GUELPH, ONT - The University of Toronto Varsity Blues fell 50-18 to the No. 8 Gryphons in Week 2 of OUA football action on Saturday, September 6.
The loss drops the Blues to 0-2 on the season, while the Gryphons improve to 1-1.
With Toronto leading 18-17 midway through the third quarter, the Gryphons exploded for 33 unanswered points to bounce back from a 34-27 overtime loss to McMaster in Week 1.
Blues quarterback Simon Nassar was 26-of-41 for 298 yards and one touchdown. His favourite target once again was fellow Toronto native Llevi Noel, who led all players with nine catches for 95 yards. Running back Lukas Gavac (Mississauga) rushed eight times for 43 yards, while also making three receptions for 38 yards.
Linebackers Corey Williams (Mississauga) and Darnell Girard (Windsor) led the Blues with seven tackles each, while JJ Lam (Aurora) added 6.5 tackles and one interception in the loss.
Guelph conceded a safety on their second drive of the game to give Toronto the two-point advantage. The Gryphons went ahead midway through the first as a six-yard Alexander Charette touchdown reception capped off an eight-play, 71-yard drive. The home team led 7-2 after the first quarter.
The Blues narrowed the gap early in the second frame with a 30-yard Eric Hewitson field goal. Both teams then traded long drives, unable to convert until the final minutes of the quarter. After Guelph picked off a Nassar pass, Charette added his second TD of the game, this time on a seven-yard reception, to give the Gryphons a 14-5 lead in the final minute of the half.
Not to be outdone, Nassar responded, hitting Noel with a long ball for a 45-yard gain to bring the Blues deep into Gryphons territory. After a 21-yard gain from Toronto receiver Domenic Battistella (Maple, Ont.), Nassar hit veteran Kevin Bradfield with an 11-yard touchdown strike.
Guelph held a narrow 14-12 lead at halftime.
Hewitson opened the second quarter with a season-long 40-yard field goal to give the Blues a 15-14 lead. Guelph answered back midway through the third with a 15-yard field goal of their own to regain the two-point advantage.
With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Nassar connected a 47-yard pass with third-year receiver Rahul Madan (Toronto). That set up a 15-yard Hewiton field goal to give the Blues an 18-17 lead.
The Gryphons then took the lead for good. Late in the third quarter, Ryan Nieuwesteeg returned a Toronto punt for a 62-yard major. Guelph was up 24-18 heading into the final frame.
Charette notched his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard pass from James Roberts early in the fourth quarter and Lucas Spagnuolo scored on Guelph's ensuing drive to extend the lead to 39-18. Guelph's Colin Booth connected a five-yard pass with Mackenzie Blewe to end the game, 50-18, in the Gryphons favour.
Jazz Lindsey and James Roberts split quarterbacking duties for the Gryphons. Lindsay was 10-for-14 for 108 yards and one touchdown, while Roberts was 12-of-20 for 125 yards and three majors.
Johnny Augustine led all players with 20 rushes for 100 yards, while Spagnuolo made six catches for 74 yards and one major. Charette ended the game with eight receptions for 61 yards and three majors. Iain Hutchison notched a game-high 10.5 tackles in the win.
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