PREVIEW (OUA SEMIS): Mustangs face off against Guelph; Surging Gee-Gees ready to take on Marauders

Mustangs face off against Guelph in OUA semi-finals:

The Western Mustangs made their 2014 post-season debut last Saturday with a 25-10 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks that knocked the purple and gold out of the playoffs and kept the dream of capturing the prestigious Vanier Cup title alive for the Mustangs.

With the quarterfinal win, the Mustangs now advance to the semi-final match-up where they will gear up on the gridiron against the Guelph Gryphons this Saturday, November 8. A must-win battle, the purple and white will look to continue their efforts to defend their Yates Cup title, as well as their hopes of claiming the Vanier Cup – a title that Western hasn’t seen since 1994.

The Mustangs trailed for a large part of last week’s quarterfinal, unable to put up a major score until late in the fourth quarter when Yannick Harou crossed into the Laurier end zone with only two minutes remaining. Harou got the bulk of the carries for the Mustangs last weekend, running the ball 22 times for 162 yards.

Kicker Zack Medeiros helped keep Western in the game, hitting four of his five field goal attempts including one from 49-yards out early in the fourth to give the Mustangs a 15-10 lead.

With quarterback Will Finch out of the line-up due to injury, Stevenson Bone stepped in to lead the Mustangs. Battling high winds, Bone completed just one pass for seven yards by the end of the first, along with two interceptions. As the game continued Bone regrouped, completing nine of his 22 passes for 142 yards while also picking up 59 yards rushing on six carries.

Western’s defence held strong, limiting Laurier quarterback James Fracas to seven completed passes for 36 yards, while also holding top rusher Dillon Campbell to 25 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown.

The Gryphons head into this weekend’s semi-final match-up ready after their second place finish in the OUA standings earned them a first round bye. They closed out the regular season with a 41-36 victory over the Golden Hawks on Saturday, October 25th to finish with a 7-1 regular season record.

Entering off of a bye week the Gryphons should be rested and aiming to repeat the success they had against the Mustangs back on October 18 when they emerged with a 49-46 victory, thanks to a last second field goal from Daniel Ferraro.

Starting quarterback Jazz Lindsey was the driving force in Guelph’s regular season win over Western, completing 34-of-53 passes for a school-record 513 yards passing, with four touchdowns and only one interception. While Lindsey was outstanding on the day, the Mustangs defence virtually shut out the Gryphons running game, holding Guelph to 36 yards rushing. Look for the Mustangs to once again try and limit the ground attack while trying to lock down the Gryphons receivers in the passing game.

Along with the Gryphons potent offence, Western will have to contend with Ferraro in the kicking game. Last time the two teams met Ferraro went 4-5 on field goals, including hitting a pair of 41-yarders, one of which cemented the win for the home side in the final seconds. The kicker led the CIS with 26 field goals this season, connecting on all but four of his kicks, while also adding 27 extra points and nine singles to lead the nation with 114 points scored, just eclipsing Medeiros who finished with 113. With two of the nation’s best kickers in action Saturday’s game could come down to which team’s kicker has the better day.

Saturday’s game time is set for 1:00 p.m. in Guelph. Fans can watch all the action live on, or listen live on CHRW radio and on Newstalk 1290 CJBK with Tom McConnell and legendary Mustangs coach Larry Haylor calling all the action.

Photo credit: Gary Jubenville

Source: Tony Von Richter, Western Mustangs Sports Information

Guelph versus Western 2014 OUA Semi-FInals

No. 5 Gryphons host No. 7 Mustangs in OUA semi-final

Guelph, Ont. – If their regular season matchup was any indication, this Saturday’s OUA semi-final clash between Guelph and Western should once again be the must-watch game of the week in CIS football.  On Saturday afternoon (Nov. 8), the Gryphons and Mustangs will battle for a spot in the 107th Yates Cup when they meet up at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.  Kickoff is set for 1pm.

For a third straight season, the Gryphons finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and secured a first round bye in the OUA playoffs.  Of those seven victories, none were more impressive than the last-second 49-46 victory over the Western Mustangs in week 8 of the OUA season.  The excitement of that victory was somewhat tempered by the very real possibility that the Mustangs and Gryphons could renew acquaintances again in just a few weeks’ time. Sure enough, here we are.  Round two.  This time, it is win-or-go-home.

There is no denying that the biggest storyline heading into this game revolves around Western’s quarterback situation.  2013 OUA MVP Will Finch (Burlington, Ont.) is out after suffering a concussion versus Windsor in Western’s regular season finale.  In his place steps Stevenson Bone (Toronto, Ont.), who in Western’s OUA quarter-final victory over Laurier completed just nine of his 22 passes, was intercepted twice and sacked five times.  Without a doubt, Finch being out of the lineup is a huge loss for the Mustangs, but the backup quarterback for the defending Yates Cup champions will still be surrounded by plenty of talent.  Stevenson Bone will have the option to hand it off to either, the nation’s leading rusher in 2012, Garret Sanvido (Vancouver, BC) or, third year standout Yannick Harou (Gatineau, QC) who last season racked up 12 touchdowns (including four in the playoffs).  The Western receiving core is deep with a pair of 2013 First Team All-Canadians in Brian Marshall (London, Ont.) and George Johnson (London, Ont.), as well as the 2013 Yates Cup MVP in Matt Uren (London, Ont.).   Protecting Bone is a solid Western offensive line that stands at an average of 6-foot-4, 293 pounds.

