AUS football is back and the Mount Allison Mounties opened their season with a 29-13 exhibition win over Acadia at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon.
On an afternoon where both team had large rosters as teams gave players looks before the regular season starts next week, it was Acadia who grabbed a 13-0 advantage by the end of the 1st quarter.
The first points of the game came when the Mounties conceded a safety on their first possession. Acadia would extend their lead to 5-0 when kicker Ben George connected from 22 yards out after a well-engineered drive by veteran Acadia quarterback Hunter Guenard. Acadia picked up a single to make it 6-0 after a missed field goal sailed through the end zone three minutes later.
Acadia's lead grew to 13-0 when Brett Switzer picked off a Julian Wytinck pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown with 1:45 remaining in the 1st. These would end up being the final points that Acadia would score as the Mounties defense shut the door for the game's final 3 quarters.
Mounties sophomore quarterback Hunter Sturgeon of Fredericton started the 2nd quarter and immediately sparked the offense for the home side. Starting from their own 25 yard line the Mounties drove the field, finishing with an 8 yard touchdown pass from Sturgeon to sophomore Drew Besco in the back of the end zone. The drive also included a 15 yard scramble by Sturgeon and a 32 yard completion to 3rd year receiver Nate Benjamin.
After the Mounties defense forced Acadia to a safety to make the score 13-9, the Mounties would narrow the gap a little more before halftime as sophomore kicker James Parker connected on a 37 yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining in the half.
The Mounties took their first lead of the game in the 3rd quarter on a drive set up by a 41 yard punt return by sophomore returner Jelani Yorke. With sophomore quarterback David Patry in the game, the Mounties would score again. The Mounties thought they would have to settle for a field goal but a roughing the passer call gave the Mounties a first down on the Acadia 19 yard line. On the next play Patry connected with Robbie Walker for the major and a 19-13 lead. Parker sailed the ensuing kickoff through the end zone to give the Mounties another point and a 20-13 lead.
A bad snap that sailed over the kicker's head for Acadia would result in another safety for Mount Allison. This pushed the score to 22-13. The final scoring of the game came when sophomore Mounties defensive back Xavier Watson picked off an Acadia pass and ran it back 32 yards for a pick six.
With exhibition play now out of the way, the AUS regular season will get started next weekend. Mount Allison will travel to StFX on Saturday, August 24th for a 2PM start. For their part, Acadia will host Bishop's to open the season next Saturday at 3PM.