X-Men defeat Huskies 25-12 in season opener
Antigonish, NS - The STFX X-Men defeated the Saint Mary's Huskies 25-12 on Saturday afternoon at STFX Stadium in the AUS season opener for both squads.
The Huskies orchestrated a great opening drive with transfer quarterback Duncan Patterson (Bedford, NS) at the helm. Patterson's third down rush, with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct against StFX, helped put the Huskies in field goal range but the 32-yard field goal attempt by Cameron Brown (Hammonds Plains, NS) hit the crossbar.
The game's opening points came from a Huskies safety as the X-Men took an early 2-0 lead.
On STFX's third series of the game, running back Malcom Bussey (Hammonds Plains, NS) capped off a 55-yard scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown rush. The 2021 AUS rookie of the year carried five times for a total of 29 yards. Kicker Max Capriotti (Mount Hope, ON) converted the extra point.
The Huskies answered right back with a scoring drive of their own. Patterson found receiver Liam Stewart (Port Coquitlam, BC) to convert on third-down to put the Huskies on the X-Men 20-yard line, then the two connected on a 13-yard touchdown completion to pull the Huskies within 10-7.
TOUCHDOWN HUSKIES!— SMU Huskies (@SMUHuskies) August 27, 2022
#15 Duncan Patterson finds #89 Liam Stewart on a 13 yard slant for the first score of the regular season!
X-Men lead 9-7 with 12:06 remaining in 2nd quarter. pic.twitter.com/h2VneZKGrS
The X-Men continued to move the ball well in throughout the half. Quarterback Silas Fagnan (Bonnyville, AB) connected with Devaughn Blackwood (Kanata, ON) for a 17-yard play that helped march the X-Men down the field as Fagnan did well all afternoon to keep all his receivers involved in the offence. A rare missed field goal by Capriotti that went through the end zone led STFX increasing their lead to 11-7.
As the half concluded the Huskies capped off a competitive half with a 17-yard field goal by Brown. A key play of the series was a 23-yard reception by Devin McGuirk (Barrie, ON) to help put the Huskies in field goal range.
AUS Football - SMU's Cameron Brown adds a 17-yard FG for the Huskies in the final minute of the 2nd quarter. @SMUHuskies 10, @StFXAthletics 13 (00:53 - 2nd)— Atlantic University Sport (@AUS_SUA) August 27, 2022
Watch live at https://t.co/fe9ibpUrzO #USPORTS @USPORTS_FB pic.twitter.com/0jus9UYY5V
At the half the score was 13-10 in favour of the X-Men.
STFX's opening series of the second half saw them extend their lead to six on a 31-yard field goal effort by Capriotti. Fullback Connor Ross (Coldbrook, NS), caught a Fagnan pass to gain 30-yards on the play.
Thereafter, the third quarter was a low scoring affair as both defences gained their footing. The Huskies were led defensively by Isaiah Okoli (Saint John, NB) and Jassin States-McLean (Halifax, NS), while noticeable efforts by STFX's Nathan Cayouuette (Strathmore, AB) and Hunter Mousseau (Sault Ste Marie, ON) helped keep the X-Men in the lead, 16-10 through three quarters of play.
Although down on the scoreboard, Patterson kept his team within striking distance. The Huskies were on the X-Men 15-yard line but a timely interception by defensive back Kyle Rutter (Belleville, ON) enabled X to keep their lead.
Once again, the SMU defence stepped up and did not allow StFX to make a first down, which led to a StFX safety as the Huskies trailed 16-12 early in the fourth quarter.
Bussey scored his second touchdown of the afternoon to extend STFX's lead to 23-12 before a SMU safety made the final score 25-12.
Subway Player of the Game Malcom Bussey had 19 rushes for 120 yards and two touchdowns for the X-Men.
X-Men quarterback Fagnan finished at 9-21 for 186 total yards, spreading out the catches to six STFX receivers.
Patterson was 20-28 for 198 passing yards and also kept his receiving core busy, hitting seven different players for catches. Receiver Brycen Mayoh chipped in offensively and special teams, making seven receptions for 36 yards and adding six returns for 91 return yards. Running back Teon Alexander-Amour (Vancouver, BC) was the Huskies top rusher, with 11 attempts for 42 yards on the afternoon.
Okoli finished the game with eight tackles for the Huskies, including two tackles for a loss of yards, while defensive end Aidan John added seven tackles and one forced fumble.
Cayouette had 10 tackles for the X-Men, while veteran defensive lineman Alex Fedchun (Calgary, AB) had 7.5 tackles including a sack.
Saint Mary's (0-1) will return home to Halifax as they host the Acadia Axemen in their homeopener, September 2 at 7 p.m.
StFX (1-0) have a bye next weekend and will return to action on September 10 when they host Acadia in Antigonish at 2 pm.
Recap courtesy Bart Sears / St.FX Athletics
Photos courtesy Bryan Kennedy / St.FX Athletics