Antigonish, NS - The STFX X-Men defeated the Saint Mary's Huskies 25-12 on summer homecoming on Saturday afternoon at STFX Stadium in the AUS season opener for both squads.
Saint Mary's, with former Acadia quarterback, Duncan Patterson (Bedford, NS) at the helm, went 20-28, orchestrated a great opening drive. His 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 SMU safety as the X-Men took an early 2-0 lead.
On STFX's third series of the game 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. Max Capriotti (Mount Hope, ON) converted the extra point.
AUS Football - StFX's Malcolm Bussey caps a 7-play, 55-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run. Max Capriotti adds the PAT to make the score @SMUHuskies 0, @StFXAthletics 9 (04:19 - 1st) #USPORTS pic.twitter.com/7RIhYw6raM— Atlantic University Sport (@AUS_SUA) August 27, 2022
The Huskies answered right back with a scoring drive of their own. Patterson found 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 once again to pull to within 10-7.
The X-Men continued to move the ball well in throughout the half. 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 Devin McGuirk's (Barrie, ON) nice 23-yard play to help put the Huskies in field goal range.
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 by Isiaih 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.
AUS Football - StFX's Malcolm Bussey runs it in from 19-yards out for his second TD of the game. Capriotti adds the PAT to make the score @SMUHuskies 12, @StFXAthletics 23 (05:36 - 4th)— Atlantic University Sport (@AUS_SUA) August 27, 2022
Watch live at https://t.co/fe9ibqcANW #USPORTS @USPORTS_FB pic.twitter.com/j8Sfk8Vlr1
StFX had an opportunity to twist the knife against their traditional rival, as they had possession in the game's final minute; however, on third and goal, Coach Gary Waterman called for his team to take a knee, closing out their first victory of the 2022 season.
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 yards and also kept his receiving core busy, hitting seven different players for catches. Teon Alexander-Amour (Vancouver, BC) was the Huskies top rusher going 11 for 42 on the afternoon.
Okoli finished the game with eight tackles for the Huskies, including two tackles for a loss of yards.
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 play host to Acadia in Halifax on September 2nd at 7:00 pm.
StFX (1-0) have a bye next weekend and will next see action on September 10th when they play Acadia in Antigonish at 2:00 pm.
Recap courtesy Bart Sears, STFX Athletics