Week 7 Preview: Guelph at Laurier

Ryan Nieuwesteeg returned a punt for a TD in 2014, the last time Guelph played at Laurier. It doesn't sound like Nieuwesteeg will be able to play tomorrow.

Ryan Nieuwesteeg returned a punt for a TD in 2014, the last time Guelph played at Laurier. It doesn’t sound like Nieuwesteeg will be able to play tomorrow.

Laurier comes into the game with a 5-1 record. That makes the Golden Hawks one of 4 teams tied for 1st in the OUA. They have a shot at finishing 7-1 and hosting an OUA Semi-final. Worst case for the G-Hawks would look to be 6-2 season.

That’s not bad for a team that was 1-7 back in 2013, which means they finished behind York, UofT and Windsor. Laurier was 4-4 and made the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. Their biggest accomplishment in either of those seasons was their upset of McMaster in last year’s OUA Q-Final.

The most notable victory so far in 2016 for the G-Hawks is their 17-16 win over a pretty good Carleton team.

My Take: 

I watched most of their Week 7 on Thursday night. I was impressed with their execution on offense. Aside from a few penalties I thought they were excellent. Having a veteran offensive line helps.

All year, and most of last year as well, the G-Hawks have been impressive in their ability NOT to play down to the level of their opponents. They have absolutely crushed York, Waterloo and UofT.

This game will be a real test for the Gryphons. Given the way the Gryphons have played in most of their 2016 games it is hard to be 100% confident of a Guelph victory. We know that Laurier struggles to execute on offense when they face a team with top tier talent. I still think that Guelph is in that category.

If  you take tomorrow’s Gryphon depth chart for the game for the game at face value, they will be fielding a lineup with 11 true freshman, first year dressers or new Gryphons in starting positions. That’s not ideal but I think Guelph still has a good shot to win this game because I like the matchup of Guelph’s defense against Laurier’s offense.

I think Guelph can hold Laurier well below their season rushing and scoring averages while they can handle the deep passing threat that makes up most of what there is of a passing game. It should be a close game.

Other previews & media links:

Gryphons.ca – Gryphons face No. 7 Laurier Friday in Waterloo

Laurier Athletics – #7 Laurier hosts Guelph for School Day Game

After clinching a playoff spot against the Toronto Varsity Blues last week, the No. 7 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (5-1) will be looking to improve their playoff positioning when they host the defending Yates Cup Champions, the Guelph Gryphons (2-4), at their first-ever School Day Game on Friday morning.

– close to 4000 elementary school children from across the Waterloo Region will be in attendance at Friday’s game

KW Record – Gryphomns ignore urgency in Laurier matchup

The Gryphons shed 15 starters from last season — including last year’s OUA defensive player of the year, all-Canadian John Rush and fellow linebacker Curtis Newton — and 25 members of their dress roster. But they refuse to cite that as justification.

“We believe in the guys we have. We expect to see the next guys step up,” said Guelph’s interim head coach and former Golden Hawk linebacker and coach Kevin MacNeill.

Recent series history: There have been a lot of close games in this series over the last decade but the Gryphons have built a nice little winning streak with 4 consecutive victories. That is a positive change after the Hawks held the upper hand for the decade prior to that. Laurier leads the series with a record of 41-17-0 against Guelph dating back to 1963.

2015 – 30-19 Guelph
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

Media Coverage: There are 3 broadcast options:
1. Streamed on-line at OUA.tv
2. The game will be broadcast on channel 368 for Rogers customers
3. WLU also has an on-line radio broadcast via their campus radio station

 

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