Mustangs drop second game of the season

McMaster tackles Stangs 22-15, Marshall not worried

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western football versus McMaster

Craig Glover

IF WE WERE 0-2 WE WOULD WANT A HUG TOO! Western couldn’t pull off a win against McMaster Saturday, making it the first time in 37 years that they have started the season 0-2.

After dropping their season opener last week to the Queen’s Golden Gaels, the Western Mustangs were hoping to find their first win of the season in Hamilton against the McMaster Marauders in week two of Ontario University Athletics football action.

It would be the first time Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall faced the Marauders as a head coach since leaving the team in 2004 to coach the Hamilton Tigercats of the CFL.

But Western failed to snag the win as they dropped 22-15 to the Marauders, who were also in search of their first win of the season.

While the Marauders even up their record to 1-1, the Mustangs drop to 0-2 so far this year. It is the first time since 1970 the Mustangs have opened the season with two losses.

McMaster head coach Stefan Ptasek was relieved his Marauders were not the ones coming out of Saturday’s match with the losing record.

“There is no question that in the OUA, to go 0-2 is very tough,” he said. “[The Mustangs] are going to have to battle out of a hole, but they are very talented and are capable of [getting] themselves out.”

Marshall didn’t seem too concerned his team wouldn’t turn things around.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not worried,” he said. “We just got to keep playing.”

Although Marshall’s squad has been losing of late, winning is familiar territory for the newly appointed Western head coach.

While coaching the Marauders, Marshall led them to four consecutive Yates Cup titles between 2000-03. He knows how to transform teams into winning organizations.

“We didn’t play well enough, again,” Marshall said. “But wins are a function of hard work, so we are just going to have to work hard on a lot of things.”

Some of those things include Western’s pass protection as ’Stangs quarterback Michael Faulds has been sacked seven times already this season.

Western has also encountered injury troubles with the loss of versatile defensive back/receiver Matt Carapella with a sprained ligament in his right knee, causing him to sit out this weekend’s game.

While Western had much to be concerned about, McMaster had much to cheer about.

The Marauder defence did a tremendous job at shutting down ’Stangs running back Randy McAuley and forcing four sacks.

On the opposite side of the ball, Marauder slot back Mike Bradwell went for a monster 202 receiving yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to victory.

The second of those touchdowns was a massive 101 yard scoring play, where he received a pass thrown from the McMaster nine yard line, and dodged two Western players before running in the major.

Bradwell was the main target for Marauder pivot Adam Archibald, who threw for 282 yards on 28 attempts. Archibald is currently leading the OUA in passing yards with 650.

Ironically, Marshall spotted both players several years ago while he was still with the McMaster organization.

“I wish I had recruited them to Western!” Marshall said, jokingly.

The Marauders weren’t the only ones posting big numbers Saturday.

Despite Western’s 15-point effort, Faulds threw for a whopping 439 yards and one touchdown. He sits behind Archibald for passing yards with 613. But the pivot noted if there is no win in the equation, the big numbers don’t mean much.

“I could have thrown for 400 or 100. It doesn’t matter. Individual stats don’t mean anything when you don’t get the win.”

Faulds felt his team was capable of winning both games this season, but that they have had trouble finishing, after blowing leads in each game.

“Two games in a row we’ve had a chance to increase our lead, but we haven’t been able to. We squandered some opportunities. To win next week, it’s just a matter of execution.”

Even though his team couldn’t get it done on Saturday, Marshall said it was great to be back in Hamilton.

“It was great to see all the familiar faces again,” he said. “I have so many friends here.”

Finding their first win won’t come easy next week as Western returns home to face the Ottawa Gee Gees, the defending Yates Cup champs.

While Western will look to break their winless record, Ottawa will try to preserve their perfect record this season after coming off wins against Guelph and Toronto in weeks one and two.

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