Gee-Gees receiver Carter Matheson makes a leap for a deep pass. Photo: Parker Townes.

U of O improves to 3-1 following 42-16 victory over Lions

It was a crisp, cool afternoon at Gee-Gees Field on Sept. 22 for the University of Ottawa football team’s fourth game of the season.

The Gee-Gees entered the game 2-1, failing to make the U Sports Top 10 power rankings despite defeating the Guelph Gryphons two weeks prior.

Although York did trouble the Gee-Gees early, it proved to be a big win for the Garnet and Grey, who eventually came together to defeat the smaller Toronto squad 42-16.

“Yes, I’m gratified that we were able to pull away from these guys, that’s what we expect. But we could’ve been a lot better, and that’s what I’m always looking for,” said U of O head coach Jamie Barresi.

The game started out fast paced when first-year quarterback Sawyer Buettner connected with receiver Kalem Beaver for a 52-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 on the Gee-Gees’ second play from scrimmage. It was the deep-threat receiver’s first touchdown of the season.

“You know, we have a great offensive system. It takes some time, it’s a complex system, but like I said, it’s a real good one,” Buettner said. “When you’ve got playmakers like Kalem on that first offensive play of the game, it never hurts to go deep and score a touchdown like that. We got off to a pretty good start.”

The Lions’ offence would strike back, troubling the Gee-Gees after two strong offensive drives in the first quarter.

The second of those ended in a touchdown strike from Lions quarterback Brett Hunchak to his brother Colton Hunchak to give them a 10-7 lead.

The Gees defence, hungry to have that one back, would make the defensive play of the game on the Lions’ next drive, when cornerback Jamie Harry intercepted Hunchak’s pass and took it to the house to put the U of O back in command.

“My teammate Rashad Spooner, he did a good job, so he made my job super easy,” Harry said. “I just came down and made the play.”

The defence would get another interception on York’s next drive to set up a Dawson Odei touchdown.

The Gee-Gees recorded three interceptions in the first half alone, halting the Lions’ momentum at several stops.

They were not done there, intercepting Hunchak four times in total throughout the game, doubling their total from previous games this season.

“This kid is a really good quarterback, and he’s not like a guy that we’ve faced in the last couple of weeks,” Barresi said. “This guy can throw it around. He’s an intelligent player, he’s an experienced quarterback. Now, saying all that, our defence did a few things there and got him. I know he was a little bit confused and not quite certain what he was looking at. He threw it into coverage a couple times, and it cost him.”

The Gee-Gees started to really pull away in the second half after a bomb from Buettner to Dylan St. Pierre, and yet another pick-six to make it a 20-point game.

At this point the Gee-Gees started to make some swaps, allowing players like fourth-year running back Donald Shaw to get some carries and make some big plays.

Gee-Gees second-year quarterback Alex Lavric would also come back into the game in the fourth quarter, making his first return to the gridiron since the 18-11 win against the McMaster Marauders on Sept. 2.

It made no difference, as now the deficit was too large to overcome for the Lions, and the Gee-Gees came away with their largest victory of the season.

With the win, the Gee-Gees improve to 3-1 in regular season play, with just one week to go before the historic 50th Panda Game against the Carleton Ravens.

“They’re going to be very excited to play. We want to get after these guys, and you know they’re a good team, and we’re anxious to get going with these guys,” Barresi said.

The Panda Game will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sept. 29 at TD Place. Tickets are already sold out, but fear not! You can watch the live broadcast on OUA.TV, and you also have a chance to win two free tickets the Fulcrum are giving away! More details here.