Photo by Matt Hiscox
LONDON, Ont. – In front of a packed house of 11,489 fans on Homecoming Weekend, the Western Mustangs football team rolled through the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 63–15 for their first home victory of the season.
With the win the CIS No. 3 Mustangs move to 3-0 on the season and sit tied for second in the OUA, while the Varsity Blues move to 1-3 on the year.
The Mustangs offence, working in and out of the read-option, marched the ball downfield for a flawless opening drive that was capped off by a seven-yard touchdown run by fifth-year running back, Garret Sanvido.
But, even as the Mustangs poured it on, sloppy play and turnovers were the story in the early stages of the game.
The Mustangs offence turned the ball over five times in the first two quarters but still managed to tack on 36 first-half points.
Despite turnovers providing opportunities for the Varsity Blues offence, the Mustangs defence was poised as they held their opponents to only eight points in the first half, including an impressive three-play goal line stand in the second quarter.
In the end, the Mustangs offence was too much for the Varsity Blues. The Mustangs racked up 804 total yards and converted all six of their trips to the red zone, compared to 223 yards of offence for Toronto.
Will Finch, Mustangs' third-year quarterback, had a roller coaster of a game. Finch threw four interceptions but managed to produce a big game both in the air and on the ground.
"I made some bad reads and some bad throws and I just need to get better on that stuff. You just need to throw it out of your mind. You can't dwell on it," said Finch.
The Mustangs quarterback completed 25-of-37 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 68 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.
Finch was happy with the team's win but felt that he has to play better.
"I'm pretty hard on myself, so whenever I overthrow someone or under throw someone I just get down on myself," Finch said. "I need to get better, but as a team, it was a great team victory."
After struggling to find his receivers downfield for the better part of the first quarter, Finch settled down. He connected with fourth-year slot back, Matt Uren, for the seven-yard score to give his team a commanding 29-point lead early in the second quarter.
"We made the difficult throws today, but sometimes we just need to make the easy ones," said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall.
The Mustangs veteran pass catchers had solid performances. Uren hauled in eight passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns while fifth-year receiver Brian Marshall had six receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Even though the Mustangs had trouble protecting the ball, Greg Marshall thought his team played well and was happy with his ground game.
"We ran the ball well. They're a pretty good front. I thought we did a good job up front running the football," he said.
Yannick Harou, the Mustangs third-year running back, and Garret Sanvido split the bulk of the Mustangs carries. Harou rushed 13 times for a team-leading 96 yards and punched in a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Overall the Mustangs recorded
Marshall said that even with the win at home, there is still plenty of work to do for next week's game.
"I think we need to get more consistent on special teams, I think that we gave them a couple big returns. They gave us a lot of stuff because they were worried about deep stuff and we didn't take it as efficiently as we could have," Marshall said.
Source: Western Mustangs