By: Jaycee Cruz
Since 2009, Mac and Western have split their rivalry pretty evenly, but on Oct. 4 the Marauders got the most recent victory in this heated rivalry, upsetting the Mustangs on the road in a 32-29 thriller.
Very few saw this upset coming.
Mac’s game plan going in wasn’t to be pass-heavy on offense but that’s the way the game went. Offensive coordinator and assistant coach Jon Behie remarked, “We thought we’d have to sling the ball around a little bit, but 52 times is a lot…but that’s the way the game flowed. We’re not looking at those stats mid-game. What we prepare on the sideline and what we call is based on how the game’s going.”
The Marauders offense didn’t feel like they had to prove anything to anybody going in and entered the Western game with an attitude of confidence despite having the underdog status.
Coach Behie commented that an important part of their game plan was to control the clock and time of possession.
“I think we controlled the time of possession against them. We won that battle and kept our defense in good spots for the most part. We told our quarterbacks to take as much time out of the play clock as they could, control what we could control on our specific side of the ball,” said Behie. By doing that successfully, Western was limited in points just enough to secure the McMaster victory while also keeping their perfect season intact.
With the victory moving McMaster from No. 4 to No. 3 in the country, Mac now has a bye week and two regular season games left against Laurier and Ottawa.
“The main thing for the players is to rest up and get as healthy as we can for the home stretch. We are practicing three times this week and focusing more on self-reflection on who we are and what we can do better rather than worrying about an opponent,” said Behie.
“It’s a great time to have a bye on Thanksgiving because we can send our players home to their families where they can spend some quality time with their loved ones at home and come back refreshed, ready to get after this stretch run of two regular season games and then they count.”
The timing of the bye week could not have been any better as the No.3 McMaster Marauders head into the weekend with a 6-0 record and plenty to be thankful for. The coaching staff hopes this week of team self-reflection and self-examination will iron out any kinks that need to be polished and refined before Mac makes their run at the Yates Cup.