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Western brushes McMaster aside to advance to Yates Cup game

November 3, 2013

Any football team that can hold the powerful Western Mustangs to just two touchdowns in a game should be in a good position to win it.

You’d think.

To do so, however, you’d have to score some points yourself and clearly the McMaster Marauders weren’t up to that Saturday afternoon in London, where the Mustangs gained a 32-3 win in an Ontario University Athletics football semifinal.

It was a sweet win for the Mustangs, who were ousted from the playoffs each of the last two years by McMaster, one that means the Mustangs, undefeated and No. 1 ranked in Canada, will host the Queen’s Golden Gaels in next Saturday’s Yates Cup championship game.

Queen’s earned its berth in the conference final with a 34-17 home-field win over the Guelph Gryphons Saturday afternoon in Kingston.

Western’s defence was the dominant unit on the field in London, where McMaster managed just 268 yards of net offence, 82 of it in the first half. Quarterback Marshall Ferguson threw for just 146 yards, completing 18 of his 37 pass attempts.

It was not a banner day, statistically, for Mustangs quarterback Will Finch — 19-for-31, 219 yards and no touchdowns — but even though Western didn’t manage a major score in the first half, the outcome was almost never in doubt, thanks to McMaster’s inability to move the football.

It was 15-0 at the intermission, after Lirim Hajrullahu kicked five first-half field goals. Two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter by Yannick Harou made the score 29-3 going into the fourth quarter. Hajrullahu’s sixth field goal completed the scoring.

McMaster’s defence surrendered 528 yards of total offence and the Marauders failed to sack Finch. It was 22-0 before Tyler Crapigna kicked a 22-yard field goal for McMaster’s only points.

Wayne Moore had a game-best 124 yards rushing, from 19 carries, for McMaster. Harou carried 20 times for 112 yards before going out of the game with an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter, at a point when his team had a 29-point lead.

Matt Uren had a splendid day for Western with 273 total yards. After missing most of the season with a hamstring injury, Uren returned for the Mustangs’ final regular season game and Saturday he rushed seven times for 91 yards, caught five passes for 44 yards and returned 12 punts for 138 yards.

The Mustangs, 9-0, defeated Queen’s, 8-1, 50-31 when the teams met in September. The last time they clashed for the Yates Cup, Queen’s won at home in 2009, and the Gaels went on from there to win the national championship.

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