Hawk Eye View – Week Eight

Joshua Davis

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks appear to have gotten their swagger back. After opening the season with a 38-21 victory at York, the Golden Hawks have gone on lose their next three games with losses to both the Western Mustangs (59-9) and the previously-winless Windsor Lancers (22-18) on Homecoming weekend.

Since those tough defeats, it appears as though the Hawks have turned things around, thrashing inter-city rival Waterloo Warriors 42-0. Last Friday night, the Hawks faced the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a game that carried significant playoff implications. On paper, the match-up appeared pretty even, with both teams coming into Friday night’s game with identical 2-3 records. The Hawks were able to come away with a much needed win though.

Looking forward to this week:

Coming off Friday night’s huge win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Golden Hawks will welcome the 6th ranked McMaster Marauders (5-1) to University Stadium on Saturday at 1:00PM. The Marauders are coming off a dominant 55-7 home win against the Waterloo Warriors.

Marauders to Watch For:

McMaster QB Asher Hastings:
Hastings comes into this week’s game ranked first in the CIS with 25 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Hastings has also thrown for 1,935 yards while averaging 322 passing yards per game. This will be a tough test for the Golden Hawk defensive to say the least.

One of the most important match-ups of the game will be the Laurier defensive line vs. Hastings and the Marauder offensive line. Laurier will need to get some pressure on Hastings if they want to have any shot at winning this game.

OUA media guide cover boy and Golden Hawk defensive end Kwaku Boateng has had a quiet year thus far with just 1.0 sack through six games. While teams have keyed-in on Boateng, he will need to find a way to get pressure on Hasting’s this Saturday.

McMaster WR’s Danny Vandervoot and Dan Petermann:
Danny Vandervoot and Dan Petermann have both had monster seasons for the Marauders through six games.

Vandervoot leads the CIS with nine receiving touchdowns, while fellow teammate Dan Petermann is tied for second with six. To say that the Golden Hawk secondary will have their hands full this weekend is a bit of an understatement.

The Golden Hawks are hoping to get speedy corner Will Pitt-Doe back for the game, as Pitt-Doe sat out week six with an ankle injury. Although the Hawks pass defense looked good against Ottawa last week, they still gave up some big plays down field. Pitt-Doe’s speed will help the Hawks defend against the deep ball.

Golden Hawks to Watch for:

Laurier Running Game:
Fifth-year running back Dillon Campbell has been on a tear as of late. The Golden Hawks’ rusher comes into this week’s game with 862 yards on the ground – which is just four yards shy of current CIS leader Jahvari Bennett of the Carleton Ravens. Campbell is averaging 143 rushing yards per game and has scored five times this season. A healthy dose of “DC” is going to be a major key to success for the Golden Hawks this week. Campbell’s smash-mouth style of running wears defenses down and opens up the play-action pass down field.

Although Campbell has battled several minor injuries this season, expect to see another heavy workload this week. The Marauder defense is currently ranked fifth in the country against the run, allowing only 100 yards per game. Laurier running backs Eric Guiltinan and Darian Waite will also be relied on, as Head Coach Michael Faulds has more recently used a running back-by-committee backfield to relieve some of Campbell’s workload.

Guiltinan is quietly having a nice season for the Hawks, averaging five yards per carry – including ten touches for 47 yards in Laurier’s win last week. Darian Waite also seen an increased role this season; rushing 30 times while picking up 140 yards. The change of pace back had another good showing against Ottawa, picking up 39 yards on just six carries.

The tandem of Waite and Guiltinan is very important to the success of the Golden Hawk offense. Having two productive back-ups allows Campbell to take a breather and come back in to the game with a fresh set of legs.

Golden Hawk Secondary:
The Hawks’ secondary will have their hands full on Saturday afternoon. The Marauder passing attack, which currently ranks fifth in the CIS, will look to do damage against Laurier’s 11th ranked passing defense.

Laurier defensive backs Will Pitt-Doe and Tanner Philip are amongst the league leaders in pass breakups this season. Pitt-Doe is tied for second in the country with six breakups, while Philip is tied for fourth with five.

A key player who has emerged as a solid OUA corner this season is Malcolm Thompson. The second-year cornerback is coming off a rookie season that ended before it began in 2014, due to a torn ACL Thompson has recorded two interceptions and a forced fumble through the team’s six games this season. The Golden Hawks secondary is going to need to force some turnovers and avoid giving up big plays on Saturday afternoon … and these three guys will all need to step-up to the plate and deliver.

Recipe for 4-3:
Stay disciplined: The Hawks will have to keep their emotions in check and stay disciplined in a game where they might clinch a playoff spot with a victory.

Penalties happen in football, but personal foul calls can (and should) be avoided. Whether it is roughing the passer, a late hit out of bounds or leading with the helmet, the Hawks’ defense cannot afford to beat themselves. With all of the talent that the Marauders have on the offensive side of the ball, the Golden Hawks cannot take penalties that keeps McMaster’s unit on the field.

Feed the beast:
As simple and obvious as it sounds, the Golden Hawks will have to continue to get the ball into the hands of their best player: Dillon Campbell. The Hawks’ offensive line has opened some big holes for the All-Canadian to run through all season long. They will need to win their battles at the line of scrimmage and let D.C. do his thing.

Running backs Darian Waite and Eric Guiltinan will also need to carry the load when Campbell comes off the field.

Pressure, pressure, pressure:
The Golden Hawk defence needs to get some pressure on McMaster quarterback Asher Hastings, and it begins with Kwaku Boateng, Asante Mizan and Emerson Gourdet winning their battles at the line of scrimmage. If the Laurier pass rush can get to Hastings, it could force him to make some poor decisions. As they say, the best pass defence is a good pass rush!

Score touchdowns in the red zone:
When you play a team that is ranked in the top ten nationally, you need to take advantage of good field position and score touchdowns.

The Golden Hawks offence cannot afford to stall in the red zone on Saturday afternoon. Last week against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Hawks were in the red zone eight times, coming away with a touchdown in all but two trips.

Campbell and big wide receivers Anthony Pizutti and Greg Nyhof will be relied upon once again when the Hawks get inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line.

Quick prediction:
I have the Golden Hawks taking this one 38-35. Who do you have?

Let me know on Twitter: @josh_davis_29

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