Guelph made a statement with a Leave No Doubt, 42-7 victory over the GeeGees. The game was played in steady rain and cool, but not cold, temperatures. The Gryphons certainly did not start off hot. A blocked FG on the opening possession, 2 fumbles and 2 dropped passes in the opening quarter kept the game close even though the Gryphons had an edge in the physical play from the opening kick-off.
Speaking of kick-offs, Ryan Nieuwesteeg should be in the running for OUA Special Teams Player of the Week again this week with his performance yesterday. He brought the opening KO back 59 yards. On the day he averaged 41 yards per KO return and 15 yards per punt return [8 for 121]. What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet is Nieuwesteeg’s 126-yard TD return of a missed uO FG in the 4th Q. The play was nullified by an illegal substitution penalty. In fact, the penalty led to a 14-point swing in the score and cost the Gryphon D a likely shutout. Instead of the Gryphons going up 46-0, the GeeGees got a 1st down on the Guelph 20 and proceeded to score their only points of the game.
Things on the defense looked more “normal” from my perspective. For the first time this season DC MacNeill had them playing primarily in a 4-3 front. John Rush was back at his Mac LB position and led the team in tackles – 6 solo, 2 assists – while fellow LB Curtis Newton was second with 4 solo, 3 assists. The D contained the GeeGees offense with only 42 total tackles registered, so no individual needed to put up double-digit tackle numbers like Iain Hutchison last week. The D only gave up 228 total yards with half of it coming in the 4th Q.
The defensive line had their best game of the season. They were more than the uO O-Line could handle. This new group is starting to look somewhat reminiscent of last year’s version. Cam Walker was outstanding. He made one of my favourite plays of the game … the GeeGees gambled on 3rd-&-inches deep in their end, they ran an option play at DE Walker, the QB & RB got outside cleanly and were 2-on-1 against the unblocked DE, Walker overwhelmed the QB so quickly it didn’t even look like he considered pitching the ball … the GeeGees lost 3 yards and turned the ball over to Guelph who scored 2 plays later to put the Gryphons up 17-0.
Most of the D-line reps were taken by Walker, DT Djordje Gavrilovic, DT Donnie Egerter and freshman DE Charlie Taggart. DT Daniel Horta and DE Reza Shayani were part of the rotation. Other freshmen starting on D were DBs Nick Parisotto and Royce Metchie. Parisotto came up with two INTs and 3 Pass Break-ups. Iain Hutchison had one of each.
If you think Guelph’s offensive stats aren’t very impressive then you weren’t at the game. Fact #1 – it poured rain for five hours in Ottawa, finally letting up only in the final ten minutes of the game. Receivers on both teams dropped passes. Running backs/quarterbacks fumbled the ball a combined six times. You could see the footballs had become waterlogged as the game progressed just based on the trajectory and distance of the punts. And many of the shotgun and longs snaps.
Fact #2 – Jazz Lindsey had an excellent game at QB. He had the best completion percentage [37 %] of any of the four QBs who played. While that number may not look impressive, he had 5 or 6 well-thrown balls dropped, but I can’t even get too upset with the receivers given the conditions. Late in the 1st Q James Ingram dropped a pass in the red zone. The very next play Jazz went back to him and Ingram hauled in a 25-yard pass deep in the end zone to open the scoring. I also loved the way Jazz ran the ball. I’ve said before I would like to see him average 50 rushing yards a game. He had 57 very strategic yards [& a TD] yesterday.
His ball fakes were things of beauty many times. Combine that with improved O-Line play and a solid running game, and our play-action / read-option passes had the uO defense fooled many times. Rob Farquharson looked strong and healthy with 129 yards on 22 carries. Another favourite play of mine was a draw play that Farq took wide
only to be tackled by All-Canadian DT Ettore Latanzio after a short gain then broke what looked like a sure tackle to pick up an additional 10-15 yards. All three RBs caught a pass – Farquharson, Johnny Augustine and Rob Carnegie. Carnegie scored his first OUA TD with his goal-line grab. Augustine’s 22-yard reception was a well set-up screen pass. I would love to see us throwing more screen passes like that.
On the O-Line it looked like Zach Bader-Shamai went down with a possible sprained ankle in the second quarter. Freshman Andrew Pickett played the rest of the game at LG. Steve Mburanumwe played LT throughout the 4th Q. Without a doubt the OL group had their best game of the season. A’dre Fraser was the most productive receiver with 3 catches for 62 yards. He was close to making a couple more 20+ yard plays.
* * *
If you refer back to my game preview comments then you’ll know why I feel vindicated by what I saw on the field yesterday. The Gryphons did prove that they are a cut above the OUA’s second tier teams. After the GeeGees win in Kingston last week a lot of CIS fans jumped on their bandwagon. For example, 20 of the 27 people who prognosticated on the Guelph-Ottawa game on cisfootball.org picked the GeeGees. Even McMaster Head Coach Stefan Ptaszek seemed to assume Ottawa would likely win. I would have expected a more astute assessment of his OUA competitors than he offered the Hamilton Spectator two days ago …
Mac is keeping an eye on the 2-0 Ottawa Gee Gees.
“They could very well be 7-0 when we go into Ottawa on Week 9, because they don’t play Western this year,” Ptaszek said.