Western romps over Blues

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Both figuratively and literally, the Western Mustangs ran away from the host U of T Varsity Blues.

About the only thing the Mustangs didn't do yesterday at Varsity Stadium in the OUA curtain raiser was run off at the mouth, which says a lot about Western's character and the respect it has for the beleaguered Blues.

For most of the first half, the Blues competed and despite some obvious shortcomings -- poor kicking game, lack of play makers on offence and overall depth -- U of T hung around, trailing 21-1 in a game that could easily have been 14-7.

But then began the onslaught, initiated by a dominant running game and fuelled by an offensive line that put on a blocking clinic in the second half.

GIVE THEM CREDIT

"You got to give U of T credit, but we really wanted to show what kind of team we had in the second half,'' Western tailback Randy McAuley said after his 83-yard romp on the opening play of the second half opened the floodgates and propelled Western to its 70-1 win.

"That play really set the tone."

McAuley, who scored a backbreaking major in the second quarter, said Western ran an inside trap, a play he says the Stangs didn't showcase for any game last year.

"Hopefully we'll run it a lot more,'' he quipped.

The play was executed so masterfully that not a single Blues defender touched McAuley. The hole opened quickly and the game turned just as quick.

Having flexed their muscles, the Stangs never looked back, scoring four third-quarter touchdowns.

Western, which features one of Canadian university's premier players in wideout Andy Fantuz, averages about 285 pounds along the offensive line.

The team has depth in the backfield, but it was the O-line that proved to be the Stangs' backbone.

"I really believe we're underrated,'' starting centre and team leader Brad Adams said of a unit that includes Richard Zulys, Andreas Antoniou, Scott Nason and Jeff Burke.

"I thought we mixed it up very well. We would run right, right, right and then go left. We'd run counters, traps. We were prepared and you have to give the coaches credit."

Western has heard all the pre-season talk about the OUA being a two-team race between Laurier and Mac.

As long as the Stangs continue to pound the ball and get timely second-down receptions as they did against the Blues, they are more than capable of capturing the Yates Cup.

Because of their height advantage over the Blues, a lot of Western's long gains through the air came off throws that essentially amounted to jump balls.

The score, however, didn't due the Blues justice. They had a chance to make it a 14-7 game late in the first half, but lack of execution and poor special teams gave Western possession and a 21-1 cushion that would quickly turn into a rout.

"I wouldn't hesitate to play Western again,'' Blues coach Steve Howlett, who begins his third season looking for his first win, said. "I can honestly say in the last two years we've played some teams where I was happy the game was over and that we weren't going to see them again.

"I don't feel that way now."


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