Western ready to take on undefeated Gee Gees

Shutting down Sacobie key to win

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western football

Jonas Hrebeniuk

LAYING IT ON THE LINE FOR THE YATES CUP. After losing in heartbreaking fashion during the regular season, Western’s football team is ready to exact revenge this weekend against the undefeated Ottawa Gee Gees.

Following a hard fought 27-19 win against the Queen’s Golden Gaels in quarter-final action last week, Western quarterback Michael Faulds and his teammates are ready to head to the nation’s capital to take on the highly-touted Ottawa Gee Gees.

“We look at it as a business trip,” Faulds said. “It was a good experience last week and we look forward to going to Ottawa and doing the same thing.”

The task will not be easy, as the Gee Gees went undefeated in Ontario University Athletics play and are currently ranked number two in the country.

However, the Mustangs did give Ottawa one of its toughest tests of the season, losing 35-30 in a game where Western fought back from a 19-point deficit and had the lead during the fourth quarter.

“We felt that game we spotted them 19 points early, so if we could eliminate that and play strong like we did for the last few quarters we should be fine,” Faulds said.

Of primary importance for Western will be stopping Ottawa pivot Josh Sacobie, who leads the nation in passing yardage and is the focal point of the Gee Gees offence.

Defensive back Nick Kordic said it will be important for the ’Stangs to show Sacobie different looks in order to make sure he does not become too comfortable in the pocket.

“At times we’ll send five man or six man pressure, but at times we’ll also have man coverage and drop people back,” he said.

Kordic also stressed the importance of creating turnovers this week " something Western’s top-ranked defence hasn’t had much success with this year.

“We’ve been really good at forcing teams into two and out situations but we’ve been kind of low on the turnovers,” he said. “The key thing this week is to get two or three picks and possibly get the ball on the ground.”

Offensively, Western has benefited from the strong play of running back Randy McAuley, who carried the ball 38 times last week for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

“Ball control has been huge for us keeping the defence off the field and it has set up our play action pass really well,” Faulds said. “Our offensive line has stepped up and [the last few weeks] have been a testament to how well they’ve played.”

Facing a strong Ottawa front seven, head coach Greg Marshall emphasized the need for the offensive line to have a big day.

“We have to stick with our blocks and our guys have to be tenacious when they block,” he said.

“More than anything else, Ottawa never lines up the same way two times in a row, so we need to be able to recognize their formations and pick up their different stunts.”

The winner of Saturday’s match-up will face either the Laurier Golden Hawks or Guelph Gryphons in next week’s Yates Cup final. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

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