U of O fails to score against top-ranked Mustangs
It was the OUA Marquee Matchup of the Week, and possibly the season, as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees faced off against the top-ranked Western Mustangs.
Both teams were coming off winning streaks. While Western came in undefeated this entire season, the U of O was undefeated at home.
While the Gee-Gees had home field advantage on the cold, windy afternoon on Oct. 13, it wasn’t enough to stop the dominant Mustangs, who rolled to a commanding 33-0 win, blanking the U of O for the first time this season.
“I mean the defence was doing fairly well, it’s just our offence, we can’t let that stuff happen to us,” Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi said regarding his team’s lack of offence throughout the game. “We’ve got to go out and play these guys tough. Anyway, we’ve got to be tougher.”
Early on, the U of O tried to show it would not be a team to run all over, intercepting Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant on his first pass attempt of the game.
A few drives later, the Gee-Gees made another huge defensive stop, preventing them from scoring from short yardage.
Despite this, it was the UWO who would score first, after the Garnet and Grey decided to play it conservative, conceding a safety.
The first major lapse defensively for the Gees came early in the second quarter following a huge 88-yard touchdown run from Alex Taylor to put the Mustangs up 9-0.
The Garnet and Grey got their best scoring opportunity in the first half following a 54-yard punt return from Kalem Beaver that brought them down to the 18 of Western.
Unfortunately , Gee-Gees quarterback Sawyer Buettner fumbled the ball away on the very next play, halting the momentum there.
They would head into halftime with no points on the board, albeit with a manageable 12-point deficit to surmount.
“Western had a big play, but we had to bounce back from that, so we were fine at halftime,” Beaver said. “12-0 is nothing. We knew we had to bounce back from that, so we were alright.”
In the second half, the Mustangs really began to pull away, following another huge touchdown run from Taylor.
Taylor was without a doubt the player of the game for Western, with two huge touchdown runs to lead the offence, gaining over 200 yards in the process.
With this, he also became the Mustangs’ all-time leading rusher.
Meanwhile, the Gee-Gees failed to put hardly any offence together, racking up just 181 yards of total offence versus Western’s 471.
“Well, we need to control things up front a little better. We were prepared for all their blitzes, everything like that. We knew what was coming, we can’t let our quarterback be on his back,” Barresi said. “When the ball’s delivered, we’ve got to make a play.”
With the loss, the U of O falls to 5-2, but still remains second in the OUA conference.
The Mustangs keep on rolling to 7-0 and remain in a league of their own at the top of the national rankings.
The Gee-Gees will now travel on the road to Kingston for their final game of the regular season against the Queen’s Gaels on Oct. 20.
“We basically had the season broken up into quarters, and this is the fourth quarter here, and these two games are really critical,” Barresi said. “The Carleton and Toronto games were a big hump, and now this one coming up is the second part of this quarter, and it’s a huge thing.”