BURLINGTON, Ont. - In this week's OUA.tv Marquee Matchup, the one thing you need to know is that the last time these two teams met up, one walked away with hardware and the other left empty-handed. If that doesn't tell you about the emotions going into this game then nothing will.
The McMaster Marauders defeated the Guelph Gryphons 20-15 last year at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ont. to take home the 107th Yates Cup, in a defensive onslaught that saw the both teams struggle to find the endzone.
After a season opener which saw the Marauders down 24-9 late in the third quarter, only to claw their way back into the game to force overtime and ultimately come out on top, fans and players alike were expecting these two teams might have another shot at each other.
"They're a good team and we're going to see them again," said former McMaster quarterback Marshall Ferguson, after last years season opener. "They are the top end of the OUA and we saw why they are so competitive. We also showed when we turn it on we can play with or beat anybody."
As predicted both teams were among the best in Ontario, and finished their seasons atop OUA with matching 7-1 regular season records. After working through the playoffs, the Marauders and Gryphons found themselves back in the same spot they started: squaring off against each other on the Marauders home turf.
Defences dominated the contest, with a combined 12 turnovers between the two teams, including five interceptions by the McMaster defenders. For the Marauders, defensive backs Joey Cupido (Hamilton, Ont.) and Allan Dicks (Abbotsford, B.C.) each had a pair of interceptions, and defensive lineman Mike Kashak (Courtice, ON) returned one interception for a 30-yard touchdown. Each squad also conceded two safety touches apiece.
Guelph's Rob Farquharson (Niagara Falls, Ont.) was the only player to find paydirt on the offensive side of the ball while rushing for 78 yards, but it wasn't enough for a Guelph squad that struggled behind injured quarterback Jazz Lindsay's three first-quarter interceptions. Rookie James Roberts (Cambridge, ON) replaced Lindsay in the second quarter and went 17 for 29, while throwing another two interceptions.
McMaster's Cupido took home the Dalt White Trophy, presented by Porter Airlines, as the most valuable player of the Yates Cup game, and the Marauders eventually advanced to the Vanier Cup where they would fall to Montreal by a single point. Guelph headed back home empty-handed, having lost its second Yates Cup to Mac in the past three years.
Fast-forward to this season and both teams are off to strong starts once again.
Guelph is 3-0, demolishing Waterloo in its season opener, and outlasting Laurier thanks to some late game heroics by defensive back Nick Parisotto (Guelph, ON), who took home OUA Defensive Player of the Week honours for his effort. In their last contest, the Gryphons unloaded on the York Lions, topping them by a score of 49-22.
Running back Johnny Augustine (Welland, ON) was a man possessed, catching five balls for 98 yards while tacking 88 yards on the ground to go along with three touchdowns. Linebacker Curtis Newton (London, ON) took home Week 3 OUA Defensive Player of the Week accolades, collecting a fumble recovery, an interception and four tackles.
The Guelph defence limited the Lions to just one offensive touchdown, while only allowing 98 yards on the ground, marking the third consecutive week that they've allowed less than 100 yards rushing. Through three games, the Gryphons currently own the top run defence in OUA, allowing just 86.7 rushing yards per game.
The Marauders have been dominant on the other side of the ball, leading OUA in the passing attack.
Mac is 2-0 after starting their season in a convincing fashion against the University of Toronto, taking home a 55-33 win. The onslaught of points continued after a Week 2 bye, when the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees came to town.
Led by second year quarterback Asher Hastings (Regina, SK), the Marauders dropped bomb after bomb on the unsuspecting Gee-Gee defence. Hastings finished the day with five touchdown passes while completing 24 of 35 passes for 373 yards. Dan Petermann (Stoney Creek, ON) was the gunslingers favourite target, hauling in six catches for 135 yards. OUA first-team all star Danny Vandervoort (Barrie, ON) continued his brilliant play by adding 88 yards on four catches to go along with two scores. This brings Vandervoort's touchdown total to six on the season, while bringing his career total up to 19, tying him with Vaughan Swart (2000-05) and Matt Peressini (2007-11) on the school's all-time list.
With both teams offences running on full tanks, expect the outcome of this game to be decided on the defensive side of the ball. The team that can shut down one of these offensive juggernauts will have the best opportunity to take home a win. The Gryphons defense has already saved the day once this year, as Nick Parisotto had two late-game interceptions against Laurier to seal the deal, while linebacker John Rush (Niagara Falls, ON) leads the league in sacks.
McMaster on the other hand has given up 37.5 points a game so far, and has relied on their high-powered offence to outscore their opponents. There have been bright spots for them though, as rookie corner Robbie Yochim (Kelowna, BC) already has two interceptions this season, and the McMaster defence limited Ottawa running back Bryce Vieira to only 41 yards on the ground.
With that in mind the matchup to keep your eye on will definitely be McMaster's Danny Vandervoort lining up across from Guelph's Nick Parisotto. Both players have been integral to their teams' success this season and their coaches can't praise them enough.
"Nick Parisotto is just every coach's dream," said Guelph head coach Stu Lang. "He works out hard, offseason and in season, watches film, he has good questions. He just has the attitude he wants to be the best, so he's constantly pushing himself. He's the perfect player for a coach."
Catch all the action live on Saturday on OUA.tv and locally in the Hamilton area on Cable 14 and on Rogers TV Cable 20 in the Guelph area. Fans can also listen to the game on Funny 820 AM.
BY THE NUMBERS
19 - Career touchdowns for McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort, which ties him for the school's all-time career touchdown record. Vandervoort is just in his third year at McMaster.
10-0 - Touchdowns to interceptions thrown by Marauders' quarterback Asher Hastings after two games. Hastings leads the league in TD passes, passing yards per game (378), and is second in completion percentage (72.5%).
86.7 - Rush yards allowed per game by Guelph's defence. The Gryphons lead the league in yards allowed on the ground.
150.3 - All-purpose yards per game for Guelph running back Johnny Augustine. Augustine also leads the league in rushing touchdowns with six.
7-1 - Both teams regular season records going into playoffs last year. Guelph had a Week 1 loss against McMaster, and the Marauders lost their last regular season game to Ottawa to end their hopes of a perfect season.