By: Santino Filoso
On Saturday night, in front of a small but rambunctious crowd at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium, and playing a winless Ticats team without their starting QB, the Redblacks wasted a golden opportunity to even their record at .500.
– It was Henry Burris’ 190th CFL start and his first against the Ticats since being released in the off-season after leading them to the Grey Cup, other ex-Ticats looking to have a big game included RB Chevon Walker (#29) and WR Matt Carter (#85)
– Brett Maher (#3) kicks off for the Redblacks and 1st round pick Antoine Pruneau (#6) quickly makes the tackle
– The Ticats come out roaring and after a 23 yard pass, QB Dan LeFevour flips a reverse to WR Brandon Banks who tiptoes 53 yards down the sideline for a TD, 7-0 for the McMaster Marauders
– Burris rumbles 20 yards on the Redblacks first play from scrimmage as the Redblacks answer the quick score with a long 14 play drive that features runs by Walker and DJ Harper (#28), and catches by Kierrie Johnson (#10), John Delahunt (#49), Henry² (Marcus Henry #16) and a 10 yard TD catch from a diving Matt Carter (#85)
– Dan “Spider Legs” LeFevour gallops up the middle of the field for an easy 34 yard gain before CJ Gable rushes 47 yards into the end zone, restoring the Ticats 7 point lead
– Justin “Captain” Phillips gets his leg rolled up on during the ensuing kick return and breaks his fibula, all of Ottawa (specifically Arnprior) weeps, even though the man himself doesn’t
– Burris connects with Henry² for a 19 yard TD
– DB Jovon Johnson (#2) proves that the Redblacks defense isn’t entirely allergic to tackling and sacks LeFevour
– Maher fakes the punt and hits FB Patrick Lavoie for a 25 yard completion on 3rd and 10, making it three straight games that the Redblacks have faked a punt
– Despite back to back catches by Walker, the Redblacks drive stalls at the Ticat 3 yard line, so they settle for a 10 yard Maher FG
– LeFevour and Gable continue to run wild through sloppy Redblacks tackles and the Justin Medlock splits the uprights from 12 yards out to tie the game at 17
– Henry² continues his night of dominance and makes another first down catch
– Burris’ streak of 144 passes without an interception ends when his deep pass intended for Dobson Collins (#80) is picked off; it was slightly underthrown but Collins make zero effort to battle back for position on the ball
– Using both his arms and legs, LeFevour moves the Ticats into position for a field goal as the half expires, ending the half with a 20-17 lead courtesy of a 36 yard Medlock FG
– Redblacks receive the ball to start the half but quickly go two and out
– Wallace Miles (#84) makes his first catch as a Redblack, picking up 17 yards and putting the Redblacks in field goal range
– Maher’s 38 yard FG attempt is good
– Dan “Houdini” LeFevour avoids getting sacked in a collapsing pocket and strolls around until he spots a wide open Cary Koch 49 yards down field
– Ticats take the lead off an 18 yard Medlock field goal
– Redblacks go two and out and Maher booms a 50 yard punt to the Hamilton 22
– On a 28 yard LeFevour scramble, Ticats WR Andy Fantuz ear holes Brandyn Thompson (#25), knocking him into early next week
– Eric Fraser (#7) fails to get to LeFevour on the safety blitz, stop me if you’ve heard this one before….
– Jovon Johnson makes an incredible individual effort and rips the ball out of Koch’s hands to pick off LeFevour, unfortunately the Redblacks offense chooses to look a gift horse in the mouth
– Kierrie Johnson is seen on the sidelines icing his forearm
– Henry² x3 for gains of 27, 17 and 14 yards respectively
– Following a Burris sack, Maher boots a 24 yard FG to tie the game up at 23
– Gable cuts Redblacks defense like Big Joe splits watermelons and bursts 82 yards until he is horse collar tackled by DB Jerrell Gavins (#24)
– Dan “The Specialist” LeFevour sneaks the ball in from 1 yard out to put the Ticats up 30-23 with 5:04 left in the game
– The Redblacks drive bogs down at midfield and on 3rd and 2 Head Coach Rick Campbell decides to gamble and go for it with 2:31 remaining; Burris’ pass is tipped at the line and despite getting a hand on it Paris Jackson (#19) fails to make the catch
– LeFevour uses LeLegs to move the Ticats into range for another FG
Final Score: 33-23 for LeTicats
Burris went 27 of 44 for 290 yards (2 TDs & 1 INT)
Walker had 8 carries for 37 yards
Henry² made 10 catches for 137 yards (1 TD)
Jerrell Gavins made 6 tackles
In a game where the Redblacks offense finally came to life, the defense that had been so stout the past few weeks came apart at the seams as Dan LeFevour stole the show with 470 yards of total offense (361 passing yards and 109 rushing yards). The Redblacks offense ran through Henry² on a night when Walker and the run game was shut down. Every catch Henry² made went for a first down but the Redblacks receivers as a group still need to do more as they left several plays out on the field due to drops. The defense was plagued with poor tackling and stubborn coaching decisions, ex: Continuing to blitz the safety even after repeating being burned on screens and dump offs. If the Redblacks are going to win games they simply cannot have their defense giving up 7 plays of 20+ yards per game. Adding insult to injury is the loss of Special Teams Captain Justin Phillips, who will miss significant time as he recovers from a broken fibula; WR Kierrie Johnson also left the game with an injury though the severity as of right now is still unknown. Some will point the finger to Coach Campbell’s decision to go for it on 3rd and 2 with two minutes remaining but personally I like the decision and agree with his logic.
“We had the ball at midfield, we were down by seven,” said Campbell. “I thought it was a good opportunity to stay on the field. It didn’t work out. We’re preaching to our players that we’re playing to win the game.”
Losing to an Eastern opponent stings, especially one without that was previously winless and without their starting QB but the Redblacks don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves with the Fake Riders coming to town next week. Maybe a little bit of love from R-Nation and a change of uniform is all they need to get back on track, after all, we’ve undefeated when we wear black.
P.S. Cool to see the Redblacks twitter using the Henry² nickname, but don’t forget that you read it here first, way back in the pre-season!
-All images via CFL.ca, the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen
3 thoughts on “Game #4; LeFevour Reams Redblacks”
Good to see the offence clicking more, I thought they were good enough to win, but they need to connect on the deep ball when its open.
I could not agree more on the stubbornness of the play calling on D. The Ticats had an answer for the repeated safety blitz, why not rush 4 (disciplined lanes) and drop everyone else in coverage except for one spy on the QB, and mix in up… make the QB adjust. Or anything else that is different…
If they had been playing in the NFL, Campbell would have been right to go for it: http://wp.advancedfootballanalytics.com/4thdncalc1.php Of course the CFL is a different game, but I still think he was right.