On Saturday, in front of a national television audience, the Varsity Blues football team took to Guelph, where they lost to the Gryphons in a tight contest: 31–29. The loss drops their season record to 1–3.
Both teams felt each other out, leading to a quiet first half with a pair of safeties and touchdowns by Guelph’s running back Rob Farquharson on a five-yard dive for the goal line. Paul de Pass caught a 13-yard touchdown on a Hitch pass from quarterback Richard Quittenton. The teams went into halftime tied at 9–9.
Both teams’ offences came alive in the second half. Quittenton took a lot of hits all game, but it was his rush early in the third quarter towards the left sideline by Gryphons linebacker Jake Reinhart that took him out of the game. Simon Nassar, a second-year student and third string quarterback, came in to replace the fallen starter and led an almost magical comeback.
The Gryphons marched to a lead late in the game, following Nassar’s one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Farquharson added a four-yard plunge in the end zone and the defence added another two points, forcing a Blues safety. Guelph receiver Alexander Charette caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jazz Lindsey, while Dillon Dimitroff pulled in another major for 26 yards and pushed the score to 31–16.
All in all, Nassar completed eight of 13 passes thrown for 106 yards and two touchdowns that day, as well as a score rushing the ball. It was in the final three minutes that he threw a 25-yard touchdown strike to receiver Todd Inkila to seal a 70-yard drive that only lasted 41 seconds. His 27-yard touchdown pass to de Pass with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter made the game interesting. Nassar was unable to complete his pass for the two-point conversion, which would have tied the game. That leaves coach Greg Gary with his third straight defeat.
UTM’s contribution to the game was still felt: running back Stephan Boroniec caught a pass for 13 yards, defensive back Larry Broni provided two tackles, defensive linemen Justin Marra provided one tackle, and Abi Olusoga added four.