September 7, 2013, HAMILTON, Ont. – Second-year quarterback Will Finch threw for 449 yards and five touchdowns while receiver George Johnson had nine receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Western Mustangs to a 58-15 victory over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday afternoon at Ron Joyce Stadium.
“He’s a talented kid, he really is,” said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall about his quarterback. “He did a lot of good things out there and he’s got lots of good weapons. We have some exciting weapons on offence but Will played very cool today.”
With the win the CIS fourth-ranked Mustangs move 3-0 on the season, tied with the Queen’s Gaels for first place in the OUA, while McMaster drops to 1-2. Saturday’s win was also the Mustangs first victory over McMaster since week two of the 2011 season and only McMaster’s second regular season loss in two years.
“[It’s good] anytime we come back here and play well,” said Marshall on the significance of returning to his former stomping grounds and defeating a tough rival. “It would mean a lot more if it was a playoff game. I always temper it, we’re going to have to play them again so let’s not make too big a deal out of it. There’ll be other games that we’ll have to play and do this again.”
Finch’s 449 yards passing marked the third consecutive game that the Burlington native has thrown for over 300 yards while it was Johnson’s second straight game with over 150 yards receiving. Fourth-year quarterback Marshall Ferguson led the Marauders offence, throwing for 312 yards on 27-for-43 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Pawel Kruba topped the Mustangs defensive score sheet on Saturday, picking off two passes and recording nine tackles. Beau Landry also had a big day for the purple and white defence racking up six tackles and a forced fumble. Senior linebacker Aram Eisho led the Marauders defenders with 7.5 tackles.
Lirim Hajrullahu and Tyler Crapigna each had a strong day in the kicking game with Hajrullahu going 5-6 on field goals and adding six extra points while Crapigna had three field goals for McMaster.
It was Crapigna who opened the scoring on Saturday, nailing a 44-yard kick to cap off McMaster’s opening drive and give the Marauders an early 3-0 lead.
McMaster appeared to stop the Mustangs on the ensuing drive, however Landry forced a fumble on the Marauders punt return allowing the Mustangs to recover the ball deep in McMaster territory. Western took advantage of its good field position, tying the game on a 25-yard field goal from Hajrullahu.
The Mustangs took the lead late in the quarter as Johnson made a phenomenal juggling catch on the sidelines to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Marshall and a 10-3 Mustangs lead.
McMaster fired back on the next drive, marching into Mustangs territory before Crapigna hit his second field goal of the day, this one from 36-yards, to cut the Mustangs lead to 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Points continued to come quickly as just over two minutes into the next frame the Mustangs went deep when Finch connected with Johnson on a 42-yard touchdown pass to extend Western’s lead to 17-6.
Running back Garret Sanvido provided a change of pace from the Mustangs passing attack on the next drive, breaking off a 47-yard run that ended on the McMaster 2-yard line, allowing Adam Sinclair to pick up his third rushing touchdown in two games to put Western up 24-6.
Finch continued to add to the Mustangs late in the second quarter, connecting with Brian Marshall on a 51-yard pass for the receiver’s fourth touchdown of the season.
Crapigna closed out the scoring in the first half, hitting a 35-yard field goal to end the first 30 minutes with the Mustangs in front 31-9.
Both offences slowed down slightly in the third with no majors coming until the final minute as Hajrullahu dominated the quarter hitting field goals from 42, 31, and 39 yards. McMaster then picked up its first touchdown of the day with 24 seconds remaining as Ferguson hit Joshua Vandeweerd in the end zone to close out the quarter with Western in front 40-15.
After a slower placed third frame the Mustangs offence got the fourth quarter off to a quick start as Finch connected with Johnson on a long catch and run with the second-year receiver going 79-yards for the score, making it 47-15 Western 36 seconds into the fourth.
Rounding out the scoring for the Mustangs were Tommy Marshall who recorded his second 10-yard touchdown reception and Hajrullahu who picked up a single and a 42-yard field goal to make the final score 58-15 for Western.
The Mustangs are back in action on Saturday, September 14 as they host the Ottawa Gee-Gees at TD Stadium. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. and fans can watch live on Rogers TV London, watch the webcast on Mustangs TV and listen on 94.9 FM CHRW or NewsTalk 1290 CJBK with Tom McConnell and legendary Mustangs coach Larry Haylor calling all the action.