Guelph, ON – Saturday afternoon (Oct. 17) at Alumni Stadium, the No. 7-ranked Guelph Gryphons won 41-27 over the Windsor Lancers. With the win, the Gryphons improve to 6-1 on the season while the Lancers fall to 1-6.
Defensively, the Gryphons have been spectacular against the run this season. Coming into this game, they were ranked 2nd in the CIS, limiting opponents to just 88.3 yards per game on the ground. Windsor surpassed that total on their very first play from scrimmage. Lancers running back Tarrence Crawford took the first handoff of the game and rumbled 91-yards all the way down to the Gryphons 1-yard line. Two plays later, Crawford would punch it in as Windsor jumped out to a 7-0 lead right out of the gates. That lead wouldn't last long.
After allowing that big play to start the game, the Gryphon defence bounced back on the ensuing possession with a sack from Donnie Egerter forcing Windsor to punt. The Gryphon offence meanwhile were able to get some points on the board thanks to a great catch from senior receiver James Ingram (Guelph, ON). Ingram was able to make an incredible 23-yard grab in double coverage to move the Gryphons into Windsor territory. That reception from Ingram led to a 37-yard Gabe Ferraro (Mississauga, ON) field goal as the Gryphons were on the board trailing 7-3.
After the Gryphon defence forced another two-and-out, All-Canadian returner Ryan Nieuwesteeg (Niagara Falls, ON) would field a punt around midfield before returning it all the way to the Windsor 19-yard line. The Gryphons needed just three plays from there as the short touchdown drive was capped off by running back Johnny Augustine (Welland, ON) on a 2-yard touchdown plunge. For Augustine, who is amongst the CIS leaders in rushing touchdowns, it was his 10th rushing TD of the season as the Gryphons took a 10-7 lead.
Later in the quarter, the Gryphon defence would come up big once again as fifth year defensive back Iain Hutchison (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) was able to pick off Windsor rookie Liam Putt. The Gryphons would turn that Hutchison INT into six points, this time going 46-yards on four plays. Quarterback James Roberts (Cambridge, ON) connected with his favourite targets of A'dre Fraser (Halifax, NS) and Jacob Scarfone (London, ON) on the drive, with Scarfone capping it off with a 2-yard TD reception to put Guelph up 17-7. For Scarfone, it was his 7th TD reception of the season, ranking his 2nd in the CIS. Scarfone wasn't done there. Roberts and Scarfone would connect for a 47-yard touchdown reception late in the opening quarter. After conceding that early touchdown, the Gryphons scored 24 unanswered points and led 24-7 after the 1st quarter.
In the 2nd quarter, Ryan Nieuwesteeg would once again electrify the crowd at Alumni Stadium. The fourth year man would pick up his second punt return for a touchdown this season after fielding a punt on his own 47, he would get some nice blocks and show off his breakaway speed. The 63-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Gryphons a 34-7 lead. The Gryphons were certainly in control, but the Lancers wouldn't go away.
A 50-yard touchdown run by Windsor running back Jaydon Gauthier on the final play of the second quarter made it a 34-14 game. In the 3rd quarter, the Lancers could come up with a big punt block and as a result would take over on the Guelph 16-yard line. A few plays later, Lancers running back Tarrence Crawford's 9-yard TD run made it a 34-21 game heading to the final quarter. And they weren't done there.
In the 4th, Lancers QB Casey Wright would air one out for Beau Lumley in the endzone. However, some great coverage down the field by Gryphons cornerback Colin Mandich forced the Lancers to settle for a field goal, which made the score 34-24. With just under five minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Windsor would tack on another field goal to make it a one-possession game at 34-27. It wasn't a pretty second half by any stretch for the Gryphons, but they were able to make some big plays late to seal the win.
James Roberts would convert back-to-back 2nd-and-long situations with completions to A'dre Fraser and Ryan Nieuwesteeg. While it wasn't part of a scoring drive, the plays were nevertheless crucial as they allowed the Gryphons to shift field position. With 2:05 remaining in regulation, Windsor took over at their own 14-yard line needing to go the length of the field for the tying touchdown. The Gryphon D made sure that wasn't going to happen. A quick two-and-out gave the ball right back to the Gryphs as they took over at Windsor's 32-yard line. A big run by Brandon Gordon, in addition to a Windsor penalty, moved the ball all the way down to the Lancers 1-yard line. Augustine punched it in from there for his second TD of the day and 11th of the season as the Gryphons once again had some breathing room, now up 41-27.
Windsor had one last drive late in the game, but it would end when Gryphons defensive back Nick Parisotto came up with his 3rd INT of the season to seal the 41-27 victory.
The Gryphons were able to hold on for the victory despite picking up a season-high 21 penalties for 221 yards. Although the Gryphon defence allowed Windsor to rush for 321 yards, they also were able to record 8 sacks and 2 IN28)Ts. Windsor's quarterbacks completed just 28% of their passes (8-of-28). Gryphons linebacker John Rush provided one of the biggest highlights of the game with a huge hit on a sack of Windsor quarterback Casey Wright in the 3rd quarter.
Offensively, James Roberts eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark for the fourth time this season while receiver Jacob Scarfone continued his sensational 2015 season by hauling in 10 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Returner Ryan Nieuwesteeg continues to dominate on special teams, he finished the day with 12 punt returns for 245 yards and a touchdown.
Up next for the Gryphons, a trip to Ottawa on Saturday, October 24 for a matchup with the Carleton Ravens in the regular season finale.
Source: Guelph Gryphons