The #6 McMaster Marauders overcame a slow first half start to score 34 unanswered points on their way to securing a 37-13 defeat of the Guelph Gryphons in front of a sold-out Homecoming crowd of 9,500 at Guelph’s Alumni Field Saturday.
Matthew Peressini caught six balls for 66 yards and two touchdowns against the Gryphons. In doing so he moved to fourth all-time in McMaster history in career receptions with 118 and to fifth on the career receiving yardage list with 1633 yards. His two touchdown receptions moved him into a tie for fifth spot in career receiving touchdowns as well.
Michael DiCroce made big grabs all afternoon to spark the McMaster offence. He finished with seven catches for 81 yards adding another 21 yards on the ground.
With McMaster starter Joey Nemet sidelined early in the game rookie running back Christopher Pezzetta had a break out game rushing for 106 yards on 13 rushing attempts and a touchdown. Marshall Ferguson led the Marauder passing attack, collecting 236 yards on 19-of-29 completions with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Getting his first start, rookie linebacker Aram Eisho made seven solo tackles to lead all defenders.
Guelph Quarterback Chris Rossetti (Mississauga, Ont.) completed 16-of-35 attempts for 216 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Receivers Kevin Campbell (Pickering, Ont.) and Jedd Gardner (Niagara Falls, Ont.) each had five receptions, with Campbell scoring the lone Gryphon touchdown.
The Gryphon defence was the key to their first half success, forcing five McMaster turnovers. With a missed field goal by Guelph early in the first quarter, McMaster saw a promising return end in a fumble recovery for the Gryphon’s, giving them great field possession. On the ensuing drive, Rossetti was able to find Campbell on a one yard touchdown throw to give the Gryphon’s a 7-0 lead.
The Gryphon’s opened the second quarter with a long drive, ultimately ending in a missed field goal. On McMaster’s first play after the miss, defensive back Bryan Dunjko (Aurora, Ont.) made his first of two interceptions on the day to give the Gryphon’s positive field position. Guelph kicked a field goal soon after to go up 10-0 early in the second.
After another interception by Dunjko, Rossetti threw his first interception to McMaster linebacker Nicholas Shortill that resulted in a Tyler Crapigna field goal on the ensuing drive to close the Gryphon lead to 10-3. After trading turnovers, the teams went to the half with Guelph leading 10-3.
Guelph started the second half scoring, adding another field goal early to extend their lead to 13-3. Things turned around for the Marauders after that. Pezzetta would score on a one yard run followed by a 24 yard touchdown pass by Fergus to Peressini, giving McMaster a 17-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
McMaster would open the fourth quarter with another Crapigna field goal to build their lead to 20-13. Ferguson would connect again with Peressini, this time on a six yard touchdown strike, to go up 27-13.
A field goal and Stephen Ventresca’s 70 yard interception return late in the game would seal the deal for the Marauders and they improved to 3-1 on the season. With the loss the Gryphons fell to 1-3.
After the two game road portion of their schedule the Marauders return home to Ron Joyce Stadium for the annual Homecoming game on October 1 against the Waterloo Warriors. Kickoff is at 1:00.