(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) - The U SPORTS No. 8 ranked STFX X-Men extended their win streak to five with a 30-10 win over the visiting Bishop's Gaiters in the eighth annual Bigg Bowl.
X-Men running back Malcolm Bussey (Hammonds Plains, NS) earned Subway player of the game honours with a pair of touchdown runs, including a 30-yard sprint in the fourth quarter, and 115 total yards on the ground.
X-Men quarterback Silas Fagnan (Bonnyville, AB) went 16 of 35 in the air with a touchdown and an interception. STFX kicker Max Capriotti (Mount Hope, ON) was one for two on field goal attempts. On the defensive side of the ball, Josh Connors (Hamilton, ON) had five solo tackles and three assisted, with one tackle for a loss.
For the Gaiters, Bishops quarterback Mason McGriskin (Markham, ON) was 6-16 with two interceptions while Justin Quirion (Saint-Georges, QC) was 13-25 with a touchdown. Gabriel Royer led the way for the Gaiters defence, six solo tackles, two assisted, and a sack.
STFX got on the board four seconds in, with Ben Hadley's (Halifax, NS) kickoff going through the Gaiters' endzone for a single point. Capriotti added a rouge on StFX's first possession, putting them up by two early. Before the end on the quarter, the Gaiters conceded a safety, with the team switching ends while X was up by four. Neither team was able to keep consistent possession, with dropped passes for each side in the wet weather.
In the second quarter, an early Liam Wilde (Calgary, AB) interception, followed by four straight Fagnan completions gave the X-Men first down on the Bishop's two yard line. Bussey punched in the short run for six and Hadley tacked on the extra point.
The teams exchanged possession for the rest of the quarter, but neither were able to add to the scoreboard until Bishop's conceded another safety late. The Gaiters recovered the ball with less than a minute left, and Laursen hit a 35-yard attempt right through the uprights for the field goal, leaving the score 13-3 at halftime.
STFX kicked off to start the second half and got the ball back at the Gaiters' 36-yardline after a punt. Hadley split the uprights and tacked on another three points for X. After getting the ball back, the Gaiters were successful in going for it on third down but later had to punt after failing to gain more ground.
A pair of Bussey runs and a Fagnan shovel pass brought X to midfield, but the drive stalled, and X punted, leading to another exchange of possessions, with little field gained for either team.
STFX went for it on third and short to start the fourth, and Fagnan had a two-yard run for the first down. Starting on the Gaiters' 39, a nine-yard pass left them with another third and one, leading to a 30-yard jaunt from Bussey straight to the endzone for the major. Hadley hit the extra point, extending the X-Men lead to 20 points.
With about 11 minutes to go, STFX added another major with a 30-yard strike to Zak Karim (Ottawa, ON) in double coverage, and Hadley again hit the extra point.
With about eight minutes left, the Gaiters got the ball back after an interception and made a drive deep into X territory but after a pair of declined offensive penalties, they punted away, giving X the ball at the 13-yard line. The Gaiters again threatened late in the fourth quarter, and capped off a long drive with Quirion hitting Cedric Maurice (Laval, QC) in the endzone with just over two minutes left as the game closed out 30-10 in favour of the X-Men.
The victory was the sixth time the X-Men have won the Bigg Bowl in this eighth installment. The Bigg Bowl was donated in 2002 by the family of Reverend H. R. Canon Bigg and has been awarded after competition between the STFX X-Men and Bishop's Gaiters in U SPORTS football.
With the win, STFX improves to 5-0 on the season, in sole possession of first place. They will head to Wolfville, NS to take on Acadia on October 15th for their next AUS action, while the Gaiters have a bye weekend before hosting Acadia on October 22nd.
Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Sports Information