(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) The StFX X-Men started the AUS regular season on a winning note, defeating the Mount Allison Mounties 16-6 on their home field Saturday afternoon.
The X-Men got into trouble early as Mounties defensive back Matt Watson (Brampton, Ont.) picked off a Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, Alta.) pass on the second series of the game. The visitors couldn't convert the interception with a major score but came away with a single point on a missed 30-yard field goal attempt.
Despite getting into first quarter penalty trouble, the X-Men put together an eight-play series to score the first major of the game. After a couple nice passes, Wasdal connected with freshman running back Chase Bowden (St. Catharine's, Ont.) on a three-yard touchdown run with a minute and a half left in the quarter.
The 7-1 lead held up at half-time for the home team despite the Mounties putting up 190 offensive yards in the opening half to the X-Men's 138.
StFX added to their lead with a Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, Ont.) field goal from 41 yards out at the 6:25 mark.
The Mounties best chance came late in the second quarter on missed 30 yard field goal attempt by James Parker (Abbotsford, B.C.) and the X-Men held onto the 10-1 halftime lead.
Mount Allison picked up a safety six minutes into the third quarter to bring the score to within seven points as they trailed the X-Men 10-3. They further closed the gap with a 40 yard field goal from Parker and the 10-6 score held up after the third quarter.
The only scoring in the fourth quarter came off a pair of field goals from StFX's Burnham, hitting from 19 and 39 yards out as they wrapped up the 16-6 victory.
For his efforts on the ground, X-Men running back Bowden earned Subway player of the game honours, racking up 116 rushing yards and scoring the only touchdown in the game.
Fellow running back Adam Bennett (Upper Tantallon, N.S.) was player of the game for the Mounties as he had 119 yards for his squad.
The Mounties had more yards on the ground (222 to StFX's 131) and in the air (165 to 112) but weren't able to translate the results to the scoreboard.
StFX head coach Gary Waterman noted, "We were happy to get the win despite some sloppy play with turnovers and penalties that were undisciplined. We were playing a lot of young players out there and every time they have a chance on the field they learn a little bit. But it was some of our veterans who took some of those penalties so we have to get them cleaned up, but overall we are happy to get the win and it's a good start to the season."
X-Men quarterback Wasdal finished the game 15-24 for 112 with three interceptions and contributed 30 rushing yards on five carries.
Bowden led the X ground attack with 25 rushes for 116 total yards, while Greg McDonald (Halifax, N.S.) was the leading receiver with six catches for 58 yards.
For the Mounties, quarterback Hunter Sturgeon (Fredericton, N.B.) was 29-39 for 165 yards and had 11 rushes for 74 yards. Bennett's 119 rushing yards came on 20 carries and Drew Besco (Bowmanville, Ont.) was the leading receiver with 60 yards on six catches.
Mount Allison (0-1) will be back in action next Saturday, August 31st when they host the Saint Mary's Huskies (0-0) in their home opener at 2 p.m. in Sackville.
The X-Men (1-0) will travel to Lennoxville, Que. to take on the Bishop's Gaiters (0-1) in a 7 p.m. EDT kick-off, also on Saturday.
Source: StFX Athletics Communications