Tonight: York Lions football hosts No. 1 McMaster Marauders

York University Lions football player poster

The York University Lions football team will play host to the No. 1 McMaster Marauders in the first ever night game at York Stadium on Thursday (Oct. 4).

Kick-off is set for 7pm, and the first 500 fans to come through the door will receive a free York Lions tuque. The game can also be seen live online at SSN Canada.

The Lions will be in tough against the country’s top football team, but are vastly improved over past seasons. The squad is 1-4 on the year, but has lost its last three games by a total of nine York University Lions football player posterpoints. Since a 47-36 victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their home opener in early September, the Lions fell to the Laurier Golden Hawks and Windsor Lancers on the road by four points in each game, and lost a one-point decision to the Waterloo Warriors in their Homecoming game two weeks ago.

The Marauders, meanwhile, have kept on rolling since winning the Yates Cup and Vanier Cup championships last year. Ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in every poll this season, the Marauders have won 15 straight games dating back to Week 3 of 2011 and have dominated opponents en route to a 5-0 start. They have scored 229 points, more than any other team in the Ontario University Athletes (OUA), and have allowed just 93, which is the second-fewest in the conference.

Points could be plentiful in this contest as McMaster and York boast two of the three top offences in the OUA. The Marauders have gained 559 yards per game this season for the best mark in the conference, while the Lions’ average of 437.6 per game puts them third.

For both teams, those numbers are attributed largely to the strong play of their quarterbacks. Under centre for the Lions is Myles Gibbon of Montreal, who has accumulated more than 1,700 total yards this season and is second in the OUA with 1,501 passing yards, a 56 per cent completion rate and 300.2 yards per game. His counterpart at McMaster, Kyle Quinlan of South Woodslee, Ont., has the best completion percentage among the OUA’s starting quarterbacks, at 7 per cent, and has racked up 1,474 yards and 12 touchdowns, with no interceptions.

The Marauders also feature a stellar defence that has allowed only 306.8 yards per game, the second-lowest total in the OUA, while the Lions are ranked seventh in the OUA after giving up 362.4 per game.

Thursday’s game is the first meeting between the teams in two years, as the Lions did not face the Marauders in their championship season one year ago. The last match-up between the two squads came in October 2010, when the Marauders defeated the Lions 64-6.

In addition to the action on the field, fans will have the chance to win a number of prizes through various contests and prize draws. Among the items up for grabs on Thursday night are tickets for the Bills Toronto Series game featuring the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 16, and tickets to see Dragonette at the Sound Academy on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Food trucks and the beer garden will also be on site and open for the duration of the game.

Gates open at 5:30pm and tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets for all York students are free. Adult tickets are available for $8 and non-York students and seniors for $5. Children 12 and under are free.