Finch and Hajrullahu set new CIS records in Mustangs win over York

Finch and Hajrullahu set new CIS records in Mustangs win over York
LONDON, Ont. – Western Mustangs kicker Lirim Hajrullahu became the CIS all-time scoring leader with 422 points and quarterback Will Finch set a new CIS single season passing record with 3,047 passing yards en route to the Western Mustangs football team’s 50-10 win over the York Lions.
 
In their last game of the regular season the undefeated Mustangs practically rewrote the CIS and OUA record book, either breaking or tying eight records by the end of the four quarters.
 
Along with the scoring record, Hajrullahu established a new OUA career field goal record with 77 and tied the OUA single season field goal record of 22. Following the game, Hajrullahu said he felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders after securing the milestones.
 
“This last week everyone’s been mentioning them a lot so it kind of got to me,” he said. “That whole time I was just trying to be mentally ready for the game. That was the most important thing and it turned out well.”
 
After scoring two field goals in the first quarter and earning a point on the convert after Mustangs running back Yannick Harou scored a five-yard rushing touchdown, Hajrullahu earned the scoring record after nailing a 26-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, which also put the Mustangs up 23-0.
 
Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall said getting Hajrullahu the record was on his mind.
 
“I said going into this game if Lirim had to run in a quarterback sneak for a touchdown, we were going to get that nine or 10 points he needed,” Marshall said after the game.
 
If Hajrullahu felt pressure, it was hard to tell. The kicker added two more field goals in the second half—earning five on the day—scored 20 points in the game and finished the season with 130 points.
 
Finch, too, racked up more than just one record. Along with the passing record, which overtook former Mustangs quarterback Michael Faulds previous mark of 3,033 yards, Finch also earned the OUA single season record for best completion percentage, connecting on 69.7 percent of his passes this season.
 
Coming into the game Finch had 2,500 yards and needed 534 to break the passing record. By the end of the first half, Finch had thrown for 334 yards and one touchdown. Early in the third quarter, Finch threw a short pass to Mustangs receiver George Johnson who then ran it 80 yards, giving the Mustangs a 33-0 lead and putting Finch within striking distance of Faulds’ record. After that, coach Marshall said leaving Finch in was easy.
 
“Having an opportunity to set a season record or career total is a big accomplishment,” Marshall said.
 
Brian Marshall hauled a six-yard pass from Finch into the end zone to put the Mustangs up 40-0 midway through the third quarter, and a few plays later Finch would find Marshall again with a 25-yard pass that solidified Finch’s name in the record book.
 
Even with the records, Finch threw three interceptions on the day and said he wasn’t happy with his overall performance.
 
“Honestly I personally thought I had a bad day today. Three picks against a team that’s not necessarily the best,” he said after the game. “It’s a cool individual thing to have but at the same time I just wanted to get better and keep improving.”
 
The Mustangs shut out the Lions until late in the third quarter when York kicker Nick Naylor got his team on the board with a 22-yard field goal. The Lions would score again after Connor Anderson earned a two-yard rushing touchdown. However, Western’s Matt McDougall added a final touchdown to give the Mustangs a 50-10 victory.
 
With the win, the Mustangs become the first Western team since 1998 to go undefeated during the regular season. The victory also secures first place in the OUA and earned the team a bye straight to the OUA semi-finals.
 
It wasn’t just individual records being broken in the win as the Mustangs eclipsed the previous OUA team scoring record with 458 points on the year, breaking the former record of 424, which was set by the 2003 McMaster Marauders who were coached by Greg Marshall. The mark of 458 is also the third highest in CIS history.
 
On the way to setting the new team scoring record the Mustangs put up at least 50 points in seven games this season, becoming the only team in CIS history to score 50 points in seven different games. And finally rounding out the milestones, the Mustangs earned the OUA record for team passing yards in a single game with 649.
 
With the season over, coach Marshall said he’s pleased with what his team accomplished this year.
 
“I’m just so proud of everybody on our team because it is a huge accomplishment,” he said.
 
With the bye, the Mustangs will not play again until the OUA semi-finals on November 2. The Mustangs will await the winner of next week’s OUA quarterfinals that see Windsor taking on Guelph and McMaster hosting Ottawa.

Source: Western Sports Info

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