Saturday, September 20, 2008

Football: U of T - Queen's live blog

Well, I'm settled in in the press box at U of T and have Internet access, so the live blog should be a go. The trip in on the Dance Pak's fan bus was pretty good, if sparsely attended: there were only about 10 people not affiliated with the dance team. A good amount of Gaels' supporters in the crowd, though, as there's a lot of Toronto alumni who have made it out here. About 15 minutes until kickoff.

T-10: A nice tribute and moment of silence for former Queen's coach Hal McCarney, who passed away Tuesday ["Goodbye, Moose", myself, Queen's Journal]. Interestingly, the only people in the stadium I heard talking during it were the CFRC types who were just starting their broadcast: a bit disappointing from a Queen's perspective.

T-5: One of the Shriners carries out the pre-game kickoff, and does much better than the majority of the types who try to do so at Queen's. Note for those who complain about music at Gaels' games: it's here too. We just had the intro of "Welcome to the Jungle" clashing with one of the Queen's Bands Scottish pieces.

First quarter:

- Toronto is kicking off. The kickoff is booted to the Gaels' 15, where Jimmy Allin makes the catch and returns it 14 yards. Queen's will start on their own 29.

- Queen's quarterback Dan Brannagan starts with a 5-yard pass attempt to Scott Valberg, who can't make the catch.

- On second down, Brannagan throws a bomb down the middle for Blaise Morrison, who's in single coverage, but the ball is too far. Dan Village comes into punt.

- Village hits it 41 yards, but the Blues bring it back seven. First down Toronto on their 49.

- Two Queen's linemen break through and hurry QB David Hamilton. He gets the handoff off and Toronto picks up five yards.

- Toronto runs a trick play, handing to running back/receiver Mark Stinson, an ex-quarterback, who fires a deep bomb to a wide open Drew Meerveld. Meerveld runs in for the TD, but the play's called back due to a penalty.

- Good pressure from Queen's forces an incomplete pass. Stinson punts for Toronto, and his punt sails out at Queen's 34.

- Mike Giffin rumbles up the middle on his first carry of the game and beats everyone for a 74-yard run. He's brought down by a last-ditch tackle at the 2.

- The Gaels run, but get nowhere. Second and goal.

- Giffin tries an off-tackle run to the outside, breaks one tackle but is dragged down at the 1 by two defenders. Third and goal.

- Brannagan sneaks through the middle for the TD. I like that call. Some conservative coaches would have hit the FG after being stopped twice on short runs, but Pat Sheahan elects to go for the seven points, and it pays off in a big way. It wasn't that much of a risk, as they were pretty darn close to the goal line in the first place, but still, a good move. Village hits the EP to make it 7-0 Queen's.

- Village kicks off, and the Blues let the ball bounce. Peter Boshyk swoops in and grabs it for Queen's, giving them a first down on Toronto's 27. Horrible play on special teams by the Blues: that could come back to haunt them.

- Brannagan fumbles the snap, and is sacked for a 16-yard loss. 2nd and 26 from the Toronto 43.

- Brannagan steps up to throw and is hit. The ball goes into the turf. Third down, and Queen's will punt. They wasted that chance.

- Good punt from Village to Toronto's 2-yard line, where it's caught by Matthew Morris. He gets next to nowhere on the return, though. First and 10 Toronto on their own five.

- Toronto picks up two on a run up the gut. 2 and 8.

- Queen's linebacker T.J. Leeper is hurt and coming off.

- Stinson runs up the middle for a short gain. He's stopped by last week's OUA male athlete of the week, Queen's defensive tackle Dee Sterling. Toronto punts to the 55, where Allin catches it. He tries to go back and around, but is caught for a loss. 1 and 10 Queen's on their own 50, but a flag on the play.

- The call is against Queen's, and the Gaels are starting on their own 40. Check that: an objectional conduct was tacked on, so it's 1 and 10 on the 35.

- Giffin runs up the middle for about six. 2 and 4.

