Volume 94, Issue 35
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
Mustangs still face greatest challenge
If only they were all that easy.
A week after a shocking domination of the MacMaster Marauders, Western walked into Varsity Stadium, a venue, which has seen far better teams than this year's edition of the Varsity Blues. What followed was laughable.
Coach Larry Haylor emptied the bench and still the Mustangs cruised to a 40-1 victory over what used to be one of their toughest rivals. Toronto, in the middle of a rebuilding process has dropped below the "Windsor standard" for awful football and they could muster little offence or defence against a Mustangs team still living off the adrenaline rush of last week's season-changing conquest of Mac.
Saturday's rout should be a nice confidence builder for a team already riding a tidal wave of momentum, after the embarrassing loss to Queen's a few weeks ago. But all the confidence in the world won't beat Wilfred Laurier this weekend.
We all remember week four, don't we? Laurier and Western battled back and forth all game, both showcasing their offensive firepower. The Mustangs, the luckiest team in the country up to that point, seemed to be holding their own, until the four leaf clover they'd been holding all year began to wilt in the second half.
Suddenly it was Laurier quarterback Adam Lane and widereceiver Andre Talbot, who were the comeback kids, as the Golden Hawks tore through the Western defence and marched down the field for the decisive touchdown as time expired.
But just as the MacMaster upset was the scene of redemption for the Mustangs, this week's return engagement with the Golden Hawks is a chance for sweet revenge.
Western finally seems to have learned its lesson. One-point losses to Laurier and Queen's have taught them the fallibility of even the best teams. The crushing of Mac, showed them they could compete with the upper- echelon of Canadian university football.
Three teams Ð MacMaster, Laurier and Western, remain as the top contenders to the Yates Cup crown. After MacMaster finishes off Waterloo this weekend, two teams will be left to determine who moves into Canada's football final four.
If Western wants an opportunity to once again defeat MacMaster this time with an Ontario title on the line, they must first right the wrongs of that first defeat to the Hawks. The purple people eaters who ate up the vaunted Mac attack, holding them to only eight points must do the same against an equally potent Laurier offence.
We all know Western can score, there's little debate there. But the defence, which has been frustratingly inconsistent all year, must find their form early and often, to keep Laurier from running wild.
Toronto was the appetizer, but the first course of playoff action will be much harder to swallow.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000