PREVIEW: No. 5 MFOOT visit Queens Gaels
Having defeated the Carleton Ravens at home a week ago, the #5 Laurier Golden Hawks (2-0) head on the road for the first time this season to visit the Queens Gaels (0-2).
Saturday, September 16, 2017 - Posted by Laura O'Toole
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 16, 1 p.m.
Game Location: Richardson Stadium, Kingston
Live Webcast/Stats: OUA.tv
Live Audiocast: CUSN.ca/radio
After recording 576 yards of total offence in their Week 3 victory, which included career-highs in rushing (208) and passing (373) by Levondre Gordon and Michael Knevel, respectively, the Golden Hawks will be facing a rested Gael’s team that went 3-5 and out of the playoffs in 2016. Queen’s, which had its bye last week, narrowly lost its first two games against Carleton and Ottawa by a combined six points.
NEED TO KNOW
-With Michael Knevel and Nate Hobbs squaring-off for Saturday’s match-up, the game will also feature the top two quarterbacks in the OUA when it comes to current passing yards per game averages. Each team also has a receiver in the top three for receiving yards per game, with Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of the Golden Hawks in the top spot.
-Hobbs, linebacker Nelkas Kwemo and defensive back Wesley Mann were fellow invitees to the East-West Bowl this past May with Laurier’s Godfrey Onyeka, Isaiah Messam and Rashari Henry. The week-long event headlines players eligible for the upcoming CFL draft.
-Laurier’s Gordon (Offence) and Isaiah Messam (Defence) were recognized for their Week Three performances, being named OUA Players of the Week. Gordon was also given the nod as USports Offensive Player of the Week.
-Queen’s leads the all-time series 11-9 against the Golden Hawks, although Laurier has won the last two – including their home opener last season which ended 37-18.
Laurier Golden Hawks
It may only be the fourth week of the regular season, but the Golden Hawks currently boast the top quarterback, running back and receiver in the receiver when it comes to per game averages.
The effectiveness of the run game could be put to the test though as Queen’s comes in with the third-best rush defence in the OUA (112 yards allowed per game) and fourth-best unit overall.
Any adversity the Hawks may face getting the ball in the end zone will be aided by kicker Nathan Mesher, who has been outstanding with his placekicking duties. Having just missed one attempt so far this season, Mesher is coming-off a 5/5 game - which included a successful kick from 45 yards. Additionally, the fourth year punter also recorded just over 41 yards per punt in Week Three.
Despite being on the sideline for the final two quarters of Saturday night’s game, Godfrey Onyeka will be back today at the boundary position in the secondary alongside Isaiah Messam – who recorded his first career regular season interception against the Ravens.
Laurier will also need a boost from their defensive line and linebackers to put pressure on Hobbs, with the Hawks only having recorded four sacks this season (8th in the OUA). Defensive end Robbie Smith, lineman Rashari Henry and linebacker Brandon Calver, who leads the team with 11 tackles, could be some of the catalysts in this area.
The Gaels saw virtually no offensive turnover due to graduation this off-season, welcoming back fourth-year quarterback Nate Hobbs, running back Jonah Pataki and receiver Chris Osei-Kusi. Daniel Hayes, who also spent some time at Ottaw Red Blacks training camp, returns to his spot on the offensive line.
Starting the season strong for Queen’s is fourth-year receiver Matteo Del Brocco, which has certainly buoyed Hobbs’ performance thus far. Over his first two games, Del Brocco has averaged six receptions, 112 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Gaels have Mann (2016 OUA All-Star) and Jason Shamatutu manning the secondary and the aforementioned Kwemo plugging-up the gaps in the middle.
Overall, Coach Pat Sheahan’s team plays a very disciplined style of football – having only been flagged 21 times for 146 yards this season, which is tops in the league.
Sheahan is also one win shy of 150 in his long coaching career.
- Written by Dan Polischuk
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