- Toronto lineman Lincoln Bryan breaks through and flushes Brannagan, but he gets outside and runs for a first down. Nice job by Brannagan: he went straight into the contact there to pick up the first.

- Brannagan passes to Morrison for another first down, and then scrambles for nine. 2 and 1 Queen's on Toronto's 35.

- Giffin goes straight up the gut, finds a hole, cuts to the outside and runs down the sideline. He's hit at the five and starts to fall, but manages to stretch out and get the TD. Village hits the EP, making it Gaels 14, Blues 0.

- 5:37 left in the first. Toronto was penalized on the conversion, so Village is kicking from the 45.

- Village launches a sideline punt to the Blues 35, which is caught by Earl Johnson. He falls backwards out of bounds. 1 and 10 Toronto on their own 34.

- Short pass for 12. 1 and 10 U of T on their 47.

- Hamilton's flushed from the pocket and throws it away, but he's almost picked by Josh Sultana, starting at corner for the injured Jay Oduwole.

- Hamilton finds Cory Kennedy wide open over the middle on a ten-yard pass, and Kennedy makes some good moves to pick up yards after the catch. He's forced out at Queen's 35. 1 and 10 Blues, and they call a time out.

- Stinson runs up the middle, breaks one tackle, but is hit going outside. He picks up three. Flags on the play, but they're picked up. 2 and 7.

- Stinson takes the snap and throws to Kennedy for 12 and a first down. The Blues keep switching Stinson and Hamilton, and it seems to be confusing Queen's.

- Stinson fakes a handoff and runs up the middle for 7. 2 and 3 Toronto on Queen's 13. Stinson's really doing everything now.

- Stinson picks up four on a run. First and goal Blues from the nine.

- Stinson fakes a pass, scrambles outside and might have had a TD, but Alex Daprato makes a great play to stop him at the four. Second and goal Blues. Time out, Queen's.

- Stinson fakes a pass again and Queen's defence bites. He switches directions and runs up the middle for a TD. Andrew Lomasney hits the EP, even though he's almost blocked by Sultana, and it's now Queen's 14, Toronto 7 with 2:03 left in the first quarter. If that first Toronto touchdown hadn't been called back, we could be tied right now.

- Kickoff is caught by Allin inside the five, and he returns it to the Gaels' 13. First and 10 Queen's.

- Giffin runs to the outside and gains four. 2 and 6.

- Brannagan is flushed, tries to scramble up the middle, but gets nowhere. 3 and 6. Will Queen's punt or take the safety?

- They elect to punt. Village makes a nice move: his kick would have been blocked, so he fakes it, steps outside and gets the punt away. Good downfield coverage means the Blues' returner is stopped close to where the ball landed, on the Queen's 47.

- Hamilton is back and throwing, but his pass is knocked down and almost picked by defensive end Osie Ukwuoma.

- Defensive lineman Neil Puffer breaks through and sacks Hamilton for a loss of about six. A bit surprising Toronto went back to Hamilton after Stinson's success on the last drive. End of the first quarter.

Second quarter:

- Stinson is in to punt, and he boots it out of bounds at Queen's 38. Looks like they might be trying to avoid Allin and the Gaels' return game.

- Sideline pass to Morrison, who makes a great catch. He's knocked out at the Blues' 48 for a gain of 24.

- Giffin up the gut, gains about four yards. Second and 6 from Toronto's 45.

- Brannagan is hurried and his pass over the middle is nowhere close to anyone. Third down, and Queen's will punt.

- Scratch that, they tried a really long field goal. Village sends it low and wide. It's caught in the end zone and Toronto gets the ball on their 20. No single on the play.

- Toronto runs for a gain of five. Second and 5.

- Hamilton is still in there, and he's no Stinson when it comes to scrambling. He's flushed and hit by Carter for a loss of two.

- Sorry, some technical difficulties conked me out for a minute. Toronto punted, and Queen's ran a couple plays. 1 and 10 on the Toronto 35.

- A nice sideline pass to Morrison for another first down. 1 and 10 on Toronto's 18.

