Mustangs WR Brett Ellerman
Mustangs RB Cedric Joseph
Mustangs K/P Marc Liegghio
Mustangs LB Nick Vanin
On Friday Night the (6-0) Western Mustangs hosted the (2-3) Carleton Ravens at TD Stadium for some football under the lights. The Ravens were eliminated from last year’s playoffs at the hands of the Mustangs in a 51-24 Semi-Finals loss. Things played out very similarly on this occasion with Western prevailing 51-14 to remain undefeated in the 2017 season. Here’s the game by the numbers:
1 – Late in the 4th quarter fans at TD Stadium got to see #6 take the helm at pivot. Connor Wicklum from Ronan, Manitoba dressed as the third-string Quarterback and got his first taste of University Football. He completed a 7-yard pass to Zach Marcus with under 2 minutes remaining in the game, for a pair of firsts. First completed pass for Wicklum of his OUA career and first reception for Marcus since the 2015 season.
1 – Brockville, Ontario native Tanner DeJong had a handful of 1st Friday night. Just like Wicklum for the Mustangs, DeJong for the Ravens got a taste of OUA action in the 4th quarter. Going 4/8 passing for 55 yards and after throwing his first Interception at the Western goal line to Safety Jesse McNair (His 1st of 2017), threw for his first Touchdown which was a 12-yard strike to Phil Iloki with 90 seconds left in the game.
4 – With 7:08 remaining before halftime, Chris Merchant fired a pass to Alex Taylor for a 10-yard Touchdown to make it 28-0. This was the 4th TD catch of the year for the Winnipeg, Manitoba native. Interesting for the Running Back who has 742 yards rushing, but only 2 rushing TDs this season, the 4th year Senior has found another way to get his majors. The Mustangs have 10 receiving TDs in 2017 so far, with only half coming from Wide Receivers; Brett Ellerman(2), Malik Besseghieur(2) and Harry McMaster(1). The other half has come from the backfield with Alex Taylor(4) and Cedric Joseph(1).
7 – The Mustangs finished the 2016 regular season with a 7-1 record, thanks to a 38-31 loss to the Ravens in Carleton on September 4th. The win Friday night, gives the purple and white a 7-0 record and a comfortable schedule ahead. After getting to enjoy Thanksgiving, Western will be thankful for a well deserved bye week, before taking on the Ottawa Gee Gees for Homecoming on Saturday October 21st at 1pm from TD Stadium. The win also locks up a Quarter-Finals bye and home field advantage in the playoffs, setting up the hunt nicely for a Yates Cup.
8 - The Ravens defense had only 1 Interception the whole season by a Senior DB Thomas Knapp heading into Friday night. They managed to obtain two more off the arm of Chris Merchant in the blowout loss. It was the QB’s second multi-interception game of the season and now has thrown 8 Interceptions, which leads the OUA. The only game of the year so far Merchant hasn’t thrown a pick was the big 29-13 win at Laurier’s Homecoming, but keep in mind that game also featured his least amount of passing attempts with 16.
8 - Running Back Cedric Joseph grabbed 2 Rushing Touchdowns in the 1st half of action, with the first one coming just 2:44 into the game on the Mustangs first drive of the night. In 4 of the 7 games in 2017, the former Champlain Cougar has had a multi-touchdown showcase. He now has 8 Rushing Touchdowns on the season which ties him with Johnny Augustine of the Guelph Gryphons to lead the league. The Junior also ties his Freshman/Sophomore year production, where he grabbed 8 TDs in 15 games.
14.5 – Middle Linebacker Leon Cenerini for the Carleton Ravens came into the game with 45.5 Total Tackles under his belt, that’s an average of 9.1 Tackles Per Game. Despite losing big, the 5th year Senior from Ottawa, Ontario made sure some Mustangs felt it the next day, leading all players in Total Tackles on the night with 14.5. As a result of his solid play, he leads the OUA in Tackles Per Game with 10.1, as he continues to punish the opposition.
23 - It’s coming up to 23 years since November 19th, 1994, that’s when the Western Mustangs beat the Saskatchewan Huskies at the SkyDome for their last Vanier Cup Championship. It takes a lot to go all the way; skill, health, consistency and of course a little bit of luck. For the best team in the OUA they’ve proven over 7 weeks that they have more than enough skill to be a championship team. Now with a favorable schedule ahead, can the Mustangs stay healthy and play with the consistency needed to end a long drought.
44 – The amount of First Downs Western obtained in the game, compared to 20 by the Ravens. This was high even by Mustang standards, the team has 227 First Downs so far on the season, giving them an average of 32.4 First Downs Per Game. What’s even crazier is that they can get First Downs anyway they please, Western leads the OUA with 110 Rushing First Downs and 100 Passing First Downs.
46.1 - The 51 points produced on the Ravens is the 3rd time in 2017 the Mustangs offense has put at least 50 points on the board in a game. With Western dominating the York Lions on the road in Week #1 and the winless Lancers in their barn 59-7 on Week #4 earlier this season. The team is producing an overbearing 46.1 point per game (the most in the OUA) and it’s just too much for any defense to slow down, let alone stop.
60 – After Punting the ball 11 times for 371 yards, for an average punt of 33.7 yards 5th year Senior Kicker Mike Domagala now has 60 punts this season. 16 of those, he has pins his opponent in their 20. He has now punted 269 times in his OUA regular season career, totaling 10256 yards, for a career average of 38.1 yards per punt.
100% - Call him Mr. Perfect or Money, Sophomore Kicker Marc Liegghio is on fire! Outscoring the Carleton Ravens 15-14 on his 5 for 5 Field Goal performance (46, 35, 22, 26 and 27). He has not missed a Field Goal attempt since September 9th on the road against the McMaster Marauders, where he still made 2 of 3. Since then…18 for 18, that includes a record-tying 6 for 6 performance against the Queen’s Gaels and back to back 5 for 5 masterpieces the last two weeks.
106 - To add to the greatness behind Woodbridge, Ontario’s own Marc Liegghio, is that he has now 106 points for his team through 7 games this season. To give you an idea of just how great that is, there are 3 teams in the OUA who haven’t managed that amount of point production through 6 games; Toronto Varsity Blues (70), Windsor Lancers (86) and York Lions (102).