Marauders fight off Gee Gees rally

Marshall Ferguson tossed two touchdowns and scored two more on the ground to lead the McMaster Marauders to a 51-24 opening day win over the Ottawa Gee Gees.

McMaster QB Marshall Ferguson (2) receives the snap en route to a rout of the Ottawa Gee Gees.
(Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

The two-time defending Yates Cup champions now push their Ontario University Athletics winning streak to 20 games against provincial opponents. Mac’s last OUA loss was on Sept. 10, 2011 against Western.

Ferguson, a Kingston native, finished 28-for-40 with 352-yards passing while Hamilton’s Michael DiCroce was the game’s top receiver with 102 yards from eight catches. The 2011 OUA MVP also added a touchdown in Sunday’s (Aug. 25) win.

McMaster quickly assumed a 21-0 lead only to see it dissolve with less than three minutes to play in the opening half. In that time, Ottawa struck for 16 points including 14 in the final 1:49 putting the score at 21-16 at the half.

The Marauders showed resolve in the second half rebounding with 30 points in the final two frames to secure the victory at Ron Joyce Stadium.

McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek was pleased with his team’s overall resiliency in shutting down Ottawa after a late second half comeback.

“To see this locker room deal with adversity today, I was pleased. We weathered the storm and we played some very good football when it mattered most. It was combination of special teams, and a few punt blocks and defence creating turnovers. Fifty-one points is very rarely an offence slamming through a defence over and over again,” said Ptaszek.

“It’s all three facets of the game coming together and it’s a good sign for a lot of reasons.”

Fourth year defensive back Scott Martin of London, provided McMaster with 12 solo tackles to shut down Ottawa’s comeback hopes.

McMaster’s Scott Martin (27) break up a catch attempt by the Gee Gees Andrew Mullings.
(Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

Gee Gee quarterback Aaron Colbon of Ottawa finished the day 36-for-56, tossing 335-yards passing and connecting for three touchdowns while throwing one interception.

Ferguson opened the scoring in the first quarter on a one-yard quarterback sneak after DiCroce made a nice catch-and-run play to set up the score. In the second quarter, DiCroce made the score 21-0 for McMaster on an 18-yard strike from his fourth-year QB.

With just 2:40 remaining in the half, Ottawa scored 16 points including two touchdown passes from Colbon to Burlington native Ian Stewart. Stewart finished the game with 10 receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

McMaster’s Jimmy Hill rushed for 104 yards on 12 carriers also punching in a rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

McMaster’s Jimmy Hill (22) rushes toward a third quarter touchdown. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

NOTES: Ferguson replaced long-time quarterback and last year’s Hec Crighton Trophy recipient Kyle Quinlan who is now a coach with the Marauders… This was Jamie Barresi’s first game as an OUA head coach for Ottawa; Barresi, a native of Hamilton had previous coaching experience at the NCAA’s Penn State, Wake Forrest and several CFL Teams… Attendance at Ron Joyce Stadium was 3,026.