The Western game plan against the Toronto Varsity Blues was to bring along star receiver Andy Fantuz slowly.
So much for slow. Even after mid-summer surgery to repair a serious injury to his left thigh, the Mustangs superstar receiver looked in mid-season form, pulling in five balls for 106 yards and a touchdown to help lead Western to a 70-1 victory over the Blues.
"It was my first time in full gear and the first time I faced full contact all year and I felt pretty good," the six-foot-four senior ball-catcher from Chatham said. "I never thought about having to miss the game. I hate having to miss games so that wasn't really an option."
Now in his fourth season, Fantuz has played in every Mustangs regular season and playoff contest during his university career. He was only an absentee for the 2004 off-season East-West Bowl after suffering a hamstring injury.
Fantuz was the recipient of new starting quarterback Michael Faulds' first pass and was excited at the prospects of playing with the new pivot.
"It's definitely different (from three years with ex-quarterback Chris Hessel) but we already knew we had some chemistry coming in," Fantuz said. "We had played together at some camps down south (in the United States) and he had thrown to me before. He did a good job today."
Faulds looked poised on nearly every play except for a poor decision in the fourth quarter that led to him scrambling out of the pocket and being sacked by a Toronto defender.
"Even after that one, we were forced to pass and the next play was when I got my touchdown," Fantuz said with a grin.
The man with the big mitts is just two majors away from becoming the Canadian university leader in career touchdown receptions. Fantuz already is the career yardage leader and if Faulds finds him, on average, five times a game the rest of the season, he will also be on top of the career receptions list.
Obviously, Fantuz will be a big part of the offence but Faulds has it in his mind to work the pigskin around.
"In the past, it's been all on Andy's shoulders to catch all the balls," Faulds said. "Today, we spread the ball around and I think we had five, six, seven guys catch the ball."