WATERLOO, ON – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team was dealt a tough defeat in their 2015 home opener on Saturday night at University Stadium as they lost 59-9 to the No. 3 Western Mustangs.
Thanks to a pair of first half interceptions returned for touchdowns by Clay Harris II of West Henrietta, N.Y., and Nick Vanin of London, Ont., the Mustangs (3-0) scored 48 first half points en route to their 11th consecutive win against the Golden Hawks (1-2).
“A really tough game, it wasn’t pretty,” said head coach Michael Faulds after the game. “Anytime you give the other team points when the offence is on the field, that’s a real challenge for us. We’ve got to do a better job protecting the football.”
Another big story in the game, especially early for the Golden Hawks, was penalties. Laurier’s offence had a number of big plays called back early on as the Hawks took 12 penalties overall.
“We had way too many penalties,” added Faulds on Laurier’s discipline. “Anytime you face a good, quality team like Western, you can’t give them extra chances, and we did a lot of that tonight.”
Other Mustangs having big nights were receiver Matt Uren of London, Ont., and Alex Taylor of Winnipeg. Uren finished the contest with 10 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns while Taylor was unstoppable on the ground, rushing for 159 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries.
Mustangs quarterback Will Finch of Burlington, Ont., who was facing the Hawks for the first time since 2013, finished the day 25-for-33 for 385 yards and three touchdowns.
There were two lone bright spots on the evening for the Hawks and they were kicker Nathan Mesher of Waterloo, Ont., and defensive back Malcolm Thompson of Windsor, Ont. Mesher accounted for all nine of the Golden Hawks points as he finished the night 3-for-3 on field goal attempts while Thompson had his second interception of the season and finished second on the team in tackles with seven.
“Those were three great field goals,” commented Faulds on his kicker solid performance. “It’s the whole operation,Jamie Lalonde the snapper and Marcus Arkarakas the holder, that had success. Those were good field goals that will give [Mesher] confidence for the rest of the season.”
Laurier will now head into their bye week and will have two weeks of rest to prepare for their Homecoming game against the Windsor Lancers on Saturday, September 26.
NOTES: Laurier hasn’t beaten the Mustangs since the 2006 OUA Semifinals when they were victorious 20-15…running back Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., was held under 100 yards rushing for the second consecutive game as he finished with 74 yards on 13 attempts…linebacker Nakas Onyeka of Brampton, Ont., had 8.5 tackles in the game and now ranks fifth in the OUA in tackles with 20.5 so far this season…attendance on Saturday night was 3,368