McMaster football fumbles playoff position for second consecutive season
In their final game of the season, McMaster football loses by just three points to the University of Toronto, wiping away their playoff hopes
The last game of the Marauder football season came down to a harsh ultimatum. They would either beat the University of Toronto and land a spot in the playoffs or they would lose and have the season come to an immediate halt. With home field advantage on their side, the Marauders suited up to take on the Varsity Blues on an unusually warm day of October.
With both teams facing a similar ultimatum, the stakes were high. A Toronto win meant the Varsity Blues make the playoffs while McMaster would be eliminated. Meanwhile a McMaster win would lead to a tie in the standings for the final playoff spot between Toronto and McMaster.
The Marauders made good on their first drive of the game as Andreas Dueck threw a 15 yard pass which Nicholas Adair converted to a touchdown.
The Varsity Blues went on to convert three field goals, bringing their point total to nine just before the half. A field goal for McMaster’s kicker Micheal Horvat would bring the half time score to nine to 10, in the way of McMaster. Going into the second half with just the one-point lead, the Marauders needed to produce something more to bring them to the postseason.
They ended up doing just the opposite. The second half of play saw McMaster produce zero points, while the Varsity Blues converted two safeties to bring the final score to 13-10. Just like that, with no points coming from touchdowns, the Toronto side secured a postseason berth.
It a difficult pill for the team to swallow not only because of the lost playoff hopes, but also because the Marauders would snap a 26 year winning streak. This became the first time since Sep. 21, 1996 that McMaster lost to the Varsity Blues.
It's difficult to pin the McMaster loss on any single factor but taking a look at their season as a whole, it has been very lackluster. Their two wins came against teams sitting at the bottom of the barrel, those being Guelph and Waterloo. Their only other win came against the York Lions, after which an ineligible player stripped the win away from the team, forcing them to forfeit their 39-one victory.
The forfeited game had major implications to the Marauder season. This additional win would have put them in better standing and would have added a majorly needed win to the teams tally. Ultimately, their final game against Toronto highlighted some of the issues the team faced all season.
Their lack of offensive efficiency costed them gravely. The Marauders failed to advance up the field this game discernibly. In some cases, the offensive line broke down rather quickly. In others, McMaster’s quarterback failed to connect with his receivers. It seems that offensively McMaster struggles to find consistency.
Defensively, the Marauders seem quite sound. With no touchdowns coming from the Varsity Blues, they seem to be in fine form. The Marauders look as though they must put in lots of work in the offseason to bring themselves back to the level they once were at. This is the team’s first time since 1997 missing playoffs in an eight-game season (excluding the shortened 2021 season).
If they hope to become the team they once were, they may need to take a closer look at their offense. With Dueck leaving McMaster after this season, the team will need to replace his quarterback position.
More wins come with more points, which is exactly what the Marauders will be hoping for in their season ahead as they hunt for a return to the playoffs for the first time since winning the provincial championship in the 2019-2020 season.