♦ The 2018 season has been a breakthrough year of sorts for the Ottawa program. Their 6-2 record and 2nd place finish in the OUA standings is their best since they were 7-1 and tied for 1st in 2010.
♦ This is the second consecutive year that the Gryphons head to the Nation’s Capital to take on the GeeGees in a playoff game. Last year it was a Quarter-Final match-up that the Gryphons dominated 30-8.
♦ This is the third game in row between these teams to be played at Ottawa’s GeeGees Field. Guelph won the 2017 Q-Final and lost in Week 3 this season.
♦ The victor tomorrow will play in the 111th Yates Cup next Saturday, November 10. For Guelph it would be a return to the game after a two-year absence and their fourth appearance in 6 years. It would mark Ottawa’s first appearance since 2010.
♦ The Guelph roster has probably never had as many players from the National Capital Region as there are this year. Most of the contingent are first- and second-year Gryphons. At least 7 dressed during the season and 5 will play tomorrow.
♦ This game is another Top 10 battle. In Week 3 Guelph was ranked 8th and Ottawa 9th. In the latest poll Ottawa is 5th and Guelph 6th.
Game Previews & Links
Gryphons.ca – Gryphon Postseason Preview
GeeGees.ca – SMH! The last story about the football team on their own website was posted on October 13. It is the only story in the entire month of October, prime football season.
In The Huddle by Mike Hogan – Semifinal Previews
OUA.ca – Semifinal 55-man Roster
Recent Series History
2018 – 12-10 Ottawa
2017 – 30 – 8 Guelph [OUA Q-Final]
2017 – 24-21 (2OT) Ottawa
2016 – 31–28 (OT) Ottawa
2015 – 48 – 26 Guelph
2014 – 42 – 7 Guelph
2011 – 35 – 8 Ottawa
2010 – 54 – 11 Ottawa
2009 – 50 – 26 Ottawa
2008 – 42 – 37 Ottawa [OUA Q-Final]
2007 – 31 – 23 Ottawa
I see this game going one of two ways. Either Guelph wins decisively as they did in last year’s playoff game and in 2014 and 2015. Or, it is a close game, competitive until the late in the contest. Ottawa has held the upper hand in close games in recent years, winning by 2 points once and in overtime twice.
Ottawa enjoyed a bye last week. They’ll be rested and a little healthier as a result. GeeGees QB Sawyer Buettner was reportedly playing with some nagging injuries in Week 8 and 9 so the rest will help him. As for Guelph, they have had a better season injury-wise than the previous three years. And with the momentum of a 5-game winning streak I don’t think they’d want a bye right now.
The Guelph offense has looked really strong since the Gryphons came off their own bye back at Thanksgiving. However, that success has come against two of the weaker defenses in the conference. Ottawa’s D will present a much greater challenge. Their D-Line is solid and the backfield is talented and experienced.
I think you will see Ottawa commit to stopping the run and dare the Gryphons to pass. I think the key will be Theo Landers. Guelph will either need to complete more than a few big passes when uO is bringing pressure or Theo will have to make some big plays with his feet. With the productivity of J-P Cimankinda the past three games I really hope to see Theo exploit the attention J-P draws. We will need to see more play action and read-option plays where Theo pulls the ball to run or pass. But preferably run. I say that in part because our O-Line is playing very well.
The good news is that I think 25 points will be enough to win the game. I think the Gryphon defense is much improved since the Week 3 game. I think/hope we’ll see them bring more pressure and produce some turnovers. I think it will be easier to focus on stopping the GeeGees run game without Bryce Vieira. He is a player who always scared me.
We’re hitting the road for Ottawa about 5 a.m. in order to be there for the pre-game tailgate party. From what I’ve heard we should have a good turnout in the parking lot outside GeeGees Field on Lees Avenue. Parking there is restricted to people with parking permits but please join us even if you’re parking elsewhere and arriving via shuttle bus.