Volume 94, Issue 26
Tuesday, October 17, 2000
Mustang loss a disgrace
Championship calibre football teams do not lose to 0-5 teams.
One imagines when Larry Haylor was looking over the Western football schedule this past weekend's game was of little concern. With McMaster looming directly after Western's match-up with the Queen's Golden Gaels, this was the tune-up game before the Mustangs came head-to-head with one of the best football squads in the country.
But that is exactly what made this game dangerous.
Faced with a pivotal game on the horizon, Western got sucked into a crushing defeat by an underestimated, but hungry, Queen's squad. Instead of cruising to an easy victory and building confidence before returning home for Mac, the Mustangs made the Queen's offence look like the St. Louis Rams in an embarrassing loss to their old-time rivals.
Too often the offence seemed predictable and stale. The defence was helpless, as Queen's continuously marched down the field killing potential Western rallies. This was the nightmare game Western always seemed to be on the verge of having. But this time there were no late-game offensive heroics and no key defensive stops.
If there is a bright side to giving up over 41 points to a previously winless team it is that the loss came in a non-conference game. Western has already locked up a playoff spot and Saturday's disaster could simply be a minor stumble.
In fact, this latest result in itself would not be so troubling, if Western had proven itself to be an elite team already. But it has not and with the offensive powerhouse of McMaster coming to town, proving themselves is not going to get any easier.
This was supposed to be the current core's last hurrah. Michael O'Brien, Fabian Rayne, Mike Chuk and company, were all back for one more shot at the Vanier Cup. But after a frustratingly unimpressive year to date, Western is left with two games to decide whether they really are worthy of a spot among Canada's elite university football teams.
Luckily, one of those games comes against the laughingstock University of Toronto Varsity Blues. But before they get a chance to run up the score against Toronto, they must try to stop Kojo Aidoo, Ben Champdelaine and Kyle Pyear of the McMaster Marauders.
If they cannot stop the winless Queen's offence how can we expect them to somehow hold down the undefeated Marauders?
Western has had something to prove all year, but now they have to step it up a notch, if there is any hope for Yates or Vanier glory. The potential is there, the talent is there, the coaching is there, but if the commitment and desire do not show up on Saturday, Western's first season at TD Waterhouse will prove far from glorious.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000