Halifax, NS – The Saint Mary's Huskies picked up the first victory of the AUS football season with a 20-13 win over the StFX X-Men Friday night at Huskies Stadium on a balmy summer evening in front of over 1300 fans.
The turning point in the victory came late in the fourth quarter when Huskies quarterback Kaleb Scott (Mount Albert, ON) punched in a one-yard touchdown to give them a 17-13 edge. The play came after a Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) field goal was negated due to a StFX illegal substitution call. Had the field goal stood the game would have been knotted at 13-13.
With the momentum, the Huskies added a late field goal for the 20-13 win.
Scott was 18 for 28 with 208 total offensive yards, despite throwing three interceptions in the game.
Freshman running back Jonathan Cimankinda (Ottawa, ON), the Subway Player of the Game, picked up 105 rushing yards on 21 carries for Saint Mary's.
The home team opened the scoring on their first drive of the game off a 36-yard field goal from Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) in what was the only scoring in the first quarter. Scott connected with Cimankinda on several carries to move the ball up field.
The X-Men had a chance to even the score early in the second quarter but Kieran Burnham's (Cambridge, ON) 42-yard field goal attempt went wide.
Hope added a second field goal with just over four minutes left in the opening half, this time from 33 yards out.
The X-Men got on the board at 13:14 of the second quarter to cut the SMU lead to 6-3 when Burnham connected from 15 yards out. StFX quarterback Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) found receiver Greg McDonald (Halifax, NS) for a 31-yard pass to gain field position.
The first half scoring rounded out with a Huskies rouge off a missed 26-yard field goal attempt from Hope with under a minute to play as SMU took a 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Wasdal found McDonald again in the third quarter for a 29-yard catch that set the X-Men up for 1st and goal from the one-yard line. Running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, ON) punched it in for StFX's first major score of the season. An Ethan Mastin (Chilliwack, BC) interception kicked off the drive for the X-Men.
The Huskies evened the score with just over a minute left in the third quarter as Hope booted his third field goal of the night, a 25 yarder that tied the game at 10-10.
StFX regained the lead three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 35-yard Burnham field goal.
The Scott touchdown with 6:42 left on the clock was the Huskies only one of the game. He scored after the X-Men strung together three consecutive penalties that set up Saint Mary's at 1st and goal.
Hope's fourth field goal of the game gave the Huskies the 20-13 edge with 1:31 left in the game. This one came from 10 yards out after a long Huskies possession wasted a lot of time off the game clock.
Saint Mary's had 383 total offensive yards to the X-Men's 213. Penalties also cost the X-Men in the game as they had 15 for 110 penalized yards to the Huskies 9 for 60.
Rick LeMoignan (Edmonton, AB) had 5 catches for 68 yards for the Huskies, while Liam O'Brien (Parksville, BC) was 5 for 68.
For the X-Men, Greg McDonald (4-91) and Kaion Julien-Grant (4-45) were the favorite targets for Wasdal who ended up going 15 for 23 for 181 total yards in his first AUS regular season game. Socholotiuk was held to 39 yards on the ground on 16 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, Gordon Whyte (Toronto, ON) led all X-Men with 9.5 tackles, while defensive back Cole Virtanen (Nanaimo, BC) had two interceptions in the game.
Brad Herbst (Ottawa, ON) led the Huskies defense with 5.5 tackles as the SMU defense sacked Wasdal three times in the game for a total loss of 25 yards.
Both teams are back in action next weekend. The Huskies travel to Lennoxville, QC to face Bishops on Saturday, while the X-Men will host Acadia on Friday night in their home opener.
Recap courtesy StFX Sports Information