After the Gaels 52-49 win over Guelph last week all eyes were on the Queens defense to improve against McMaster, however and 8-7 win certainly came as a bit of a shock. Queens looked good in the first quarter as Dan Brannagan drove the Gaels down the field for an early touchdown. An injury to Brannagan in the second quarter changed the game as the Gaels were forced to play first year quarterback Justin Chapdelaine.
Chapdelaine has a good arm, and certainly has the potential to become a good quarterback, but yesterday his decision making was awful. He was throwing five yard passes to receivers in coverage when it was second and long. He often panicked and tried to run with the ball himself in instances when he had more time to wait for a receiver to get free down field. He also seemed to be unfamiliar with the offense in general. A few times he threw the ball to no one, expecting the receiver to be running a different route. Chapdelaine may be the quarterback for the future but he certainly isn't ready to go at the moment.
The man who kept Queens drives going on countless occasions keeping the McMaster defense on the field was Jimmy Therrien. Therrien had a career high 181 rushing yards on twenty-nine carries. Unlike Mike Giffin, Therrien prefers to find space by moving outside instead of running up the middle. Therrien caused more problems than any other player on the offensive side of the ball for the McMaster defense.
Pat Sheahan opted to rotate Dan Village and Mike Petranovic after Petranovic's late game heroics in the game against Guelph. Village looked much better than Petranovic punting and place kicking. Petranovic missed two field goal attempts, while Village missed one, but Village's missed field goal went out of bounds and the single point ended up being the difference between the teams.
T.J. Leeper had a solid game leading the Gaels defense to a much improved outing. McMaster had difficulty getting anything against some good Gaels coverage down field and a quick pass rush. McMaster quarterback, Ryan Fantham, had a very poor game. He was under pressure quite a few times, but he couldn't seem to hit any of his receivers even when he was given ample time. Fantham threw his fair share of floaters many of which surely would have been intercepted had they been anywhere near their intended receivers. Other times he was over throwing or under throwing receivers by up to five yards. Ever since Kingston-native Adam Archibald left, McMaster have had a difficult time finding a suitable replacement.
The biggest concern coming out of this game is obviously Brannagan's injury, but after such a poor defensive effort last week it was nice to see the defense win this one for the Gaels. It was one of the ugliest games at Richardson Stadium for a few years, especially coming off a classic against Guelph, but considering the circumstances just getting the win is a job well done.