The rain broke off, the second-string quarterbacks took to the field and the offences came to life in the second half Sunday, with the Marauders ultimately coming out on the losing end of a tightly-played contest at Gee-Gees Field.
Leading 8-4 through three quarters, McMaster conceded the game’s only two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and fell 18-11 to Ottawa in the teams’ week two encounter.
With the result, the no. 7-ranked Marauders fell to 1-1 on the young season, while Ottawa bounced back from an opening weekend loss to Wilfrid Laurier to improve to 1-1.
Despite the dearth of points, McMaster saw running back Jordan Lyons collect 174 yards along the ground on 24 carries, as the steadying force on the offensive side throughout the contest.
Second-year quarterback Andreas Dueck, who arrived under centre to begin the second half in relief of starter Jackson White, had his best showing as a Marauder, producing 148 yards through the air.
Crucially, though, McMaster was unable to find a touchdown Sunday, settling for field goals from Adam Preocanin to conclude three separate drives, including a 17-yard chip shot that capped Dueck’s first drive of the afternoon in the third quarter.
Defensively, rookie linebacker Eryk Bujalski led all Marauders with seven total tackles, including one for a loss, while Noah Hallett had the team’s lone interception.
The tipping point on Sunday came late in the fourth quarter, when Ottawa quarterback Sawyer Buettner, who similarly took over for starter Alex Lavric in the second half, tossed a dump off pass to Bryce Viera, who caught the ball behind his back, beat a block and rumbled 61 yards to the end zone to break an 11-11 tie and give his team the decisive lead.
Buettner finished the afternoon with 134 yards and two touchdowns, completing five of his 10 attempted passes.
His previous major capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive to give Ottawa the lead at 11-8, as he found Dylan St. Pierre in the deep corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown connection.
Dueck engineered a promising final drive in the last seconds of the game, marching 42 yards on three completions before watching his final pass of the afternoon sail just beyond his receiver on the crossing route and into the waiting hands of Ottawa safety Luke Griese.
A sloppy opening half in the driving rain produced five turnovers between the two teams, and saw McMaster manage just 123 yards of offence. The combination of a safety and a Preocanin field goal, however, lent the Marauders a 5-3 advantage at the break.
White was intercepted twice, and had 63 yards through the air, before being replaced by Dueck at the resumption of play.
Next up McMaster travels to London on Saturday, September 8 for a 4:00 p.m. tilt against the Western Mustangs at TD Stadium.
Source: Fraser Caldwell