For the Gryphons, the quarterback situation has been a bright spot in 2014.  Now in his fourth year, Jazz Lindsey is enjoying his best season under centre for the Gryphons.  With 13 touchdown passes on the season to just three interceptions, Lindsey has not only made some big plays, he has also done a tremendous job of limiting turnovers.  Earlier this season versus the Mustangs, Jazz had a career day throwing the ball, finishing with 34 completions on 53 attempts for 514 yards – all single-game school records.  With some cold and windy conditions in the forecast for Saturday, the difference this time around between the Gryphons and Mustangs could very well come down to which team has the most success running the ball.  Fortunately for the Gryphons, their fifth year running back Robert Farquharson (Niagara Falls, Ont.) thrives on days like this.

Farquharson’s hard, down-hill running style has helped him to become one of the most productive and reliable ball carriers in the CIS.  In six games this season, Farquharson finished fifth in the country with 108.8 rushing yards per game.  He will be up against a big, physical Western defence that is anchored by two All-Star calibre defensive linemen in Ricky Osei-Kusi (Brampton, Ont.) and Daryl Waud (Hamilton, Ont.).  The Mustangs sit second in the CIS allowing just 83 rushing yards per game.  While it may be clichéd, the battle up front may be where this game is won or lost if Saturday’s forecast does indeed make things a bit sloppy.  When the Gryphons do decide to put the ball in the air, they have two play-making receivers on the outside and in the slot in A’Dre Fraser (Halifax, Ont.) and Alex Charette (St. Catherine’s, Ont.).  Those two alone combined for 398 yards receiving last time out versus Western and it is safe to say that they will garner plenty of attention for the Mustang secondary on Saturday afternoon.

It is also safe to say that the Gryphons would not be 7-1 this season if not for some outstanding play from the special teams units.  Ryan Nieuwesteeg (Niagara Falls, Ont.) and Lucas Spagnuolo (Grimsby, Ont.) have developed into two of the top returners in the conference.  Kicker Daniel Ferraro (Mississauga, Ont.) set a CIS record with 26 made field goals during the regular season and also did a tremendous job for the Gryphons on both kickoffs and punts as well.

Defensively, the scoreboard in the last two games has not reflected how well this unit has played this season.   The Gryphons rank in the top five nationally in both interceptions (12) and fumble recoveries (11) and will be well rested heading into Saturday’s game.

The last time these two teams met, it took everything the Gryphons had to come out on top of a 49-46 thriller.  Another total team effort will be required on Saturday if the Gryphons are to de-throne the reigning champions and return to the Yates Cup for the second time in the last three seasons.
Kickoff is set for 1pm.

For those unable to make it to Alumni Stadium on Saturday, the game will be webcast on

Source: Guelph Gryphons Sports Information

Gee-Gees 2014 OUA Semi-FInal

Surging Gee-Gees Ready to Take On Marauders in OUA Semifinal

A surging uOttawa Gee-Gees squad travels to Hamilton Saturday for their first trip to the OUA semifinals in four years. They’ll go head-to-head with the OUA regular season champion and CIS no. 3 McMaster Marauders.

The Gee-Gees are the only team to defeat the Marauders this season when, in the last week of the season, uOttawa took the ‘do’ in the ‘do-or-die’ scenario. They came out on top 38-18 at home in order to get into the playoffs. 

 “It’s hard to take anything really from that game when you watch the video,” says head coach Jamie Barresi. “You kind of just question how much Mac put forward in comparison to other games. You have to be very careful to expect a similar game.”

Ever since Carleton robbed the Gee-Gees of the Panda Game win on a last second Hail Mary, uOttawa has won four of the past five games, including two must-win games. This has propelled the Gee-Gees to no. 10 of the CIS Top Ten for the last two weeks. 

 “We’ve basically had two playoff games in two weeks,” comments Barresi. “There’s been some things that have improved within our group. The focus has been really good. It’s always been good, but the fact that they’re making fewer mistakes is a positive thing. A real positive is the fact we’re taking less penalties. We were one of the highest penalized teams in the CIS. But in these last two games we’ve cut it in half.”

uOttawa and McMaster have met in the playoffs twice in the last six seasons with the Marauders disposing of the Gee-Gees both times in the OUA quarterfinals.

A very motivated uOttawa group is seeing elevated offensive production, putting up 46 points in last week’s OUA quarterfinal at Windsor and 38 points the week before. For his contribution, receiver Ian Stewart was named OUA offensive player of the week. He had 107 receiving yards and one touchdown against Windsor.

Barresi thinks the output his offence has shown is indicative of the talent on the roster.

 “This is a really good group,” he says about his team. “But to put it in perspective watching Windsor, I think they really had a tough game against Western the prior week. I don’t know if that was a factor. It looked like they were suffering. Mac, on the other hand, they’ve had a week off. Their injuries are going to be recouped a bit I bet, they’ve had lots of rest so they’ll be a different team.”

The Gee-Gees defence will also look to create pressure on the quarterback as they did in week nine against McMaster, sacking their QBs five times.

Kickoff is 1 p.m. Saturday at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton with the winner moving on to face either Guelph or Western in the Yates Cup. The game can be seen live on

“Mac will definitely be fired up and ready to go in their place. Our guys will be ready too. They’re excited. Mac is one of the premier venues in the country.”

Photo credit: Chantal Hupe

Source:  Ottawa Gee-Gees Sports Information


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