What's that worth, about a hundred bucks? That's how it feels for a fan. For a sweet spot in time Saturday, there was a scenario in play where the Gaels, not the Gee-Gees, were the lead horse in the OUA race. They led No. 2 Ottawa halfway through the fourth quarter and Guelph, in a game delayed by lightning, had the Laurier Golden Hawks down by 10 points in the second half in The Score's University Rush game.
Then it became something like Ben Stiller comedy that opened this weekend, The Heartbreak Kid, when he finds out that Swedish-Canadian beauty, Malin Akerman, isn't what he took her to be. The Gaels lost defensive back Jimmy Allin to injury and got a French figure skating judge type of spot (the cisfootball.org crowd noted this) that turned a first down near the Gee-Gees' 20-yard line into a third-and-short that failed. That left the door open just enough for Ottawa to slip through on a Josh Sacobie-to-Cyril Adjeity 60-yard touchdown pass with 67 seconds left in the game and Mike Giffin, who had 163 yards and was much of the offence again, ended up fumbling when the Gaels were on the cusp of field-goal range.
The upshot is the Gaels played reasonably good defence for, what, 95 per cent of the game. Quarterback Dan Brannagan threw 24 times for 207 yards with no interceptions, the best he's done vs. OUA alpha dogs Laurier and Ottawa. Those are just solaces. There are issues with ball security (10 lost fumbles in six games, although, Laurier, paragon of precise offence, has lost 12) and scoring in the red zone. Two seasons of watching the Minnesota Vikings under Brad Childress has imparted a proper scorn for short field goals. Dan Village's three-pointer in the third quarter was a 13-yard chip shot. Get that close, it has to be seven points, not three; there are no answers here for why the Gaels can't score with consistency.
The way it often goes in sports is you find out too late what you're missing, but it's not too late; the optimistic feeling is the Gaels haven't peaked.
Anyway, this can't be viewed as a downward spiral. Ottawa had an off-day but the Gaels had a lot to do with that and just didn't do everything. All you can really do is have a good laugh, which is more than can be said for some of Ben Stiller's recent movies.
- The women's hockey Gaels got their first win at their temporary home in Napanee, 5-1 over the UOIT Ridgebacks on Friday, with Andrea Leblanc collecting four assists. It was the Gaels' only game of the weekend, so there's no excuse if they didn't go out to Napanee's Queen's Tavern afterward.
- Claude Scilley of the Kingston Whig-Standard is the source for this, but Giffin is closing in on several Gaels rushing and scoring records. He needs 104 yards vs. Waterloo to eclipse Brad Elberg's single-year mark in the same amount of games that Elberg needed in 1992. Giffin's been great, but he would need about 40 more carries than Elberg did, which should tell you how good Brad and his blockers were during that championship season.
Giffin's 144 rushes is also the heaviest workload in relevant memory for a Queen's runner; Paul Correale set the mark with 149 in 1996.
- There's a post up at The CIS Blog about Chris Worden, the RCMP officer who was shot dead yesterday in the Northwest Territories. Worden, who was a fullback/special teamer for the Golden Hawks, would have played in the 2000 Laurier-Queen's game, if memory serves.
That's all for now. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.