The University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team defeated rivals York University Lions 40-3 on a rare Friday night tilt.
On York turf, the two teams clashed for the 46th annual Red and Blue Bowl. It was the third straight year the Blues have come away with the Argo Cup. Toronto now holds a 28-17 head-to-head record over York since they first met in 1970.
With the win, Toronto improves to 2-3 this season with tough competition still ahead. The Blues haven’t made the playoffs since they last won the Vanier Cup in 1993. To edge their way into the playoffs this year, they’ll need to win two out of their next three matchups: Western (5-0), Waterloo (0-5), and Ottawa (2-3).
Third-string running back, Alexander Malone of Toronto, broke a U of T single-game record for most running yards. Malone rushed 31 times for 315 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Simon Nassar, who’s playing in his final year for the Blues, went 13-of-27 for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, Nassar led a dynamic offense, which led the OUA in many offensive categories. This year, the offense ranks seven spots lower, ultimately looking for the spark that made them so prominent last year.
Leading the defense on the cold and windy night was rookie linebacker Matt Renaud, who had seven tackles. Third-year UTM student and Mississauga native Cory Williams had a great defensive game, sacking the York quarterback twice for a total loss of 32 yards.
York managed to score late in the third quarter, snapping the Blues’ chance at a shutout when York’s kicker Nick Naylor hit a 27-yard field goal.
Diminishing the confidence of a young York squad, Raul Madan, receiver for the Blues, caught his second touchdown of the game, which ended a 13-play, 78-yard drive.
Blues back-up quarterback Marcus Hobbs was busy filling in for Nassar on the York one-yard line, rushing for a touchdown with the quarterback sneak play. Hobbs also filled in for the injured first-year punter and UTM student TJ Morton.
First-year place kicker Anthony Iafrate had his best game of the season one week after missing a crucial field-goal late in the fourth quarter against Carleton. Iafrate hit three of his four field-goal tries, making a career long 36-yard attempt. A great asset towards field position, Iafrate averaged 55.4 yards per kickoff.
In an interview after the game with a Varsity Blues media crew, Malone said he didn’t know he had broken the single-game record until after the match.
“I’ve never really had an opportunity to rush like this,” he said. “Starting the game, I was second string and out of nowhere I was thrown into the game and running nonstop. The [offensive line] made it so easy—it wasn’t a struggle.” Malone, who is injury-free for only the second season out of the four years he’s spent with the program, looks to make the same impact in their next game as the possible starting running back.
The Varsity Blues take on the Western Mustangs at Varsity Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m.