Mustangs win big in gridiron home opener
By Communications Staff
September 03, 2013
It was the first game under the lights at TD Stadium this season, and the Mustangs welcomed Western’s new crop of students with a dominating 71-4 win against the Carleton Ravens.
While the Mustangs’ home opener, this game marked the Ravens’ first game in 15 years. The young team from Ottawa is playing its first season since the football program was revived.
After the convincing victory, Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall said it was a difficult game to navigate, considering the high score.
“Carleton is a really young football team; so it’s one of those games that’s really hard to manage in the second half,” he said. “In the first half, we wanted to play our game. In the second half, what we tried to do is just try to manage the score.”
During the romp, Mustangs second-year running back Adam Sinclair scored two touchdowns — his first ever in an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) game — and racked up 114 yards. Running back Garret Sanvido added two touchdowns of his own, while also tallying 125 yards.
The Mustangs again relied on quarterback Will Finch to lead the offence. The second-year quarterback completed 26 of 32 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a one-yard rushing touchdown.
On defence, linebacker Beau Landry led the Mustangs with 5.5 tackles while fellow linebacker Pawel Kruba followed with four. Ravens linebacker Leon Cenerini led all defenders with 11.5 tackles.
After a shaky opening few minutes that saw both teams turn the ball over, the Mustangs offence began to show its experience against the young Ravens midway through the first quarter. Western opened up the scoring 6:17 into the first quarter when Finch found a wide-open Brian Marshall for the 18-yard touchdown, putting the Mustangs up 7-0.
The Ravens were able to get a single point on the board after a deep punt from kicker Andrew Banerjee caused Yannick Harou to go down in the end zone.
But it didn’t take long for the Mustangs to find the scoring touch again. With the Mustangs deep in Ravens territory, Matt Uren caught an 11-yard pass from Finch to get the ‘Stangs second touchdown of the quarter. Mustangs kicker Lirim Hajrullahu converted on the extra point to give the Mustangs a 14-1 lead after the first 15 minutes.
Western’s offence continued to rack up points against the young Carleton team during the second quarter.
Early on in the second, a Mustangs touchdown was called back after a holding penalty, but on the same drive Garret Sanvido drove the ball four yards for his first touchdown of the night, extending the Mustangs lead to 21-1.
The Mustangs recorded two more singles before Finch added his own one-yard rushing touchdown to stretch the Mustangs lead, which was then extended further after Carleton conceded a safety to make it 32-1.
On the Mustangs next drive, Sinclair ran the ball 26 yards for his first official touchdown. In a rare occurrence, Hajrullahu missed the conversion attempt, however, the senior kicker picked up a single point on the kickoff.
With just 19 seconds remaining in the first half, receiver George Johnson caught an 18-yard pass from Finch and barreled past the Ravens defence to squeeze his way into the end zone for his second touchdown of the season, giving the Mustangs the dominating 46-1 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was more of the same with both Sinclair and Sanvido each picking up their second rushing touchdowns on the day, and another single point from Hajrullahu gave the Mustangs a 61-1 lead entering the final 15 minutes of play.
In the final frame, Western quarterback Stevenson Bone notched the first touchdown of his OUA career, scoring on a two-yard rush just over two minutes into the fourth quarter. It would prove to be the final major of the day as Banerjee nailed a 40-yard field goal to give the Ravens their first points since the opening quarter, while Hajrullahu closed out the scoring with a 20-yard field goal of his own to make it a 71-4 victory for the Mustangs.
Despite back-to-back lopsided wins, coach Marshall said he isn’t worried about playing a strong team like the McMaster Marauders next week.
“We know we’re going to have to play the McMasters and Queen’s at some point. We’ve got three good opponents coming up so we’ll find out how good of a football team we are.”
The Mustangs will travel to Hamilton on Saturday, Sept. 7, to take on the 1-1 McMaster Marauders. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Ron Joyce Stadium.
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