BURLINGTON, Ont. - With five teams piled at the top of the OUA conference standings with five wins apiece, many eyes will be watching the showdown between Western and Ottawa on Saturday. Ottawa, ranked no. 9 in this week's CIS Top Ten Poll, is undefeated at home this season while no. 3 ranked Western's only loss came in the nation's capital back on September 4.
An easy way to frame the game is passing versus rushing; Ottawa leads the nation with 416 passing yards per game while Western has rushed for 276 yards per game to rank second in CIS. The Mustangs are first in rushing touchdowns and also first downs on the ground, and are led by third-year Alex Taylor. Taylor has logged 122 yards per game this season after his All-Canadian season in 2015.
Ottawa's Derek Wendel was recognized as the CIS Player of the Week following his 514-yard passing performance against York. Wendel is the first ever CIS quarterback to record three 500-yard passing games in his career. He is also sitting 40 completions away from the school career record of 637, held by Josh Sacobie, and could crack the CIS Top Ten all-time in that category this week.
Western is the third team this season that Ottawa will meet following a bye week. Western's last outing was an October 1 home win against no. 7 ranked Laurier. Western rode a strong start to a 45-26 win.
"We can't take penalties," stated Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi simply, perhaps highlighting one area where the Mustangs have struggled this season. Western has been pegged for 601 penalty yards compared to Ottawa's 548, with Ottawa ranking as the third least penalized team in the OUA.
The Gee-Gees defence has stronger numbers this year as well, allowing 355 yards per game to rank second in the OUA. Western's defence is active in forcing turnovers and generating points - third-year defensive back Jordan Beaulieu has returned three fumbles for majors.
The game is part of the OUA Tackles Breast Cancer awareness and fundraising efforts, and as such numerous activities will be ongoing throughout the game in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. $2 per ticket sold online with the promo code (FBPink1617) will be donated directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Source: uOttawa Gee-Gees