No. 10 Golden Hawks face Lions in battle of unbeatens Monday night

No. 10 Golden Hawks face Lions in battle of unbeatens Monday night

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Looking to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2007, the No. 10-ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will host the upstart York Lions at University Stadium on Labour Day Monday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and fans can catch all the action, streaming live on OUA.tv and RadioLaurier.com

Laurier picked off Queen's quarterback Nate Hobbs twice on Sunday afternoon, including a 43-yard pick six by CIS All-Canadian defensive back Godfrey Oneyka (Brampton, Ont.).  Onyeka's interception almost single handedly turned the tide of the game as Laurier scored 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to secure the 37-18 win.  For his efforts, Oneyka was named the OUA and CIS Defensive Player of the Week. 

This marks the third consecutive season the Golden Hawks have opened with a win, while a potential victory on Monday night would have them 2-0 to open the season for the first time since 2007.

The Golden Hawks defence made life miserable all day for Hobbs as six different Laurier players recorded a sack, including a pair each by Nakas Onyeka (Brampton, Ont.), Kwaku Boateng (Milton, Ont.) and Robbie Smith (Brampton, Ont.).  The nine total sacks were a Week 1 high across the conference and four more than second-place McMaster.  If the Golden Hawks are able to have their way once again on Monday, it could be a long evening for the Lions.

For the first time since 2013, Julien John (Oakville, Ont.) is back under centre for the Golden Hawks and will look to shake off some early season jitters when he takes the field Monday night.  John threw for just 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  However, turnovers plagued his season debut as the Oakville, Ont. native threw four interceptions, which tied his 8 game season total in 2013.

While the departure of former Laurier running back and OUA MVP Dillon Campbell appeared to signal a change in game plan for the Golden Hawks.  If Week 1 was any indication, the ground game will continue to be much relied upon source of offence.  Of the Hawks 36 attempts, the majority went to running back Eric Guiltinan (London, Ont.) who ran 21 times for 85 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.  

History will not be on the side of the Lions on Monday as they are looking to pick up a win at Laurier's University Stadium for the first time since a 22-6 against the Golden Hawks back in 2002.  The two teams last faced each other in the opening week of the 2015 season with Laurier prevailing 38-21 

The Lions will be led this season by second-year quarterback Brett Hunchak (Calgary, Alta.) who was 17-of-25 for 331 yards and threw for five touchdowns in York's 57-13 win over the visiting Warriors.  Hunchak also had three carries for 32 yards rushing on the afternoon and was recognized as the OUA and CIS Offensive Player of the Week.

One of Brett's favourite targets on the afternoon was his brother, Colton Hunchak (Calgary, Alta.), who hauled in three passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns.  The pair connected midway through the second quarter for a 77-yard touchdown to increase the Lions lead to 22-3.

The Brett-to-Colton connection will likely be a focus of the Hawks defence heading into Monday night's matchup.  The staunch Golden Hawks secondary allowed just 187 yards passing against in their opening week matchup against the Queen's Gaels.

Lions rookie receiver D'Saun Greenaway (Brampton, Ont.) had himself a debut to remember and will look to keep rolling heading into Waterloo, Ont. on Monday.  Greenaway hauled in his first career OUA pass on the last play of the opening quarter, taking it 32-yards for the score to help extend the Lions lead to 14-0.  The Brampton, Ont. native would finish the day with five catches for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  

Should the Golden Hawks begin to control the sky on Sunday, the Lions will likely look to the ground to help move the ball. 

Coming off a season in which he ran for 689 yards and four touchdowns on his way to being named OUA Rookie of the Year, York running back Jesse Amankwaa (Etobicoke, Ont.) shows no signs of slowing down.  The second-year standout rumbled for 64 yards on 12 carries in Week 1, however, things might not be so easy Monday night as the Golden Hawks only allowed 81 yards on the ground against Queen's.

However, if Week 1 was any indication, the Lions might feature a dual threat out of the backfield as rookie running back Kayden Johnson (Kerrobert, Sask) led the Lions attack on Sunday with 75 yards on nine carries.

The Golden Hawks own an all-time record of 37-6-0 against the Lions dating back to 1969 and have won nine of their last 10 meetings against York.

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