WATERLOO, ON – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team lost their third consecutive game on Saturday afternoon as they fell 22-18 to the Windsor Lancers at University Stadium.
Undisciplined play by the Golden Hawks proved to be their undoing on Homecoming weekend as Laurier took 20 penalties, costing them 166 yards, and wiping out what was a strong rushing performance from running backs Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., and Eric Guiltinan of London, Ont.
“We’re an undisciplined football team and that starts with me,” stated head coach Michael Faulds after the game. “We’re going to work on that this week. It seems like we have a good play on offence and then we come back with a penalty. We have a 2-and-out on defence, and then we come back with a penalty. That needs to stop.”
“It’s tough,” added fourth year receiver Greg Nyhof of Georgetown, Ont. “Obviously it’s a sick feeling we have in our stomachs right now. Definitely not the outcome we hoped for, definitely not the outcome we worked for, but that being said we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get working for next weekend.”
Despite posting 339 yards of offence to the Lancers 195, including a combined 213 rushing yards from Campbell and Guiltinan, penalties and mental mistakes by the Hawks allowed Windsor to stay in the game. Laurier held the lead on five different occasions throughout the contest only to see Windsor come back each time.
In the end, it was an unnecessary roughness penalty by the Hawks that set up Windsor on Laurier’s 1-yard line that was the final blow for the purple and gold. Terrance Crawford of Windsor, Ont., proceeded to punch the ball into the endzone on the next play to give his team a 22-18 lead, a scoreline that would hold up over the final five minutes of the game.
Crawford would finish the game with 59 yards on the ground and two scores to pace the Lancers offensively. Rookie quarterback Liam Putt of Caledonia, Ont., earned his first career win as he completed 9-of-26 passes for 148 yards while also rushing three times for 35 yards.
Outside of Campbell, who had 118 yards on 20 carries, and Guiltinan, who had 95 yards on 18 carries, the one bright spot for the purple and gold was rookie kicker Nathan Mesher of Waterloo, Ont. Playing in front of his first Homecoming crowd of 6,717, Mesher was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including hitting from a career-long 47 yards. He also averaged over 41 yards per punt, up almost eight yards per kick on his season average.
“He’s been exceptional for us,” said Faulds on his kicker’s performance this year. “He got a hold of one punt that went really far, so, again, he’s a little glimmer and bright spot from this.”
Defensively, Windsor’s Matt Chamberlain of Leamington, Ont., led his squad with 10.5 tackles while Kellen Leclair of Windsor, Ont., had 2.5 sacks.
For the Hawks, Nakas Onyeka of Brampton, Ont., continued his strong year with 7.5 tackles, giving him 28 for the season, while four different players recorded sacks.
Up next for the Hawks, they will prepare for the Battle of Waterloo as they travel across University Ave. to take on the Waterloo Warriors next Saturday, October 3. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Warrior Field.
NOTES: Laurier has now lost four straight games to the Lancers by a combined 11 points…the 2005 Vanier Cup team was honoured in a pregame ceremony after being inducted into the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame on Friday night