HALIFAX, NS - The Saint Mary's Huskies played for their AUS playoff lives on Saturday afternoon. In the end, it was not enough as the visiting StFX X-Men upended the Huskies 14-4 in football action from Huskies Stadium.
The X-Men scored the only points of the opening quarter on a set of unusual circumstances.
A Chase Bowden (St. Catharines, ON) 37-yard run put StFX to the SMU 26-yard line.
Two SMU penalties later, the X-Men were at SMU's one-yard line.
StFX's quarterback Quinn Stewart (Richmond, ON) fumbled on the next play and it was returned 111 yards by Saint Mary's for the apparent touchdown. However, a defensive offside penalty wiped out the Saint Mary's score and Stewart made no mistake on the ensuing play, scoring on a one-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead after Keiran Burnham's (Cambridge, ON) extra-point with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
The Huskies started the second quarter forcing two quick punts by the X-Men.
SMU started their second possession of the quarter from their own 20.
A 19-yard strike from Avery Clayton (Ottawa, ON) to Robert Hemming (Halifax, NS) pushed the Huskies up to their own 39-yard line.
Clayton's next pass was tipped by a Huskies receiver, and it fell into the hands of Cole Virtanen (Nanaimo, BC) who returned it 42 yards for the pick 6 touchdown.
StFX led 14-0 with 8:35 left in the half.
After several punts were traded back and forth—there were 23 in the game—SMU started their drive at their own 34-yard line and in seven plays drove 56 yards to the X-Men's 20-yard line.
Saint Mary's kicker Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) knocked thru a 27-yard field goal—SMU's first points of the afternoon—as the Huskies trailed StFX 14-3 at halftime.
With the kick, Hope tied the AUS career field goal record of 65 set by SMU's Justin Palardy (2006-2009).
Hope added a single rouge in the third quarter, and the fourth quarter was scoreless as StFX held on for the 14-4 victory.
StFX ends their 2019 AUS campaign with a 2-6 record in fifth place and out of playoff contention.
Saint Mary's and Mount Allison were battling for the last playoff spot versus Bishop's, as they both entered the final week with identical 3-4 records.
Mount Allison lost to Acadia 33-31 on Saturday, finishing at 3-5.
The Mounties and SMU split the regular season, but Mount A held the point differential at +8 (48-39) so they took third position and the final AUS playoff spot, leaving the Huskies (3-5) on the outside in fourth post.
Mount Allison will now travel to Lennoxville, QC to take on second place Bishop's in the AUS semifinal game on November 2nd. The winner advances to the AUS Loney Bowl championship on November 9th versus Acadia.
Courtesy Dominic Nolasco, SMU Communications