- Incomplete pass Brannagan. 2 and 10.

- Brannagan drops back to pass, no one's open and he's flushed, but he scrambles to the sidelines and dives in for a TD with an 18-yard run. Apparently, Stinson's not the only QB who can run the ball. Village hits the EP, so it's Gaels 21, Blues 7. 9:13 left in the half.

- Village launches a kickoff, and it's returned to the Blues 22. 1 and 10 Toronto.

- Hamilton's still under centre, with Stinson acting as a wide receiver. Hamilton's pass is incomplete, but the Gaels jumped offside. 1 and 5 Blues on their own 27.

- Short pass to Johnson for 8 and a first down.

- Incomplete pass from Hamilton. 2 and 10.

- Hamilton is flattened by Stephen Laporte, a rarely-used linebacker, but he completes a pss up the middle as he's being hit. 3rd and 2 or so.

- Stinson runs up the gut, gets the first down but flags on the play. The penalties are against Queen's for illegal substitution. 1 and 10 Toronto on their own 54.

- Hamilton's out now and Stinson's throwing, but his first pass is knocked down. 2 and 10.

- Poor snap to Stinson, but he reels it in. He's forced to scramble and gets a pass off, but it's incomplete. 3 and 10.

- Stinson looks like he's going to fake a punt, runs up close to the line of scrimmage and then punts anyway. The ball doesn't get too far (21 yards), and the Gals get the ball on their 36.

- Giffin runs up the gut for about 4 yards. 2nd and 6.

- Brannagan is forced to scramble and is sacked for a loss of one or two yards by Toronto's Adam Fehler.

- Village booms a punt to Toronto's 25. It's returned to Toronto's 36, but there are flags on the play and it's coming back. 1 and 10 Toronto on their own 19.

- Hamilton completes a sideline pass to Johnson for a first down. 1 and 10 Toronto on their 30.

- Zak Kolkowski runs up the middle for five, where he's stopped by Ukwuoma (who the PA guy calls O-see Osicwoma).

- Short pass gives Toronto a first down on their 43.

- Sterling rampages through the middle and sacks Hamilton for a loss of 10. 2 and 20 Toronto on their own 33.

- Puffer breaks through and drills Hamilton, who still gets the pass off, but it falls harmlessly to the turf. 3rd and 20 Toronto, and Stinson's in to punt.

- Stinson punts it out of bounds at the Queen's 50. It only goes 27 yards. Don't they have anyone who can kick it a bit farther? Queen's is getting great field position off of these short punts.

- Queen's picks up a first down on a ten-yard run.

- Giffin runs for seven. 2 and 3 Queen's on Toronto's 43.

- Giffin plows up the middle, breaks a tackle, turns outside and gets down to the 1 before he's hauled down. First and goal Queen's.

- Giffin goes straight up the gut for the TD.

- Village adds the EP, and it's now Queen's 28, Toronto 7. 1:35 left in the half.

- Village boots it into the end zone, Morris has to go back for it, runs around a bit and gets it out to the four. Toronto now has awful field position.

- Hamilton bombs one to Kennedy, who looks like he made the catch, but must not have come down with it. Nice play by Jimmy Therrien to break it up.

- Another pass to Kennedy that would have been a first down, but he drops it after a crushing hit from Allin. Incomplete, third down and 10 in the Blues' end zone. Stinson runs around with it to kill the clock, then concedes the safety. Queen's 30, Toronto 7. 1:05 left in the half.

- Queen's takes the ball on their own 35.

- 15-yard sideline pass from Brannagan to Morrison for 20 yards. 1 and 10 Queen's at midfield.

- Giffin up the gut, hit by three tacklers, gains about two yards. 2 and 8 from the Toronto 53.

- Sideline bomb to a wide-open Scott Valberg, who runs it in for the touchdown. Valberg showed great speed there to beat his man. I think that might be his first catch of the day.

- Village kicks the convert, and it's Queen's 37, Toronto 7. 37.8 seconds to go until the half.

