Blues drop season opener to Mustangs

Blues drop season opener to Mustangs
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team dropped their 2013 home opener, 50-14, to the Western Mustangs on Sunday, August 25 at Varsity Centre.
 
Third-year defensive back Trevor Harvey of Scarborough, Ont., was named the Varsity Blues player of the game after notching a game-high 8.5 tackles, one sack and one interception. Linebacker Dylan Gordon (Cambridge) added 7.5 tackles and one sack, while Chris Johnson (Toronto) had three tackles, one sack, one break up and one fumble recovery for a TD.
 
Second-year quarterback Chris Jugovic of Hamilton, Ont., was 24-of-39 for 274 yards and two touchdowns in his first start for the Blues. Fifth-year receiver Paul de Pass (Ajax) recorded a team-high 86 yards on five catches, while Alex Pierzchalski had nine receptions for 66 yards.
 
The loss extends Western's undefeated streak over Toronto to 21 games (20-0-1). The Blues last defeated the Mustangs, 24-16, in the 1993 Yates Cup final.
 
The Blues struggled on the ground, with only 52 rushing yards compared to Western's 205. Rookie running back and Toronto native Alex Malone accounted for 44 of those yards on seven carries. The Mustangs amassed 604 total offensive yards, with Toronto netting 265.

"I think we learned a lot about us as a team from today's game," said Varsity Blues head coach Greg Gary.  "Was it the outcome we wanted? Probably not, but we will make the necessary adjustments. The players, as well as the coaches, picked up on a lot of things and know what we have to do to fix it.  We'll do what's needed and be ready for Laurier."
 
Western opened the scoring early in the first quarter when sophomore defensive back Malcolm Brown (London, Ont.) recovered a Ricky Osei-Kusi (Brampton, Ont.) forced fumble and ran it 16 yards into the end zone. Mustangs quarterback Will Finch of Burlington extended the lead with a 24-yard rushing touchdown and the visitors held a 14-0 advantage after the first quarter.
 
Finch connected on a 71-yard strike to veteran receiver Brian Marshall (London) for the Mustangs third TD midway through the second frame. The Blues got on the board in the dying minutes of the first half when Jugovic found second-year receiver Michael Kanopoulos (Toronto) in the end zone for the 20-yard touchdown.
 
Marshall added his second major of the game on a 32-yard reception with 22 seconds to go in the second to give Western a 30-7 halftime lead.
 
After a Western field goal to open the second half, the Blues defence rallied the troops as Harrison Beeforth (Richmond Hill) sacked Finch and forced a fumble. Chris Johnson promptly picked it up and ran 60 yards for the major. On the ensuing drive, the Mustangs responded with a 35-yard receiving touchdown from Brampton native George Johnson to maintain their 26-point lead (40-14) heading into the final quarter.
 
Western would extend their lead early in the fourth on a one-yard rushing TD from Garrett Sandivo (Vancouver). Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu (St. Catharines) rounded out the scoring with a 15-yard field goal to secure the 50-14 win.
 
Finch was 23-for-32 for 306 yards and two touchdowns, while Blake Huggins went 7-for-12 for 130 yards and one major. Marshall led all players with 160 receiving yards on seven catches and two touchdowns, with Sandivo tallying a game-high 88 rushing yards and one TD on 12 carries.
 
The Varsity Blues (0-1) will look to bounce back against the Laurier Golden Hawks (0-1) on Labour Day Monday, September 2, at University Stadium in Waterloo, Ont. After Week 3 in Ottawa, the Blues return home on Sept. 14 to host the Guelph Gryphons at 1 p.m. at Varsity Centre.

Source: Toronto Sports Info

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