HAMILTON (October 1, 2016) - The No. 8 McMaster Marauders used 16 third-quarter points to get past the Guelph Gryphons 27-15 during McMaster`s homecoming at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The Marauders improved their overall record to 4-1 as one of four teams atop the OUA standings. Western holds a 5-1 record with their win over Wilfrid Laurier today in OUA football action, while McMaster, Ottawa and Laurier all hold identical 4-1 records. Guelph`s record drops to 2-4, placing the Gryphons alongside York, Windsor and Queen`s, who all have two wins.
Chris Pezzetta of Burlington, Ont., punched in a touchdown midway through the third quarter and ended up as the game's top rusher, compiling 143 yards on 20 attempts. He was just 12 yards shy of his career high.
Asher Hastings of Regina tossed a touchdown to go along with 199 yards passing. He finished 22 for 34 with one interception. Guelph`s quarterback James Roberts of Cambridge, Ont., totaled 247 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Johnny Augustine of Welland, Ont., was the top running back for Guelph, posting 109 yards in the loss.
Mike Kashak of Courtice, Ont., led the way defensively for the Marauders, recording five total tackles. Defensive back Robbie Yochim of Kelowna, BC, had an interception and a pass breakup for McMaster in the win. The Gryphons top defensive player was Nick Parisotto of Guelph, Ont., who recorded eight total tackles
Roberts and receiver Jordan Terrio of Niagara Falls, Ont., were the two touchdown scorers for the Gryphons. Roberts on a one-yard rush in the second quarter and Terrio adding a consolation score on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Roberts with 25 seconds to play.
McMaster kicker Adam Preocanin of Burlington, Ont., had three field goals in the game, converting from 30, 16 and 40 yards.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED: Down 7-5, the Marauder offence roared to life in the third quarter scoring 16 points in five minutes. McMaster tied the game on a conceded safety from Guelph. The offence then orchestrated a six-play, 75- yard drive capped by a Pezzetta one-yard touchdown. After a Gryphon punt, Hastings found Danny Vandervoort of Barrie, Ont. in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown reception, That put the score at 21-7 with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter.
HOMECOMING: The annual McMaster homecoming game was once again sold out with 5,427 Marauder faithful packing Ron Joyce Stadium. It was the second sellout for the Marauders this season with the first coming on the opening day frosh week game against the Carleton Ravens (Aug. 28).
100 PLUS: Pezzetta`s 143 yards rushing today marked the second time this season he has broken the 100 yard barrier. He rushed for 117 yards against Toronto back on September 5th on Football Day in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field. It also marked the sixth time he has rushed for over 100 yards in his career, with his best total coming against Queen`s in 2014 with 154 yards.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: Heading into the game, Guelph was the least penalized team in the OUA with 8.4 penalties per game. Today, the Gryphons tallied 18 total penalties for 125 yards, which factored into the Marauders win. For their part, McMaster were penalized 10 times for 72 yards.
UP NEXT: It will be a quick turnaround for McMaster (4-1) as they host the Queen's Gaels this coming Friday (October 7) at Ron Joyce Stadium. Earlier today, Queen's (2-3) defeated the Waterloo Warriors 54-20 and are on a two-game winning streak. In their last meeting, the Marauders dropped the Gaels 28-19 at Ron Joyce Stadium back on September 27, 2014.
QUOTABLE: Chris Pezzetta, McMaster running back (Fifth year senior)
Pezzetta on the success of the run game...
"It makes it easy when the offensive line is getting movement and pushing guys around. It gave them confidence, gave me confidence and gave the team as a whole some confidence. Seeing those run totals going up, it's a sign that we're getting better as a team every week."
Pezzetta on early struggles...
"There were a couple of unfortunate penalties at bad times, and we had a guy go down, so personnel was a bit messed up in that first half. Once we got that figured out in the second half, we were able to roll a bit and start moving the football and finishing drives. That's what we need to do moving forward is to finish drives and get into the end zone."
Pezzetta on their rivalry with Guelph...
"Every time we play Guelph, it's a fun game, and we always want to come out firing. That didn't really happen, and it took us a little while to get going. But I always get jacked up to play Guelph, and when it's Homecoming with your friends and family in the stands, that makes it all the better."
QUOTABLE: Greg Knox, McMaster Head Coach
Knox on the second half offensive outburst...
"It was a wake up call. We struggled with our execution in the first half, and certainly the message at half time centred around waking up a little bit. I'm proud of them for the way that they responded. Defensively, I think they were tough all day. I don't like letting a team walk down and score at the end, but with the young guys playing, that's sometimes what will happen, and that's what we want to see is our younger players getting opportunities."
Knox on the run game...
"We can do it, and I think we committed to it. We called an excellent game in the second half, and kept Guelph on their heels, and that's really what I want it to look like."
Knox on Asher Hastings...
"Asher is doing everything that we're asking him to do. The stats and all of that stuff is just fantasy football and it has no place in our plans. It's about winning football games, and every one has a role. I think Asher is doing a great job from a leadership perspective, and I think the season's going to only get better for all of us as it goes on."
Knox on the rivalry with Guelph...
"It was the combination of Homecoming and wanting to really get up to play Guelph today. They've been strong of late as a program. What I saw today is a level of intensity and focus that I've been asking for. Overall, whether it's Guelph or Homecoming, my expectation is for it to look that way every week."
Knox on veteran running back Chris Pezzetta
"He's a great kid, and I think pride is a good word for what we feel for him. Hopefully, he's feeling pretty proud for himself."
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