- Village squibs the kick and it only goes 15 yards to the Toronto 50, where Scott Smith falls on it. 1 and 10 Toronto.

- Sideline pass to Kennedy, who breaks a tackle and picks up 9. 2 and 1 Blues on Queen's 51.

- Hamilton to Johnson, who steps out of bounds for another 8 or so. 1 and 10 Toronto on the Gaels' 42. A Queen's player is down: it's defensive tackle Kyle MacDonald. The defence is getting banged up pretty well here.

- Queen's jumps offside. 1st down and 5 Toronto on Queen's 37 with 22 seconds left in the half. Not a great time to take a penalty, but the game is well in hand.

- Looks like the Gaels' defence jumped again. Offside is called. 1st down Blues on the Queen's 32, and they still have 21.3 seconds. They might be able to get something here.

- Hamilton's rushed but completes a short pass to Kolkowski for three. 2 and 7.

- Hamilton tries a bomb to Johnson, but Sultana makes a good play to break it up.

- Nice call by the Blues to go for it all with 12 seconds left: a field goal isn't much help here. Kennedy almost reels a pass in, but Allin makes a nice hit, and he drops the ball. Queen's takes it, and Brannagan kneels twice, sending us into the half. Queen's 37, Toronto 7. We'll have some stats up before the second half gets going.


- One of the Toronto mascots (or fans, or something, but he's certainly dressed up in a furry suit) is carrying around a sign with "Golden" spelled out in the Queen's font to cheers from the Blues' fans.

- Halftime contest here in the stadium: name the Blues' player who recently was named the CIS offensive player of the week. Options are Greg DeLaval, David Hamilton and Peyton Manning.

- If you answered C to that, you're clearly not much of a sports fan. If you answered A, you're not much of a CIS fan (DeLaval's the Blues' head coach). The answer, of course, is Hamilton, who earned that honour after throwing for over 400 yards against York.

- A few key stats: Queen's is winning this game on the ground. Giffin has 189 yards and two TDs on 13 carries, and the team as a whole has 232 rushing yards to Toronto's 40. The passing stats are pretty similar: 117 net yards for Queen's, 91 for Toronto. Brannagan is 5 for 9 passing for 135 yards and 1 TD. The only two Gaels who have caught passes are Morrison (4) and Valberg (1).

Third quarter:

(note: I may not get every play described here, as I'm also working on my recap for Out of Left Field.)

- Queen's starts with the ball. Brannagan throws to Morrison for a first down, and then Giffin rumbles 15 yards up the gut for another one.

- Giffin runs up the gut again for 9.

- Trevor Potts carries up the middle for 2 and the first down. 1 and 10 Queen's on Toronto's 38.

- Giffin runs for about five, but it's coming back for holding. 1 and 20 Queen's on the Toronto 48.

- Brannagan bombs it over the middle to a wide-open Devan Sheahan, who should have had an easy TD but dropped the ball. 2 and 20.

- Brannagan fires another long one sideline to Morrison, who lays out to make a great diving catch. 1 and 10 Queen's on the 12.

- Brannagan hits Giffin with a short swing pass and he dives into the corner of the end zone, knocking off the pylon and getting the TD. Village adds the Ep. Queen's 44, Toronto 7, and this game is rapidly deteriorating into a farce. It was very close at the start, and you have to wonder what would have happened if that opening Toronto touchdown hadn't been called back. A little confidence might have done wonders for the Blues, who have proven that they're a pretty decent team, despite the score.

- Village kicks off and it's returned to Toronto's 22.

- Stinson takes the handoff, but is hit for a loss of five. 2 and 15.

- Hamilton throws sideline to Stinson, who's knocked out of bounds by Sultana with a big hit. 3 and 8 Toronto, and they decide to punt. Stinson punts it out of bounds at Toronto's 42. The Blues seem really scared of Queen's returners: they've barely kicked to them all day. Well, special teams are where a lack of depth often hurts you.

- Brannagan fires a short pass to Morrison, but they only get two yards.

