U of O improves to 1-1 on the season following home-opener win

It was a wet and humid one in the nation’s capital as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees faced off against the McMaster Marauders for their home opener.

While the U of O was coming off a 39-21 loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks, the squad managed to outlast the seventh-ranked Marauders this time around, 18-11.

“I was very proud of them, but we still have a long way to go. We made a lot of mistakes and we were kind of our own worst enemy here,” Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi said. “But I was very impressed with the resiliency, they hung in there.”

The score would only be 5-3 for the Marauders through the entire first half, with both teams finding it hard to muster sustained drives in the hard rain.

On top of that, the Gee-Gees  again had a hard time with penalties.

“Well again, we’ve got to eliminate these penalties. Some of these are just game-breakers,” Barresi said. “I don’t know what our total was, but it was a large number again. We addressed it, we talked about it. We have to do a better job with it.”

The Gee-Gees continued to play a strong defensive game however, and this kept them in the contest.

They held McMaster to 11 points and no touchdowns for the entire game.

“I thought they did good and they came after them. You know the thing was they had their backs against the wall a lot of times and they were strong, and I give them credit for that,” Barresi said. “At the same time you know it’s a whole team effort, so we had to make some plays when we needed it. (Sawyer Buettner) gave us a spark and made some throws.”

The rain finally cleared up for good by the third quarter, allowing both teams to rack up a little more offence.

This was when second-year quarterback Alex Lavric was subbed out following a quiet first half, allowing first-year Buettner to step in.

Still, a touchdown continued to elude both teams going into the final quarter of play.

A Gee-Gees defensive fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter jolted their offence back.

They marched the ball down the field with Buettner behind centre, eventually finding Dylan St-Pierre for the first touchdown of the game, and first passing TD of his career.

Then again with under three minutes left in the game, Bryce Vieira reeled in an off-target pass from Buettner, and dodged several tackles to take it all the way down the field for six.

Vieira ended up being the most crucial offensive weapon throughout the game with 92 yards on the ground and 106 through the air, including what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

“I think defence kept us in the game. We made a few mistakes, I made a big mistake at the beginning of the game regarding the fumble, but they kept us in the game, they kept us surviving,” Vieira said.

Next up, the Gee-Gees face down the Guelph Gryphons in another homefield battle.

“This game’s over now, so the next one’s the toughest, that’s all there is to it,” Barresi said. “We have to have that mindset, and we have to have the mindset that you’re never as good as you think when you win, and you’re never as bad as you think when you lose.”

The next game will take place on Sept. 8 at Gee-Gees Field. Grab tickets to the game here.