receptions for 66 yards and added three kickoff returns for 88 yards an average of 29.33 yards per kickoff return. McMaster running back, Joey Nemet (Burlington) had 10 carries for 47 yards, while Okorodudu had five carries for 22 yards.
The McMaster defense was active all afternoon, showing more blitz packages than in the past two seasons under McMaster defensive coordinator Greg Knox.
McMaster defensive end James Edwards had five tackles and 1.5 sacks. Linebacker Simon Binder (Almonte, ON) had 3.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Fellow linebacker, Justin Vince (London) had 3.5 tackles. Kurt Morrison (Sault Ste. Marie) had four tackles and one interception for the Marauders.
Queen’s had two touchdowns from Mike Giffin (Kinston) who recorded 143 yards carrying the ball 18 times in his return to the Gaels after attending training camp with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Giffin has rushed for over 100 yards for 11 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 17, 2006.
Gaels’ quarterback Danny Brannagan (Burlington) tossed for 288 yards, including two touchdown passes while averaging over nine-yards per pass.
McMaster (0-1) will travel to Waterloo to play the Warriors on Saturday (Sept. 6) at 1 p.m.
McMaster will celebrate the grand opening of Ron Joyce Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets (season and single game) are available at www.marauders.ca