The 2013 home opener marked the end of an era. McMaster is moving on from the age of Kyle Quinlan and stepping into a period of uncertainty. OUA football is expected to be a dogfight for the top of the table, and the Marauders had lost their leader.
But with Marshall Ferguson under centre for the first time since 2011, the team largely did not miss a beat. They put up six touchdowns on route to a 51-24 victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The visitors were dramatically over matched on defense and special teams and you could hear the Maroon crowd’s sympathy as the game wore on.
The game was not without it’s growing pains. Mac’s first two offensive series featured two offsides and two fumbled snaps. The Maroon and Grey would right the ship and show a much more confident offense, driving down the field with little resistance.
Yet, in the final minutes of the first half, the Gee-Gees were all over the reigning Yates Cup champs, squandering a 21-0 lead. Ottawa QB Aaron Colbon was ripping off yards and escaping tackles and the Mac offense could not sustain a drive.
“It was a very short training camp. With ten days to prep, we were pretty sure Ottawa was going to be able to do some things out there and play with us for spurts – which they did in that second quarter,” said head coach Stefan Ptaszek.
After the first thirty minutes, the Marauders only led 21-16 and the Maroon appeared shell-shocked.
Cue Ferguson. The fourth-year political science major shook off any jitters and did the damn thing. He waited for plays to develop, picked apart a paltry Gee-Gee zone, and put the ball on the money when in the red zone. To many, all was good but Ferguson had a different take on week one’s performance.
“It feels sloppy right now, to be honest. I’m excited to watch the film and iron out the kinks, because I feel like when left 30-plus points on the board. I wanted to put on a show for all the people that came out,” said Ferguson.
The Kingston, Ont. Native finished with a stat-line that gave fans something to talk about: 28-40 for 352 yards, two passing touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns.
Mac dominated the second-half behind Ferguson’s lead, scoring 30 points in the half with 20 in the final frame.
The other star of the day was receiver Daniel Vandervoort, who had is breakout game in the first game of his career.
“It felt great to be out there. I worked hard in practice and worked my way into a starting spot, and I’m not looking back now,” said the freshman.
Vandervoort snagged the first touchdown of the 2013 campaign off a six-yard pass, and also contributed the highlight of the game with a 42-yard catch which included half a dozen dodged tackles.
Ptaszek, Ferguson and Vandervoort sent the same message: a win is a win, but it’s time to move on to the next one. The Marauders will head to Richmond Stadium on Sept. 2 to take on the Queen’s Gaels.
Both teams are 1-0 after week one and it could be the most competitive OUA game McMaster has played in two years.
– Scott Martin was deemed player of the game, finishing with 12 tackles.
– Attendance was 3,026
– Jimmy Hill scored a touchdown in his return from a broken ring finger and a lacerated kidney
– McMaster took it’s OUA winning streak to 20 games
– This was Ferguson’s first start since October 1, 2011