Marquee Matchup: Liegghio kicks Mustangs past Gryphons in touchdown-less tilt

Photo by Kyle Rodriguez
Photo by Kyle Rodriguez

Guelph, Ont. (via Western Mustangs / Guelph Gryphons) – Saturday afternoon in Guelph, the No. 6-ranked Guelph Gryphons gave the the No. 1-ranked Western Mustangs all they could handle thanks to a dominant defensive effort. In the end, the Mustangs would escape Guelph with a 9-3 victory in a hard-fought, low-scoring affair at Alumni Stadium where a combined four field goals accunted for all of the scoring on the day.

For the Mustangs, it was veteran kicker Marc Liegghio's three field goals that provided the purple ponies their offence, while a 47-yard make from Eric Stranz got the Gryphons on the scoreboard late in the game, but the six point spread was as close as the home side would get on Saturday.

Liegghio opened the scoring for the Mustangs with 23-yard field goal with under 5 minutes to go in the first quarter.

From there, both teams battled in the first half but were unable to get anything major moving. Each side tried to push the offence with third down conversion attempts that weren't successful to turn the ball over on downs.

The big play of the first half came when Chris Merchant, who was held to 213 yards on the day while also being sacked a total of five times by the OUA leaders in that category, threw a short pass over the middle to Trey Humes who found some open space and ran for a big gain which brought the ball deep into the Gryphons end. The Mustangs would settle for a Liegghio field goal on the play and took a 6-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After neither side was able to add any points in the third quarter, Liegghio would come in early in the fourth quarter to add to the Mustangs lead with a 16 yard field goal to make it a 9-0 Mustangs lead.

Trailing by six points late in the fourth quarter, the Gryphons offence picked up three straight first downs on their final possession of the game to move into Western territory before a turnover on downs effectively ended their hopes of an upset after a Theo Landers pass for Abdraman Abdel-Rahim fell incomplete at the Western 40-yard line.

Despite failing to record a touchdown for the first time since their 44-3 loss to Calgary in the 2013 Mitchell Bowl, the Mustangs move to a perfect 5-0 record on the 2019 season, while Guelph drops to 3-2.

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