Mustangs finally solve the Marauder Mystery

The No. 8 Western Mustangs scored 31 unanswered points to beat the No. 6 McMaster Marauders, 50-19, in front of a crowd of 9,959 at TD Waterhouse Stadium in London on Saturday afternoon.

Western junior quarterback Donnie Marshall (London) used his legs and his arm to lead the Mustangs’ attack, completing 15 of 29 passes for 125 yards in the air and rushing five times for 59 yards and three touchdowns to be named the Score University Rush player of the game in the Ontario University Athletics football contest.

In a balanced offensive attack, Western posted 319 total offensive yards – 200 on the ground and 119 in the air. McMaster had more total offense on the day combining for 390 yards with 269 coming in the air and 121 on the ground. The Marauders were also three out of four on red zones chances, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal.

But turnovers and untimely penalties proved to be their undoing. McMaster had three turnovers to Western’s one and finished with 11 penalties for 125 yards compared to Western’s seven for 69 yards.

McMaster starting quarterback Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee, Ont.) finished with 194 yards on 15 completions in 27 attempts. First-year backup quarterback Marshall Ferguson (Kingston) came in to end the game for the Marauders and completed seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown pass to Jordan Kozina (Brantford) for his second score of the game as time expired. Kozina caught five balls for 56 yards and a touchdown out of the backfield.

Matt Peressini was the top receiver with eight catches for 89 yards. Joey Nemet was the top rusher for the Marauders with 54 yards on 15 carries.

Jerimy Hipperson (St. Catharines) got the bulk of the carries for Western gaining 108 yards on 14 carries. Ian Noble (Toronto) a fifth-year player, was used in short-yardage packages, rushing five times for 11 yards and two touchdowns. Western’s receiving corps was lead by Nick Trevail (London). He had four catches for 50 yards.

It was also the first win for Western head coach Greg Marshall in two tries against his former team. The Marauders had previously been effective against the Mustangs, as Western was 2-8 in their last 10 games against McMaster.

The Mustangs used the wind to their advantage in the first quarter, as Lirim Hajrullahu (St. Catharines) kicked a career-long 49-yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 5-0 lead after McMaster conceded a safety in the end zone.

McMaster responded and engineered a nice drive that included a 34-yard Michael DiCroce (Hamilton) catch and run and ended with Kozina banging it in from the two-yard-line to give McMaster a 7-5 lead.

The Mustangs moved ahead in the second quarter after a 20 yard catch by Londoner Nick Pasic, Western converted from the red-zone as Noble came in at quarterback to leap over the pile for the touchdown. This gave Western a 12-7 lead early in the second quarter.

After DiCroce dropped a punt and Mustangs linebacker Adrian Kaiser (London, Ont.) recovered inside the McMaster 10-yard-line, Hipperson got the Mustangs into the end zone on a six yard run and Western led 19-7 with 12 minutes left in the half.

The Marauders answered back with a 12-yard field goal completing an 11 play 80 yard drive. The Marauders committed another turnover on a punt, with Western kicker Darryl Wheeler (Hamilton), recovering his own punt for the second time this season.

The Mustangs took advantage of the short field and Noble came in again at quarterback for the goal-line-rush to get his second major of the day to give Western the 26-10 lead which they carried into the half.

Western received the ball to start the second half, and ate up the clock going on a 15-play, 88-yard drive over 6:39. Marshall capped the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown after faking the handoff to Hipperson and Hajrullahu’s extra point made it 33-10 halfway through the third quarter. Hajrullahu added a 43-yard field goal to extend the lead to 36-10 to end the third quarter.

The Mustangs defence continued to shut down McMaster, whose offence was stifled by turnovers all day. Marshall led the Mustangs on a quick scoring drive to start the fourth quarter with a 19-yard touchdown run to stretch the Mustangs’ lead to 43-10.

Senior halfback Craig Butler (London) and senior linebacker Jason Kosec (Mississauga) led the Mustangs defence with 10 and eight tackles respectively. Butler also added an interception and Kosec had a forced fumble.

After a fake-punt-and-pass play from Wheeler to senior linebacker and Argos’ draft pick Conor Elliott gave the offence the ball deep in McMaster territory. Marshall ran for 17 yards for his third rushing touchdown of the game and a 50-10 lead.

With the win, the Mustangs move to 2-1 on the season, and a perfect 2-0 at home. McMaster fell to 2-1 on the season. This was Western’s first win against McMaster since 2006, having been defeated 42-35 by McMaster at Homecoming last year.

McMaster will look to rebound when they travel to Ottawa next Saturday, Sept. 18 to take on the no. three Gee Gees.