Marauders’ Ferguson throws the record book at Golden Hawks

Marshall Ferguson set a Marauder single-season record, tossing two touchdown passes to reach 20 on the year, as McMaster cruised to a 28-5 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday (Oct. 12). The win improved McMaster’s record to 4-3. They complete regular season play next Saturday in Ottawa against the winless Carleton Ravens.

Marshall Ferguson (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions)

Marshall Ferguson (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions)

Ferguson was good on 13 of 29 pass attempts for 197 yards. Mac had a slim 318-316 in total net yards for the day.

Second-year rusher Wayne Moore added a major on the ground, handling the ball 15 times for 81 yards in the Ontario University Athletics tilt.

Linebacker Aram Eisho led all defenders with 12 total tackles on the afternoon, as the Marauder defence stood firm to deny the Golden Hawks three separate fourth-quarter goal line series on the goal line.

Laurier quarterback James Fracas put his scrambling abilities on display on the Golden Hawks’ opening drive of the game. He was forced to evacuate the pocket and roll right on consecutive plays by the Marauder blitz, and found receivers along the boundary for double-digit gains.

But the visiting Marauders defence halted the drive in the red zone, forcing the Golden Hawks to settle for a 22-yard field goal.

Michael DiCroce (1) celebrates the Marauders game winning touchdown. (Photo: Risk Zazulak/McMaster Athletics)

Michael DiCroce (1) celebrates the Marauders game winning touchdown. (Photo: Risk Zazulak/McMaster Athletics)

McMaster responded on its next drive, as Ferguson found Josh Vandeweerd on a crossing pattern and the sophomore gained the edge and rumbled inside Laurier’s 15-yard line.

The Marauders converted on their first chance in the red zone, as Mike DiCroce gained separation through the middle of the end zone and Ferguson lofted a comfortable pass to his veteran receiver. Tyler Crapigna’s convert was good, to give McMaster a 7-3 lead.

A Marauder fumble near midfield gave the Golden Hawks exceptional field position midway through the first quarter, but McMaster’s defence held firm to keep further points off the board. Rookie end Mark Mackie came unblocked through the middle on a stunt to sack Fracas and force Laurier to punt.

Ferguson and the Marauder offence had favourable field position on their first drive of the second quarter, beginning inside Laurier’s 40-yard line after the Golden Hawks punted from their goal line. They wasted no time in making the most of that advantage, as Ferguson hung a pass up for Tyler Loveday and the slotback made an over-the-shoulder catch with a defender draped over him for a 37-yard major to extend McMaster’s lead to 14-3.

The Golden Hawks saw a golden opportunity to score go begging when receiver Greg Nyhof beat coverage through the seam but dropped the pass without a defender in front of him.

Crapigna made good on a field goal attempt from 40 yards out to extend McMaster’s lead to 18-3, and the visitors got the ball back almost immediately when Scott Martin picked up his first interception of the season.

Nothing came of the ensuing drive, but the Marauders would get the ball back one final time before the break, when McMaster successfully sniffed out a Laurier fake punt and took over at the Golden Hawks’ 15-yard line.

A few plays later, Wayne Moore took the ball from six yards out and was carried forward by a convoy of his teammates over the goal line for a touchdown. The convert extended McMaster’s lead to 25-3.

Laurier broke the trend in a third quarter dominated by defence by reeling off a long, time-consuming drive to reach McMaster’s one-yard line. But the Marauders stuffed Dillon Campbell’s first-down rush up the middle, and denied Fracas on two consecutive passes to force a turnover on downs.

Crapigna added to the Marauders’ lead with seven minutes to play, converting a field goal attempt from 24 yards to make the score 28-5.

The Marauder defence produced another goal-line stand to deny the Golden Hawks late in the fourth quarter, stuffing Campbell and then batting-down two Fracas passes to force another turnover on downs.

Fracas and the Laurier offence found themselves on McMaster’s goal line yet again with a minute to play, but were denied for a third time in the quarter. Campbell rushed on three consecutive downs, but was stuffed emphatically by the Marauders on each.