Volume 93, Issue 30

Friday, October 22, 1999


The hunt for a perfect record

Field hockey team loses 3-0 to Waterloo Athenas

Golfers finish season off the green

Women's soccer team keeps Mac in dark

Waterpolo rematch drowns home team

Mustang swimmers ready to get their gills

Lack of Rayne allows the Mustangs to air out

Lack of Rayne allows the Mustangs to air out

The Mustang football team will be forced to deal with the possibility of an unexpected drought for the next two weeks.

With the injury to premiere runningback Fabian Rayne, Western's running game is sure to suffer from a lack of the overwhelming power evident in the first six games this year. But despite all the worried faces down at J.W. Little Memorial Stadium, the unfortunate ankle sprain may, in the end, turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Without question, the teaming of Rayne and runningbacks Scott Crawley and Mike Laszlo has carried the team to this point. Western's defence has been dominating and quarterback Mike O'Brien's punting has been first class. However, without the running game the Mustangs, currently ranked number two in the country, would be a step away from the upper echelon of Canadian university football.
It was this power offence which led them to a Yates Cup championship last year. And after last season's success, it made sense for them to keep going to what had worked. However, in the meantime, they've become a very one- dimensional team offensively.

Their reliance on the running game has turned into a dependency, as if Rayne and Crawley were some highly addictive drugs the coaches couldn't get enough of.

However, for at least the next two weeks, the Mustangs will have to quit cold turkey. The subtraction of Rayne greatly diminishes the power of this hallowed running game and the offence will have to find new ways to score. O'Brien, despite his punting prowess, can't be counted on for 20-30 singles per game – their only option is the passing game.

As a result, wide receiver James Prescott and wide receiver Marty Robertson will be forced to elevate their play if the Mustangs hope to finish the season undefeated. The dropped passes and other miscues of the first six games can't be accepted any more. There isn't the dependable running game to fall back on.

In this way, Rayne's injury may actually prove beneficial for the Mustangs.

Their running-dominated offence may be enough to destroy the competition in the Ontario University Athletic conference, however, both the Atlantic Bowl and Vanier Cup (assuming the Mustangs get that far) will bring much stiffer competition.

Stronger teams, such as Saskatchewan, Concordia and Acadia, won't lie down for Western's Rayne, Crawley, Laszlo trio.

Hopefully, the focus on the air game over the next two weeks will help the young receiving crew improve enough to make them a reliable outlet once the playoffs begin.

To be more precise, the added pressure while Rayne is injured could improve the Mustangs' passing game. If not, Western could once again be watching the Vanier Cup from the comfort of their living rooms.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999