The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks come to town on Labour Day to take on the Gryphons in their home opener. I expect the Golden Hawks to challenge the Gryphons more than the Warriors did last Sunday. The Hawks improved from 1-7 in 2013 to 4-4 last year but I don’t see the Hawks as continuing that dramatic trend. In my opinion, in 2015 the Hawks will be in a battle just to secure a playoff spot. To climb further up the OUA ladder they need more recruiting classes like they brought in this year.
The Hawks do have some elite talent in players like CFL draft pick RB Dillon Campbell and DE Kwaku Boateng. Overall they don’t match up to the Gryphons. It sounds like the Hawks will be without their #1 QB again this week. Backup Eric Morelli did a nice job in his first OUA start but that was against York. I think Morelli will find the Guelph D a lot tougher than York’s – lol. RB Campbell on the other hand didn’t have one of his better days last week against York with “only” 116 yards on 20 carries, but he did extend his consecutive 100-yard rushing game streak. It would be nice to see the Gryphons put an end to that. Watch Laurier’s Week 1 highlights against York here.
My Take: While it should be a lot closer than last week, I still expect the Gryphons to win by 20+ points. Keep in mind … a 33-point differential is the magic number when it comes to OUA tie breakers. Laurier will give us a better measure of how good this team. Execute as well as we did last week on offence and the Golden Hawks will not be able to stop us. Gryphons could score 50 points. I hope to see RB Johnny Augustine start building his own string of consecutive 100-yard games.
I want to see the defense take advantage of Morelli’s inexperience. If the Gryphon D can stuff the run on first down and force the Hawk’s to pass Laurier will be in some trouble. Our DBs as a group are far superior to anything Morelli has faced before. Our D is capable of pulling off a shutout against almost all of the OUA’s middle and lower tier teams. I’m not saying that will happen but the Gryphons D has some very high expectations and goals of their own to meet.
What I really don’t want to see happen is a repeat of last year when Guelph led 36-2 at the half, then took their foot off the pedal. They hung on for a 41-36 win. I’d love to see the Gryphons play three QBs and lots of backups on Monday while keeping the momentum going and reaching that 33-point goal.
The Previews & Other Links:
Gryphons.ca: Labour Day Clash – Gryphons versus Golden Hawks – This week, fifth year senior middle linebacker John Rush returns from injury after having missed the season opener.
LaurierAthletics.ca: (WLU) looks to take down Gryphons in Guelph – Laurier’s front four will need to play a big role in Monday’s contest as they look to get into the Gryphons backfield early and often. Look for Kwaku Boateng of Milton, Ont., who was held without a sack against the Lions, to step up his performance in Week 2.
OUA.ca: OUA.tv Marquee Matchup – Week 2: Laurier Golden Hawks @ Guelph Gryphons – Campbell eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the 10th straight game, finishing the contest with 116 yards on 20 carries. It also marked the 15th time in the last 16 games that he has reached the century mark on the ground.
KW Record: Laurier’s Morelli ready for his big chance
Guelph Mercury: Gryphon offence starts with veteran centre Nesbitt and Scarfone catches on with Gryphon offence
Recent series history: There have been a lot of close games in this series recently. But the Gryphons now have a chance to build a nice little winning streak versus the Golden Hawks. That would be nice to see after the Hawks held the upper hand for the decade prior to that. According to LaurierAthletics.com, Laurier owns an all-time record of 41-16-0 against Guelph dating back to 1963.
2014 – 41-36 Guelph
2013 – 21-7 Guelph
2012 – 22-19 Guelph
2011 – 15-10 WLU
2010 – WLU wins Q-final
2010 – 36-2 WLU
2009 – 21-14 WLU
2008 – 15-13 WLU
2007 – 38-31 Guelph wins OUA semi-final
2007 – 37-27 WLU
Streamed online at OUA.tv