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Volume 91, Issue 33

Tuesday, October 28, 1997



Stangs tie lowly Marauders

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
WHEN DID THEY CHANGE THIS GRASS INTO QUICKSAND? Western Running back Craig Higgins has a tough time keeping his balance on this play, typical of the Mustang's entire second-half performance on Saturday which let McMaster back into the game.

By Brendan Howe

Gazette Staff

Although Western fumbled their way to a tie on Saturday, the real victor was the 2-5-1 McMaster Marauders who had nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain from playing the No.1 ranked Mustangs.

The Marauders, who have long been eliminated from the playoff picture, came to London knowing it was their last game of the season and they played like a team with nothing to lose.

Moreover, the match marked the return of former Mustang offensive coordinator Greg Marshall who, in his first year as McMaster's head coach, wanted to prove something to his old mates.

"There's no magic to beating a team like Western," he said. "Just play hard and never quit and sometimes things will go your way."

After fumbling the ball four times, the Mustangs narrowly averted losing when McMaster missed a 49-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

"We just stalled a few times in the second half," Mustang quarterback Mike O'Brien said. "We know we gotta step it up."

Western head coach Larry Haylor said turnovers played a large part in the outcome of the game, citing that in last week's match against Guelph, the team didn't give the ball away at all and that played a big factor in the 34-8 win.

"Haylor always stresses if you turnover the football, you can't win," running back Mike Laszlo, who was responsible for the fourth Western turnover, said. "You can't do it, it's inexcusable."

While McMaster only fumbled the ball twice, they threw three interceptions – all in the first quarter when Western looked to be pulling away and the Mustangs went into the locker room at the half with what looked to be a comfortable 22-7 lead.

"The defence kept getting us the ball back – it was like having a 13th player on the offence," said Marauder quarterback Ben Chapdelain, who completed 16 of his 30 passes for 238 yards.

Western's offence, on the other hand, relied more on the run, handing the ball off for over 300 yards while the offensive attack amounted to only seven completions of 17 attempts for 161 yards.

The Mustangs will have a serious case of déjˆ vu when they meet Guelph this Saturday for a second consecutive year in one of the OUA semifinal matches. Last year, Western beat the Gyrphons during the regular season confrontation just like this year, but Guelph went on to upset the Mustangs 18-9 in the playoffs. Kick-off is 1 p.m. at J.W. Little Stadium.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997