HAMILTON, ON – The No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks were held to four second-half points on Saturday afternoon as they lost 21-20 to the McMaster Marauders at Ron Joyce Stadium.
In a sloppy game that featured nearly 350 combined yards of penalties between the two teams, the Hawks had a chance to take the lead trailing 21-19 with a minute to play. However, Nathan Mesher’s (Waterloo, Ont.) 43-yard field goal attempt was wide left and Laurier wouldn’t get the ball back as they saw their record fall to 2-2.
Coming off a loss to the Warriors in the Battle of Waterloo, the Hawks came out of the gates strong as they scored on their opening possession of the game. Levondre Gordon of Mississauga, Ont., capped a 12-play, 72-yard drive with a one-yard score to put the visitors up early.
After McMaster (3-2) tied the game late in the first quarter, the Hawks responded as their defence, which created three turnovers on the day, forced the Marauders into the safety. Following the score, the Hawks marched 75-yards down the field and took a 16-7 lead thanks to a four-yard touchdown by Brentyn Hall, of Toronto.
The Marauders would get the ball back and pulled the score back to two points before the break as Dylan Astrom of Peterborough, Ont., scored a 19-yard major to keep McMaster within striking distance.
The final 30 minutes of play was a grind that ultimately favoured the home team as the two teams traded penalties and interceptions.
The big play came for McMaster late in the third quarter when Hawks quarterback Tristan Arndt of London, Ont., threw an ill-advised pass under pressure and was intercepted by Mitch Garland of Hamilton, who returned it 12-yards for the touchdown and a 21-16 McMaster advantage.
Laurier would struggle to move the ball in the final quarter but managed to pull within two points when Mesher hit from 25-yards out with three-and-a-half minutes to play.
Unlike last week, Mesher would get the chance to give Laurier the victory but couldn’t connect late as the Hawks lost back-to-back games for the first time in three years.
– Gordon led Laurier’s offensive attack finishing with 119 yards on 22 carries to go along with his touchdown
– LB Scott Hutter of London, Ont., was one of three Golden Hawks to pick up an interception on the afternoon and finished with game with 4.5 tackles, a sack, and two pass breakups
– RB Jordon Lyons put up nearly identical numbers to Gordon, running for 117 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts
– DL Tyler Munro of Ajax, Ont., led the Marauders’ stingy defence with six total tackles and two sacks
IN THEIR WORDS – Michael Faulds
Overall thoughts on the game
“McMaster’s got a heck of a team and they played really well. I thought our defence played well enough to win the game. They created turnovers and made it tough on their offence but our offence really struggled. Anytime you can hold a team to 21 points you expect to win the game but our offence let us down today.”
On sitting in an unfamiliar position in the standings
“It’s definitely a different situation compared to the last few years when we were battling with Western for the one or two seed. Listen, you’ve got to get in the dance to have a chance. So we know that if we make the playoffs, it’s going to be as a lower seed. The focus is now on next weekend and a good opponent in Guelph. We’re only halfway through the year and we’re going to find out what type of team we are as the season progresses.”
Sitting outside the OUA playoff picture, the Hawks face a crucial contest next weekend on Homecoming as they welcome the Guelph Gryphons (2-3) to University Stadium. With the two teams tied at two wins apiece, the winner of the showdown will own the first tiebreaker and give them an edge in the push for a playoff spot.
Game time is set for 1 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at tickets.laurierathletics.com.