This year’s homecoming was extra special for Marc Liegghio. Aside from winning what may be his final regular season game as a Mustang, the fourth-year player also set some records along the way.
In a 32-23 victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Western University kicker was responsible for 20 of the team’s points.
With six field goals, the veteran tied Western's record for most field goals made in a single game. Saturday was the second time he’s tied the mark. He also hit six field goals in a game against Queen’s University on Sept. 23, 2017.
The Woodbridge, Ont. native joins Lirim Hajrullahu as the only Mustangs' kickers to achieve the feat twice in a career. Both Frank Jagas and Darryl Wheeler matched the record once — in 1993 and 2008, respectively.
Also, with 20 points on the day, Liegghio blew past Hajrullahu’s career total of 422 points, securing the top spot in the Ontario University Athletics' record books.
In four years with the Mustangs, the kicker was responsible for 440 points. The impressive total ranks him as the second all-time leading scorer in Canadian University football.
Johnny Mark, who racked up 535 points with the University of Calgary from 2011-15, is the only player with more.
All in all, with a few records under his belt, it wouldn’t be a stretch to argue that Liegghio is the best kicker in U Sports history.
However, if you want to make that argument, don’t expect the Mustangs' kicker to agree with you.
"You know, I wouldn't say the best kicker in U Sports history,” corrected Liegghio, when addressed by that label. ”But it's nice to be up there with all of the great names and all the guys who have been up there over the years.”
After tactfully avoiding the weighty designation, the kicker quickly shifted the attention to his teammates.
“I'm just glad that my unit was able to do it and I gotta give all the credit to [holder] Brett [Ellerman] and [long-snapper] Zack Zynomirski,” said Liegghio. “They've been perfect all season. We keep working at it every week.”
While the image of a humble superstar comes to him naturally, even he had to admit that the thought of breaking the record had crossed his mind.
“Yeah, it was in the back of my head a little bit,” Liegghio admitted, when asked if he knew the numbers he needed to break the record. “But, I wasn't worrying about it too much.”
Of course, there were more important matters at hand.
“I was worrying about, obviously, winning the game and making sure we finish 8-0 and getting that secured homecoming win,” explained Liegghio. “Can't lose on Homecoming.”
It was a career year for Liegghio.
After a game dedicated to the history of the program, it’s hard not to look back at the kicker’s season and imagine it going any better.
The veteran ranks first in the country for field goals made, field goal percentage and average punt distance. The kicker also sits second in total kickoff yardage and third in average yards per kickoff.
And the increased workload he’s received in the final weeks of the regular season will only help him as he pursues his second Vanier Cup.
“Look at all the games we've played this season, it's come down to it a little bit. It's good to get the reps in and just stay on top of it because you never know,” Liegghio said about how his increased workload could help him ahead of the playoffs. “It could be the same the whole rest of the way to the Vanier. We got those reps in today.”