WINDSOR, Ont. – Lirim Hajrullahu's 17 points cemented his name in the record books as Western's all-time leader in both scoring and field goals to help the Mustangs defeat the Windsor Lancers 51-23 on Saturday afternoon.
"It's a great honour to be mentioned among the greats here at Western," said Hajrullahu. "I never really thought about it that far ahead, my first year I was just happy to help contribute. I never really looked towards breaking records."
"It's all about the snap-hold-kick," said the kicker. "The snappers coming out early and the holders, I'm just happy they're being supportive and coming out and helping our team win."
The fifth-year senior set a new Western record on a 33-yard field goal in the dying seconds of the second quarter, and now stands with 402 points in his CIS career, only eight points behind all-time leader Neil Lumsden. He also tops Western's list for career field goals with 72.
With the win the CIS No. 1 Mustangs move to 7-0 and sit atop the OUA standings while Windsor falls to 4-3 on the year.
Leading Western's offence on Saturday were the sophomore duo of quarterback Will Finch and running back Yannick Harou. Finch added to his CIS leading passing totals, completing 22 of 34 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground. Harou led the Mustangs ground game, rushing for 110 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns.
"It's good," said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall about his team's performance. "We came out of it relatively healthy and the guys did some good things. Tommy [Marshall] filled in well at [running back], he blocked really well, Yannick ran hard, it was good. We started so well we just needed to keep going, we kind of stopped ourselves in a couple of things."
"If you had told me before the game that we'd win by that score and I hope come out of it relatively healthy I'd say 'yeah, absolutely we'd take it.' It's just little things, some breakdowns on our offensive line, some penalties, we left some points on the field."
Rookie defensive back Jesse McNair led the purple and white defence with six tackles, however it was Simon Bahru and Sean Blake who had the biggest highlights as Bahru scored on a 54-yard interception return while Blake came just a yard short of the end zone on a 74-yard return.
The scoring started early in the game with the Mustangs taking the ball 81-yards on only six plays on their opening drive, capping things off with a one-yard run from Finch for the game's first major.
Following a safety against the Lancers the Mustangs scored on the ensuing drive as Harou scored on a one-yard run after a seven play, 70-yard drive to give the Mustangs a 16-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Tommy Marshall extended Western's lead six minutes later, catching a 21-yard pass from Finch in the end zone and following a single point from Hajrullahu on the kick-off the Mustangs led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After a fast-paced opening quarter the two teams slowed things down for the second frame with the first points coming off of a 20-yard field goal from Windsor's Dan Cerino just over five minutes in.
Cerino's field goal provided some momentum for the Lancers, and following a partially blocked punt that put them deep into Western territory Austin Kennedy connected with Beau Lumley on a 19-yard pass to cut Western's lead to 24-10.
Despite the Lancers controlling the play for a large part of the quarter the Mustangs broke things open late in the frame on a pass to Matt McDougall who took off for a 71-yard gain to put the ball in Windsor territory. A few plays later Hajrullahu hit a 31-yard field goal to tie Jagas' scoring record.
Although there were less than two minutes left in the half the Mustangs offence wasn't done, driving down to Windsor's 28-yard line to set Hajrullahu up to make Western history.
The St. Catharines senior lined up and nailed a 33-yard field goal, bringing him to 395 career points and establishing him as Western's all-time scoring leader. Not only did the kick place Hajrullahu atop the scoring leaderboard, it also set a new Mustangs record for field goals.
Western's offence continued to roll along in the third quarter, blanking the Lancers and putting up 13 points of their own, including a safety, a single, and a field goal. Simon Bahru had the biggest play of the frame intercepting a pass from Austin Kennedy and taking it back 54 yards for the touchdown to help the Mustangs take a 43-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lancers responded in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes from Casey Wright, however the Mustangs recorded a touchdown and single to make it a 51-23 final for Western.
Western now heads into the team's bye week, giving the Mustangs two weeks before their next contest, something that Marshall says is key.
"We need to get Matt [Uren] back, we need to get Brian [Marshall] back, we need to get some of the offensive linemen back and going," said Marshall.
Following the team's bye week the Mustangs return to the field at TD Stadium for their final regular season matchup as they face the York Lions on October 19. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m.
Source: Western Sports Info