The University of Toronto Varsity Blues remain winless as they dropped a 53-25 decision to the University of Guelph Gryphons Friday night at Varsity Stadium.
A jovial crowd of 1,832 watched the Blues (0-3) keep the game close for a half, but a 32-yard touchdown by Gryphon running back Nick Fitzgibbon and a 42-yard passing play did U of T in.
Guelph (2-1) took over in the second half by literally running away from the Blues.
Their ground attack, led by Fitzgibbon, allowed the Gryphon offence to hold onto the ball for the majority of the second half and cut down mistakes.
First of the big plays came in the third quarter, when the Puslinch, Ont. native ran the ball 32 yards for the touchdown with 10:34 remaining. The 42 yard passing play came with 9:12 remaining in the game when receiver Jedd Gardner took the ball in for the score.
To the Blues credit, they never backed down.
U of T quarterback Andrew Gillis connected with fullback Jonathan Wright for a 64 yard touchdown, moving the Blues to within 39-23.
That drive was capped off when Scott Smith caught a two-point conversion for a 39-25 deficit. This took the Blues offence off of life support for the moment, but in the end it would be too late.
After that, Fitzgibbon capped off the game with six and five yard touchdown runs to give the Gryphons a 53-25 win.
Leading the Blues offence was Gillis, who finished the night 13 for 26 for 155 yards through the air and 11 carries for 93 yards on the ground.
Running back Walter Cariazo carried the ball seven times and gained 43 yards, while sloback Drew Meerveld caught 11 balls for 141 yards.
The Gryphons were led by Fitzgibbon, who came into the game 125 yards off of the Ontario University Athletics rushing lead, ran the ball 21 times for 153 yards. Quarterback Justin Dunk (23 for 33), who leads the OUA in passing, threw for 351 yards.
Gardner ended up with six catches for 116 yards.
To start the third quarter both teams traded touchdowns. First it was the Gryphons with a 32-yard touchdown run by Fitzgibbon to give Guelph a nine point lead.
On the Blues next series, they added some trickery of their own, when Gillis ran 22 yards on second down to get into Gryphon territory. Two plays later, Gillis avoided a sack with a great juke to get U of T into scoring position.
But it was a one yard run by Gretes for the Blues second touchdown of the game.
Guelph would add another touchdown when slot back Dave Honig hauled in a 21-yard pass from quarterback Justin Dunk.
In the first half, the Blues managed to keep the game close trailing Guelph 9-7 at halftime.
The Blues lone scoring play of the half began when backup running back George Gretes leapt into the end zone only to have the ball knocked loose by a Gryphon defender.
A quick thinking Zac Hord fell onto the ball into the end zone giving U of T their lone touchdown of the half and a 7-3 lead.
Gryphons added three field goals from Rob Maver and a safety to take a 9-7 lead into the dressing room.