- Brannagan is rushed and overthrows an open Valberg, but there's a flag on the play. It's a face mask against the Blues, giving Queen's a first down on Toronto's 25-yard line.

- Brannagan is flushed and his pass for Morrison is behind him. 2 and 10.

- Brannagan throws an eight-yard pass to Scott Stinson, who makes a nice dive to get the first down. That's his first catch of the day. 1 and 10 Queen's on the 14.

- Brannagan finds Valberg open over the middle with a short pass, and he runs in for the touchdown. Village hits the EP, and it's 51-7. This is getting lopsided, and there's still 8:20 left in the third quarter.

- I'm going to go to less detailed play summaries here, given the score. I'll have summaries of drives and important or interesting plays from here on in still, though.

- Queen's stops Toronto cold, forcing a punt, and gets the ball back on the U of T 50.

- Jimmy Therrien carries for 6, then Brannagan hits Potts for a big gain, but flags on the play. Queen's gets the first, but they're back to the U of T 42 with the penalties.

- Brannagan gets picked off by Toronto's Brandon Miller, normally a wide receiver but playing defence at the moment. Toronto gets the ball on Queen's 48, but they're held by the Gaels and forced to punt. No yards called on Toronto on the punt, giving Queen's the ball on their own 35.

- Brannagan gets sacked by Fehler. 3rd and 25 Queen's on their own 18: they'll be forced to punt. Toronto starts on the Queen's 45 after a good return.

- A pass to Johnson gets the Blues a first down after a chain measurement. 1 and 10 Toronto on Queen's 35.

- Short pass to Kennedy, but Daprato stops him for only a gain of 2. 2 and 8 Toronto.

- Hamilton is flushed from the pocket by Chris Smith, but he fakes Smith out, rolls right and finds Johnson open in the end zone for a touchdown. Lomasney hits the extra point and it's 51-14 Queen's. End of the third quarter.

Fourth quarter:

- Toronto gets the ball back off a turnover. On second down, Hamilton throws deep and can't complete a pass to Jeff LaForge, forcing a punt.

- They punt to the sidelines again, but Allin catches it in bounds and returns it about 38 yards. 1 and 10 Queen's at midfield.

- Brannagan hits Sheahan for a first down at the Toronto 39.

- Backup QB Jansen Shrubb is in for Queen's, and he hits Chris Ioannides for a 22-yard gain. First and goal.

- Marty Gordon rumbles to the 2. Second and goal.

- Shrubb fumbles the snap, and Toronto's Wilkerson DeSouza recovers. First down Blues, on their own 2.

- Hamilton throws at Kennedy, Allin breaks it up. Toronto's flagged for holding and the penalty's declined.

- We've got third quarter stats now, and Giffin's over 200 yards. He's credited with 215 yards on 16 carries through three quarters, which breaks his rushing record [see this post for explanation] of 214 yards (against Guelph).

- Allin comes up with a big punt return, and then Shrubb finds Ioannides for the TD. Village hits the EP and it's 58-14, Queen's. 8 minutes left.

- Blues drive to midfield off a pass from Hamilton to Kennedy.

- Hamilton is called for intentional grounding, killing the drive. 3rd and about 25 yards, so Toronto punts.

- Shrubb throws deep to Sheahan, who catches it but then fumbles. Morris recovers, and it's Toronto ball on their own three.

- Both teams exchange possession a couple times, but it doesn't amount to much. Sheahan drops another end-zone pass, though. Less than a minute left. Shrubb kneels to give Toronto the ball back in their own end, with only 25 seconds left.

- And that's all she wrote. Final score, Queen's 58, Toronto 14. I'll have more later this evening, both here and at Out of Left Field


  1. "Mike Giffin is not a fullback. Mike Giffin is a tailback. Mike Giffin is not human. Hamilton is nuts. Print it."

    (Who told Dan that he was Justin Dunk?)

  2. Yeah, I loved that line. Brannagan's actually doing decent off the scramble, but not as well as Stinson.

  3. And naturally Brannagan scores off an 18-yard run right after I write that...