WATERLOO – It doesn’t take much to hype up a game between two rivals, let alone when the two teams are the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and the Western Mustangs. This Saturday, TD Waterhouse Stadium will play host to a clash of two of the only five undefeated teams left in the Country LIVE
on 570 News(www.570news.com) and Rogers Television (London and Grand River Regions) at 2PM. Rogers will also rebroadcast the game at 8:30PM.
The implications of this game are extensive: First place is on the line; The Hawks are trying to continue their 14-game regular season OUA winning streak; Western quarterback MICHAEL FAULDS
is on pace to break the OUA record for completion percentage in a season; Laurier kicker Brian Devlin
is three points shy of breaking the Golden Hawk career scoring record; All things considered this is shaping up to be the biggest match-up this season in Ontario.
The last three games between the No. 3-ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and the No. 6 Western Ontario Mustangs, all played in the regular season, have been as close as they get.
The Mustangs won 20-17 in 2002 and 31-28 in overtime in 2003, while the Hawks prevailed 38-34 in week three of last season. In last year’s contest, the Hawks dominated for 46 minutes and held a comfortable 38-18 lead early in the fourth quarter when Western mounted a comeback with 16 unanswered points.
The Hawks enter the game with a perfect 5-0 record, including dominating wins over Queen’s, Windsor and Waterloo. However, they narrowly escaped with wins against Ottawa and McMaster, winning each by just a touchdown. Nevertheless, they still have won 14 straight OUA regular season games, and stand as the defending Yates Cup Champions. They also boast a CIS top 10 rusher in Nick Cameron
and a CIS top 10 passer in Ryan Pyear
While Cameron and Pyear have carried the offensive load so far this season, only one person has put up more points in Purple and Gold than current Hawk kicker Brian Devlin
. For five seasons from 1975 to 1979 kicker Jerry Gulyes totaled 218 points. In just two and half seasons, Devlin has accumulated 216 points on 36 field goals, 88 converts and 20 singles – leaving him one field goal shy of becoming the most prolific scorer in Laurier Football history. What better place to break the record than TD Waterhouse Stadium in London, against their hated rivals from Western.
The Mustangs have had a much easier route to the top of the standings. They easily handled Toronto, Guelph, Waterloo and York. Their biggest win this year came against McMaster in Hamilton as they erased a 28-3 second quarter deficit en route to 55-31 win. Thus far this season the Mustangs have out-scored their opponents by a total of 280-56 and have only allowed two touchdowns at home.
The Mustangs only question mark entering this game will be the health of star quarterback MICHAEL FAULDS
, who suffered a hand injury three weeks ago against McMaster; a game in which he threw for 364 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has missed the last two games; however, he will be in the lineup for this week’s ever-crucial game against Laurier.
Faulds, a transfer for the University of Toledo Rockets, has put together a superb season. In just three games he has compiled 878 passing yards and 9 touchdowns all while completing an unheard of 82% of his passes. If he continues on this pace, Faulds would break the 68.5% OUA record for completion percentage in a season set by Guelph Gryphon Mike Shoemaker in 1988.
The game promises to be another Western-Laurier classic.