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FEATURE PREVIEW: #9 Gee-Gees look to carry momentum into Home Opener against Queen’s

Friday September 1, 2017
Gee-Gees and Queen's players with the crowd in the background.
Photo: 
Erica Roberts

GAME INFO:
Queen’s (0-1) at #9 Ottawa (1-0)
Monday, Sept. 4
2 p.m.
Gee-Gees Field
Tickets available online

Webcast on OUA.tv

Fresh from a thrilling 24-21 double-overtime victory in their season opener at Guelph, the nationally ninth-ranked Gee-Gees football team is ready to play for a raucous Home Opening crowd on Monday.

The team’s opponent is the Queen’s Gaels, who lost at home last week in heartbreaking fashion to the Carleton Ravens. The Gaels had led until the final two minutes, when Carleton stormed back to beat them 22-17 in regulation.

In last year’s meeting between the teams in Kingston, the Gee-Gees came away victorious 42-41 in overtime on a two-point conversion.

For Ottawa, their defence was key in securing the win in Guelph, and will need to step up once again to shut down the Gaels.

Queen’s comes armed with a veteran quarterback in fourth-year Nate Hobbs, who tossed 310 yards and two touchdowns last week. However, despite their passing attack, Queen’s has had protection issues on their offensive line, giving up nine sacks in their loss, a number the Ottawa defence would like to replicate on Monday.

“We can’t get caught up on the high of last week,” said fifth-year kicker Lewis Ward, who won both OUA and U SPORTS Special Teams Player of the Week. “It’s a slightly longer week, so that should help with preparation … I think if we can concentrate on everyone doing what they have to do, we’ll have a good game.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Gee-Gees are still finding their footing. Last week, the offence knocked on the door of the end zone, but were unable to punch in a touchdown.

After suffering an injury in the second quarter, fifth-year quarterback Victor Twynstra handed over the reigns to first-year quarterback Alex Lavric.

Lavric carefully steered his team to the win, going 16-22 for 132 yards without any turnovers. His efficient passing landed him ranked second in the nation with a 72.7 completion percentage.

At this time, it is unknown who will be under-centre for the Gee-Gees on Monday, but either QB will look to ignite the offence and take some pressure off defence.

Despite the fact that there is business to attend to, the Home Opener is an exciting time for the entire community, an excitement the players feed off of.

“The more the merrier, it’s great,” said Gee-Gees fourth-year defensive back and uOttawa Male Athlete of the Week, Luke Ffrench. “You get all the fans out and the stands are packed, the alumni comes in, we have a huge alumni following … it’s always nice to see those guys come through.”

Of note, since opening Gee-Gees Field in 2013, the team is 4-0 in Home Openers, with one win coming against Queen’s in 2015.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and tickets are still available online at tickets.geegees.ca.

Of note, Monday’s game will recognize 1975 Vanier Cup Champion Mike O’Connor, who was killed in a car accident in 1995. O’Connor was a member of the Gee-Gees for four seasons from 1972 to 1975, and played for Queens for the 1976 season. He was named a conference all-star twice and since his death he has been recognized by his two alma maters each season that the teams meet. A ceremony will take place at the conclusion of the game to award the Mike O’Connor Most Valuable Player award for each team.