I don’t think it would be too hard to make a case that Saturday’s game against Western is the biggest game so far this year for the Gryphons. The winner gains a big edge in playoff positioning. [Just the fact that we are talking about that is a very good sign.] In spite of currently being behind Guelph [4-1] in the standings, the Mustangs [3-2] are ranked higher [#7 vs #9] and favoured to win by most observers. Certainly Western did give McMaster a much more competitive game last week than the Gryphons did in the season opener.
The Marauders are just one of four common opponents the two teams have played. While the two teams’ results against Windsor and Waterloo were roughly equivalent, Western beat Toronto much more decisively, 62-10. I’m not too concerned about margins of victory. I like the way the Gryphons are playing in important areas. Many of our problem areas are correctable and explainable as growing pains with youth in important positions. Just look at the difference in turnovers versus Laurier one week after the Gryphons lost five against UofT. The number of penalties taken has to be an area where we see significant improvement if we are going to beat teams like Western and Queen’s.
For this team the season opener was a long time ago. I believe the Gryphons have improved a great deal. We haven’t played a great game yet, but I believe Guelph is ready to compete with Western. I said as much before the season began. With a very good effort the Gryphons can win this game.
The series since 2007: Guelph has had competitive games with Western in recent years but the only regular season victory goes back to 2007. Guelph has lost three playoff games to Western Ontario during that time including the 2007 Yates Cup.
2011 – 33-29 Western
2010 – 15-8 Western
2009 – 41-39 Western
2008 – 47-16 Western
2007 – 31-17 Guelph
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The UWO Mustangs will be without several players when they step on the new turf of Alumni Stadium Saturday. Most of the attention has focused on their quarterback situation but that is not their only injury.
From the London Free Press:
… lost in the shuffle of starter Donnie Marshall’s ankle injury and back-up quarterback Will Finch’s appendectomy, was an injury that is just as serious in its own way as what’s befallen the men under centre.
In the second quarter of the Ontario university football game between the Mustangs and McMaster Marauders Saturday, defensive back Aaron Handsor was running at full speed and tried to make a cut.
He felt something pop in his knee and he went down immediately.
“The ACL is gone but the good thing is they don’t think there’s anything else,” Handsor said. “They are just waiting for the swelling to go down and then they’ll do surgery.”
Links to LFP stories:
Torn ACL end Handsor’s year – The Mustangs lose a 5th year DB.
Will Finch may still start at QB for the Mustangs despite appendectomy – The idea that Finch could play this week after surgery Monday night and with stitches in his abdomen is absolutely ridiculous. I say that as someone who had an appendectomy as a teenager. I know surgery has come a long way since the mid 1970’s but I just can’t see why a coach would put his player at risk.
Western Mustangs face QB woes after 2nd-stringer Will Finch’s emergency appendectomy . I’m surprised that a reporter who covers OUA football is oblivious to the fact that Guelph no longer has a grass field.
The Guelph take on this situation, as presented in the Mercury,
The Guelph Gryphons aren’t about to change their plans for the Western Mustangs, no matter who’s at quarterback for the visitors.
The Mustangs are expected to start third-string pivot Blake Huggins with usual starter Donnie Marshall out with an ankle injury and backup Will Finch having undergone an appendectomy Monday.
“We have to prepare for all options,” Gryphon defensive co-ordinator Kevin MacNeill said. “With Donnie getting hurt last game, we’re preparing for a quarterback who’d be a first-time starter. In terms of it being a second- or third-string first-time starter, the game plan is built around that.
Full story – Gryphs don’t change plans for Mustangs
Canada Football Chat’s CIS Odds: No. 7 Western (3-2) at No. 9 Guelph (4-1) Western (-4)