The Western Mustang football team gave notice that they are going to be tough to beat in 2016.
Western scored nine touchdowns in a 78-6 dismantling of the Windsor Lancers in their season opener on Sunday night at TD Stadium.
If you were decked out in purple and white, you saw the field and likely contributed to the total. All three Mustang quarterbacks took snaps and ten different sets of legs ran the ball, giving the OUA world a floodlight of notice that a Western-led offence without Will Finch is still capable of creating and executing a steamroller of a game plan.
Before the first quarter was over, Western had built a 21-3 lead thanks to Alex Taylor’s season-opening 12-yard touchdown run and two blocked punts, both by Malcolm Brown, that were returned for touchdowns by defensive back, Jordan Beaulieu and linebacker, Fraser Sopik.
After Stevenson Bone led Western through quarter number one, the Mustangs got their first look at quarterback Chris Merchant to open the second. The transfer from the University of Buffalo led a drive to the Lancers five-yard line and Taylor ran in for his second TD of the game to put Western up 29-3.
Windsor’s NCAA transfer, Jalen Brady didn’t have the same kind of seamless start to his OUA career. The former Northern Michigan University QB was picked off twice and limited to 137 yards passing.
Merchant threw his first OUA touchdown pass before the end of the first half, finding rookie Brett Ellerman down the left side of the field. Ellerman cut back inside and scored easily to stretch Western’s lead to 33 points.
The humidity seemed to seep a little deeper into the Windsor sideline as Western recorded a safety and then sliced and diced down the field on a drive that finished with Cedric Joseph scampering over the goal line and into the left corner of the end zone and eventually into the air conditioned locker room head 45-3.
The busy foot of Western kicker Ben Kelly got a break in the second half when Marc Liegghio hit his first OUA field goal from 46-yards out.
Merchant scored on a quarterback sneak and an 8-yard run and hooked up with Ellerman again to bring the Western touchdown total to eight.
Third-string Mustang quarterback, Ben Bergamin, threw his first touchdown pass to Brian Dowds to close out the scoring.
Western has not lost an OUA regular season game since October 18, 2014 in Guelph when the Gryphons scored with 1:16 remaining to tie the game and then won it on a 41-yard field goal by Daniel Ferraro with just two seconds on the clock.
The Mustangs will hit the road next against the Carleton Ravens on Sunday, September 4th at 7:15 PM.
The Ravens are expected to continue their upward trajectory this season, but were humbled 40-10 by McMaster.
Laurier scored three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game to defeat Queen’s 37-18.
York Lions’ quarterback, Brett Hunchak threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns in a 57-13 hammering of Waterloo.
In Guelph, the Gryphons built a 39-0 lead against U of T and held on to win 41-22.