A plethora of Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Ontario University Athletic football records fell on Saturday (Oct. 19) as the regular season came to an end in the provincial conference.
It was an historic day in London, where the nationally top-ranked Western Mustangs completed their first 8-0 campaign since 1998 and secured first place in the OUA standings thanks to a convincing 50-10 victory over visiting York Lions (2-6).
Thanks to their seventh 50-plus-point performance of the fall – a CIS record – the Mustangs finished the regular schedule with 458, easily surpassing the previous single-season OUA mark of 424 set by the Greg Marshall-coached McMaster Marauders in 2003. Marshall now coaches the Mustangs.
Western’s tally ranks third on the all-time CIS list behind Laval’s 481 points in 2003 and Saint Mary’s 480 in 2001.
Laval had four 50-point outings in 2003, Saint Mary’s had five in 2001 and McMaster six a decade ago.
Individually, a pair of Western standouts also had record-breaking afternoons.
Playing in his final regular season game, senior Lirim Hajrullahu of St. Catharines scored 20 points and was a perfect 5-for-5 on field goal attempts to become the highest-scoring player in CIS history and the most prolific kicker in OUA annals, with 422 points and 77 field goals over his five-year career. The previous national scoring mark was 410 by Ottawa’s Neil Lumsden (1972-1975), while Matthew Falvo (2008-2012), also a former Ottawa great, had set the OUA standard of 75 field goals last fall.
Hajrullahu, who finishes second on the CIS career field goal list behind Sherbrooke’s William Dion (82 from 2008 to 2012), also tied the single-season OUA mark with 22. McMaster’s Michael Ray had accomplished the feat in 2003.
Meanwhile, thanks to a personal-best 547 passing yards, his teammate Will Finch of Burlington set a single-season CIS record with 3,047, eclipsing the 3,033 yards amassed in 2009 by Michael Faulds, also in a Mustang uniform. With 32 completions in 48 attempts, the sophomore quarterback also set an OUA season mark with a completion percentage of 69.7, slightly better than McMaster’s Kyle Quinlan’s success rate from a year ago (68.9).
Finch’s 547 yards, the best performance in the country this fall, ranks seventh in CIS history and fourth on the OUA list.
It was the fifth 500-yard effort this season by CIS pivots, also a new record. Other members of the 500 Club in 2013 include Bishop’s Jordan Heather (538), McGill’s Pierre-Luc Dussault (538), Ottawa’s Aaron Colbon (523) and Calgary’s Andrew Buckley (512).
Finch’s new season standard for passing yards might be short-lived however as Heather had a 465-yard day against Concordia on Saturday, giving him 2,648 on the year with one game left on the Gaiters’ RSEQ schedule. Heather averages 378.3 yards through the air per outing this fall, compared to Finch’s CIS-leading 380.9.
While all eyes were on the Mustangs and their two all-stars on this final day of OUA league play, another prestigious CIS record fell, this one in Toronto.
In a 50-18 loss by his Warriors to the host Varsity Blues, Waterloo receiver Nick Anapolsky, a product of Guelph, hauled in 11 balls to finish the campaign with 74 catches, two more than McGill’s Charles-Antoine Sinotte in 2007 and six better than the previous OUA mark set a year ago by Windsor’s Jordan Brescacin.