Laurier runs all over Gee-Gees

Week1 2018
Photo: Andrej Ivanov, Waterloo Region Record

Josh Brown
Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO — So, Tristan Arndt, how’s the arm?

It was a legitimate question for the Wilfrid Laurier University quarterback —especially after he launched just six passes in the first half of Sunday’s clash against the University of Ottawa.

As it turns out, his limb is just fine.

“We did a really good job on the ground,” said the second-year pivot. “We didn’t want to get away from that.”

And so the freshly-anointed starter can save his cannon for later in the season. Sunday, it was all about the run in Laurier’s 39-21 victory over the Gee-Gees.

Laurier crammed the ball down Ottawa’s throat so bad early on that the visitors probably needed a lozenge.

Running back Levondre Gordon found holes in the Swiss cheese Gee-Gees defence at will to punch in a pair of majors while fellow back Osayi Iginuan also found the end zone in the first half.

Gordon’s duo gives him 16 career touchdowns with the Golden Hawks, which is good for sixth all-time. The home side added a trio of converts off the boot of Nathan Mesher and secured a safety for a commanding 23-7 lead at the break.

“We just knew they were going to come up playing the box a little light because of the good receivers we have,” said Gordon, who sits two TDs behind Nick Cameron on the all-time team list.

“We took full advantage of it. They didn’t realize until maybe the second half that they needed to tie it down in the box a little more.”

The Gee-Gees smartened up.

In fact, Laurier only outscored Ottawa 16-14 in the second half, though the foot may have been off the gas a bit at that point.

“Week one is actually the toughest week,” said Golden Hawks coach Michael Faulds. “You don’t have film on your opponent from this year. So to come away with a win against a very quality opponent feels good.”

The Gee-Gees picked up 18 penalties for 201 yards and that lack of discipline really did them in. There were some bright spots, most notably punter Loic Legendre’s lethal range and long receptions by Carter Matheson (66 yards) and Harrison Tallyhoe (46 yards).

Mesher added three more field goals in the second half for Laurier while slotback Brendan McCracken rounded out the scoring with his first end zone dance of the season. Receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. racked up 129 yards.

Tristan Park and Dylan St. Pierre scored for the Gee-Gees and kicker Campbell Fair took care of the rest of the offence.

The teams hadn’t clashed since 2015 but Laurier has now won four consecutive games against Ottawa.

“You never really know what you’re going to get in week one,” said Arndt. “I thought we were prepared coming in and had a lot of energy. That definitely helped. We didn’t play our best football but we’ll take the win.”

Laurier faces the Queen’s Gaels (1-0) Sunday at 6:30 p.m. while the Warriors take on the University of Toronto (0-0) Saturday at 7 p.m.

And Arndt, who took over the helm from veteran Michael Knevel, will be ready to air the ball out for Laurier if needed in week two.

“I feel like I took my first years and grew as a player and person and found myself ready for this moment,” he said. “Now I’m taking advantage of it.”

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