On a scorching Saturday afternoon, in honor of the 1965 Yates and Vanier Cup winning team, the Varsity Blues football team were unable to overcome costly penalties and offensive miscues falling 37-18 to the visiting Queen’s Gaels. One might have expected a game reminiscent of the clash of the titans between the two historic rivals. However, both the Blues and Gaels came out surprisingly flat in the first quarter, with neither team managing to put together much of a drive in the opening 15 minutes. U of T looked particularly poor, with veteran quarterback Simon Nassar completing only two passes for 33 yards.
The second quarter saw Queen’s begin to move the ball effectively, scoring a single point off a punt into the end zone, as well as a pair of touchdowns in the final three minutes of the half. U of T’s offence was still unable to gain any headway; the defensive line was exposed to repeated attacks by Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs for huge downfield gains. The Blues took a 15-0 deficit into the locker room at halftime.
In the wake of a halftime presentation in honor of the 1965 Yates and Vanier Cup Championship Varsity Blues team, U of T’s offence found their stride and came out firing in the third quarter. The Blues were able to march 65 yards in 10 plays to score a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half — successfully breathing some life into a Varsity Centre crowd which had little to cheer for during the first 30 minutes.
After the game, blues running back Divante Smith credited the team’s mentality at halftime as the driving force of that quick third quarter start.
“During halftime we tried not to focus on the past quarter. We wanted to focus on getting a fresh start and doing our jobs, it was our time to stand up and play with these guys.”
The Gaels answered back with a touchdown of their own, pushing their lead to 22-7, but the Blues responded quickly with a touchdown, then a field goal, to close within four points of the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The blues’ rally was ultimately stymied by a number of costly and unnecessary roughing penalties, allowing Nate Hobbs to run in another touchdown, as well as a game ending fumble recovered in the end-zone by Queen’s, putting the game out of reach for the Blues at 37-18 with five minutes to go.
After the game head coach Greg Gary admitted that the team has a lot to work on in preparation for the Red and Blue Bowl on October second when the Blues face GTA rivals York.