- It really isn’t surprising that Western and Guelph have the top 2 defenses in the OUA, allowing 13.7 and 15.2 ppg respectively. I mean, they also finished one-two last year with UG holding opponents to a league low 17.4 points per game while the UWO D was next toughest allowing just 18.5 ppg. The more surprising fact is that the Mustangs and the Gryphons have the #1 and #2 scoring offenses in the OUA averaging 54.3 and 42.2 points per game respectively. It’s the Gryphons that provide the surprise. Guelph was 6th in scoring with 31.5 ppg. Western averaged 57.2 ppg in 2013. The Gryphon offense has produced 10.7 more points per game than last year and that is a significant improvement.
- Let’s hope for some good weather tomorrow. Guelph supporters purchased hundreds of season passes and many more tickets have been sold on-line for tomorrow’s big game. I expect Western will bring more fans than our earlier opponents – UofT, Queen’s & Carleton. Dave Easter and his people in the Athletic Department have booked a band to perform and are doing what they can to promote the game. But whether 1,300 or 3,300 fans show up could depend on the weather. We already know that the Gryphons can play well in the rain as they proved that in Ottawa. I hope the possibility [40%] of a miniscule amount of rain [<1mm] doesn’t keep fans from enjoying a great game.
- By the way here is the link to secure tickets for tomorrow’s game. The ten minutes that you can save buying tickets on-line versus lining up for tickets, means ten more minutes you can spend at the pre-game tailgate.
- It appeared injuries could be an issue for this game and they may still be. But purple-clad fans may be glad to hear that several of their star players will be in the lineup. This LFP article – Will Finch ready to fly – tells us QB Finch, Safety Jesse McNair and LB J-G Poulin are all expected back. I fully expect to see RB Rob Farquharson in the starting lineup. But I don’t know the status of Johnny Augustine or Daniel Palmer-Salmon, both of whom suffered apparent ankle injuries against Carleton though the injuries didn’t look to serious. There are a couple of injured players at other positions who will miss the game but I’m not going to share the names because there is a good chance Western isn’t aware of who they are.
- Saturday Morning Update: The Mercury story this morning says nothing about the injuries – Western provides the opposition in latest big game for football Gryphs.
“(Defensive co-ordinator Kevin) MacNeill says it best. Every game is our next most important game, but this really is and not just for this season in terms of getting a bye,” Gryphon head coach Stu Lang said.
The Gryphs are to host the Western Mustangs at Alumni Stadium at 1 p.m. With both teams at 5-1, the winner will have the inside track to a bye in the quarter-finals with one week to go in the regular season.
The hosts are looking at the game as a chance to validate their efforts during the last couple of years.
“Our football program continues to evolve and hopefully it’s evolving upwards,” Lang said. “Games like this are tests, not just for the players but the program. Are we doing the right things? Are we managing to get into that elite level where teams have been, historically, like (McMaster) and Western. For us, it’s a test on different levels.”
- The Mercury story also highlights the fact that … Saturday’s game will be the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game for the Gryphs. It’s also Guelph’s seniors’ game and all of the team’s fourth-year players will be recognized in the pre-game ceremony.
- Finally, I look for some changes on the defense, possibly along the lines of what DC MacNeill did against Western in 2011 with good results.
- Final final-thought, just because I have no more time … the late season date of this game on the schedule and the possibility of a semi-final rematch make this game feel a lot like the 2012 Queen’s game. Playing the semi at home could be a big deal when you’re trying to beat a quality team like Western.