Inability to rush the ball among key problems facing Gee-Gees
On Saturday, Sept. 16, the University of Ottawa men’s football team travelled to Hamilton to take on the McMaster University Marauders with a perfect record in their back pocket. The battle of the nationally eighth-ranked Gee-Gees and the ninth-ranked Marauders was the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) matchup of the week, and the hype was real.
The Gee-Gees defense has kept the team in games all year, and early on they showed why. Third-year defensive-back Jackson Bennett picked off the McMaster pivot and returned in 16 yards, demonstrating the Gees’ strong defensive ability. The Gees had good field position following the turnover, but failed to do anything with it, going two-and-out.
McMaster also went two-and-out, but after a good punt return by second-year wide-receiver Kalem Beaver and two flags against the Marauders, the Gees started their drive on the home team’s 19-yard line. A penalty and two forced quarterback runs had the Gee-Gees settle for a field-goal, as they missed a huge opportunity to put seven on the board.
The Gees got another point from the foot of fifth-year kicker Lewis Ward, who scored a rouge. The starting play caller, fifth-year quarterback Victor Twynstra, went down late in the first quarter with his second injury of the season, and forced rookie quarterback Alex Lavric back into game action.
Both teams went back and forth with no offensive momentum until the Marauders were driving at the end of the second half. The home team started at their own 51 and moved the ball to the Gee-Gees 19-yard line with three passing plays, and looked like they were on the verge of scoring. Third-year defensive back Cody Cranston broke the momentum with a great interception in the end zone with two minutes to play in the half.
Four plays and two long passes combined with 25 yards in penalties by the Gee-Gees brought the Marauders to the Gees six-yard line with 11:33 to play in the third quarter. The McMaster pivot threw a nice ball to the back corner of the end zone to give the Marauders a 6–4 lead.
After the Gees went three-and-out on their first three drives of the half, the Marauders built on their lead. Two big runs and a long pass for the McMaster quarterback brought them to the Gees goal line, where they punched it in from a yard out.
Following a great punt by the McMaster punter and a Gee-Gees penalty, the U of O started at their own nine-yard line. Following two plays that resulted in losses, the Gees ran another play that ended up being a safety.
After a drive for each team, the Marauders had the ball on the Gee-Gees 43-yard line. Following a first down run by the McMaster running back, the Marauders’ quarterback threw a 31-yard bomb over the top to make it 22–4 with 10:12 to play.
Soon after, the Gee-Gees offense finally started showing some promise with a number of great passes from Lavric. However, the Gees had to settle for another field goal after two of Lavric’s passes were incomplete, making it 22–7 Mcmaster.
Another safety with 25 seconds remaining put salt in the wound for the Gees, bringing the final score to 24–7 and handing them their first loss of the season.
The offensive woes for the Gees were highlighted all night. The Gee-Gees could only manage 27 yards rushing and went their third game of the year without scoring an offensive touchdown.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees will take on the University of Windsor Lancers on Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. at Gee-Gees field. Tickets can be purchased from the Gee-Gees’ website.