It is officially that time of the year again. Campus will soon be flooded with fans young and old, coming from far and wide, all to support the McMaster Marauders at Homecoming.
The “biggest party of the year” will start on Sept. 28 with preseason basketball, followed by a women’s rugby match against their rival Guelph Gryphons.
But the real kickoff will be on Sept. 30 at 1:00 p.m. when the Marauders football team will uphold tradition and devastate the York Lions once again.
One thing Marauders fans can depend on this homecoming is that the defence will not disappoint. With their season off to a 3-1 start, the defence has done a phenomenal job not only stopping plays, but creating them.
Currently fifth place in Ontario University Athletics, the defence has done a good job denying opposing teams from crossing the goal line in all three of their wins. It will be no problem continuing this trend against the eighth-place York Lions.
Mac also leads the OUA with eight interceptions, spearheaded by cornerback Nolan Putt, who leads the group with a total of three interceptions. Putt returned one of those picks for 84 yards to the six-yard line during Guelph’s homecoming game on Sept. 23.
The interception put running back Jordan Lyons in a great position to score a rushing touchdown that was followed by a strong kick from Adam Preocanin that solidified the Marauders’ 29-9 victory.
On York’s side of the field, third-year quarterback Brett Hunchak has thrown seven interceptions so far this season with an average completion percentage of 58.2. With such a dominant defence it will be extremely difficult for the Lions’ weaker offence, who boasts the lowest points for in the OUA, to make a dent on the scoreboard.
Though both York and Mac are among the few teams tied at second in the OUA with one defensive touchdown, defensive players like Putt and 2016 OUA All-Star Robbie Yochim have consistently exhibited such high levels of athleticism, there is a high chance of doubling their defensive touchdown total.
Mac’s defence should be able to easily defend their home turf while stacking up one or two interceptions and cause mayhem along the way.
White’s got this covered
Rookie quarterback Jackson White looked more than comfortable in his last two games as a starter. Though it took a little while for him to get into the swing of things, White’s growth as a university-level quarterback has been quite a sight to witness.
There was a total of 12,419 people in attendance at Guelph’s homecoming, so for White to be able to play as well as he did in such a hostile environment, he should be more than prepared for the atmosphere and pressure that will be present at Mac’s homecoming.
White is also supported by an offence that knows how to get the job done. Players like Lyons, who is currently fourth in rushing in the OUA, and McMaster record holder for career receptions Dan Petermann have been substantial in the Marauders’ receiving and rushing game.
Currently with the third highest pass completion percentage in the OUA, White has proven he can keep up with the passing game of McMaster quarterbacks before him. As long as the defence continues to bring the heat, White will have many opportunities to prove to the large home crowd exactly why they can depend on him.
For all the Marauder fans expecting a big show this homecoming, there is no need to worry because the Marauders will be more than ready to perform.
History: Mac vs. York
Year after year, the Marauders have beaten the York Lions football team by substantial margins: 64-2 in the 2016 season, 67-10 in 2015 and 49-2 in 2014.
When you add up Mac’s extensive winning streak against York with the fact that they are fresh off their pivotal win against the Gryphons and combine it with the atmosphere of their homecoming game, it is pretty obvious what is about to go down.
This year, Mac may be a younger and more inexperienced team, but there are several key players from their last homecoming game against York who still play on the current roster. Game-changers, including Jordan Lyons, linebacker Jake Heathcote and many more will be certain to uphold the standard that is expected of them.
Although the Marauders will be facing the Lions right after York’s first win of thea season, which came against their rival University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues, they do not pose a threat to Mac. The Marauders will be doing everything in their power to maintain their winning streak against York.