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(Photo Credit: Matt Tonkin)
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MFOOT prepares for home opener vs Toronto
WATERLOO, Ont. (August 30, 2013) - The Wilfrid Laurier University football team will be looking to even their record at 1-1 this Labour Day Monday, September 2, as they host the Toronto Varsity Blues at Knight-Newbrough Field.

The Golden Hawks enter Monday's game after opening their season on the road against the Guelph Gryphons. Despite a strong defensive effort from the Hawks that included an interception returned for a touchdown by Felix Odum of Pickering, Ont., the purple and gold came out on the losing end, dropping a 21-7 decision to the defending Yates Cup finalists.

As for the Varsity Blues, they also started the season 0-1 after being beaten at home by the Western Mustangs 50-14. Starting quarterback Chris Jugovic of Hamilton, threw for 274 yards and Christopher Johnson of Toronto, returned a fumble 60 yards but it wasn't enough against the No. 4 ranked Mustangs.

For Head Coach MICHAEL FAULDS, the home opener will be his first as Laurier's head coach and he will be looking to turn around a couple of recent trends. Coming into the game, the Hawks have lost their last three home openers with Laurier's last win in a home opener coming in 2009 against the Waterloo Warriors. The purple and gold have also lost their last two contests to the Varsity Blues so a win on Monday would put an end to both losing streaks.

In order to even their record at 1-1, the Hawks will need a more productive outing from their offence. Following last Sunday's game against Guelph, Faulds promised a sharper unit from the one that produced 129 yards of net offence against the Gryphons. One area where the Hawks hope to improve is in the passing game. With quarterback Julien John of Oakville, Ont., having a game under his belt, he should be better prepared for what to expect against the Varsity Blues. As well, Laurier will also be looking to run the ball more often as Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., and John combined for just 15 rushing attempts in the game.

On defence, the purple and gold will be looking to get a similar effort from the group that Faulds called "really strong" in the opening game. Led by veterans and rookies alike, the Hawks will look to pressure Jugovic all game long and limit his time and space in the pocket.

With both Laurier and Toronto possessing strong defensive units, the key players for either team will most certainly come from this group. For the Hawks, linebacker Chris Ackie of Cambridge, Ont., will look to duplicate his effort from a week ago that saw him record six tackles and a sack. On the other side of the ball, Trevor Harvey of Scarborough, Ont., who had 9.5 tackles and a sack against the Mustangs, will attempt to repeat those stats Monday night.

Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m. and fans are reminded to purchase their tickets online at tickets.laurierathletics.com to save $2 off box office prices. Fans are also welcomed to attend the Hawks pre-game party in the West end zone where discount food and beverages will be available starting at 5:30 p.m. until kickoff.  Admission to the area is free of charge with the purchase of a game ticket.

NOTES: Monday night's game will also be available via audiocast on radiolaurier.com...the Golden Hawks will be pleased to host all of Laurier's first year students at the game as they kick off their O-Week festivities
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