PREVIEW: Season on the line against Western

Week 9_JeffHutter
Photo: Jeff Hutter

Jamie Howieson
Laurier Athletics

FAN INFORMATION
Game Date/Time: 
Saturday, October 20 – 1 p.m.
Game Location: TD Stadium, London
Webcast/Stats: OUA.tv (Watch live on the big screen at Wilf’s)


HEAD-TO-HEAD
All-Time Record vs Western (22-51-0)
– the Laurier-Western matchup has been decidedly one-sided over the past decade with the Mustangs winning 15 of the last 16 meetings
– the Hawks lone victory, however, did produce one of the most memorable moments in program history when they won the 2016 Yates Cup in London, overcoming a 21-point deficit

SATURDAY STORYLINES
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks – No. 7 in Canada
2018 conference record – 4-3 (T4th OUA)

– two consecutive victories have pulled Laurier back into the playoff picture after their three-game losing streak and heading into their final game, they can finish anywhere from second in the conference to missing the playoffs in the packed OUA standings
– a win by the Hawks over their long-time rivals would guarantee a home playoff date for the purple and gold, and possibly a bye through the OUA Quarter-finals
– a loss by Laurier and the Hawks will need victories from Waterloo and Queen’s to advance as the sixth seed
– with inconsistency having plagued Laurier since their bye week, the purple and gold will be hoping to replicate their complete efforts that they displayed in victories over Ottawa and Queen’s to open the season

Western Mustangs – No. 1 in Canada
2018 conference record – 7-0 (1st OUA)

– Western wrapped up top spot in the conference with a convincing victory over the No. 5 Ottawa Gee-Gees last week on the road
– the Mustangs will be playing their Homecoming game as they look for their second-straight undefeated regular season
– Western owns the top-ranked offence and defence in the conference, posting 48.3 points per game, almost 15 more than the Hawks who sit second, while allowing just 10.9 point per game
– once again, it’s the Mustangs run game that Laurier will need to focus on shutting down as Western averages nearly 285 yards of offence on the ground per game

IN THEIR WORDS – Michael Faulds
“We are excited about the opportunity on Saturday of controlling our own fate and booking our spot into the playoffs with a big win at Western’s Homecoming. We know that they are the premier team in the conference and they proved that last year and thus far this season. This is definitely the biggest regular season game we have played in a long time with a ton a stake. A chance to finish as high as the OUA’s second seed or completely out of the playoffs altogether. This is a challenge we are up for and excited about.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks

OFFENCE
RB Levondre Gordon (Mississauga, Ont.)
– the fourth-year running back has been the engine that’s driven Laurier’s offence all season long, averaging 107 yards per game on the ground
– with 749 yards already this season, Gordon is on pace to establish a new personal single-season rushing mark, besting his 825 yards from a season ago

DEFENCE
LB Scott Hutter (London, Ont.)
– playing in his hometown once again this weekend, Hutter will be a key player as the Hawks attempt to shut down Western’s dangerous running game
– with 28 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss, the fourth-year linebacker will be looked upon to use his experience in Laurier’s most important game of the season

Western Mustangs

OFFENCE
RB Cedric Joseph (Montreal)
– the fourth-year running back has been dominant all season long, leading the OUA in rushing yards per game at 129.0 while running for 11 touchdowns on 101 carries

DEFENCE
LB Fraser Sopik (Toronto)
– the fourth-year linebacker leads a strong tackling unit for the Mustangs, posting 32 tackles, including two for a loss, and one sack this season

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