MFOOT set to host McMaster in OUA SF rematch
No. 5 Golden Hawks meet No. 7 Marauders for the second consecutive year in the conference semis
Friday, November 3, 2017 - Posted by Jamie Howieson
Game Date/Time: Saturday, November 4 - 1 p.m.
Game Location: University Stadium, Waterloo
Live Webcast/Stats: OUA.tv
Radio: 570 News (Kitchener-Waterloo), TSN 1150 (Hamilton)
Live Audiocast: RadioLaurier.com
For the second consecutive year, the No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-2, 0-0) and the No. 7 McMaster Marauders (6-2, 1-0) face off with a spot in the Yates Cup on the line as the two teams battle it out in the OUA Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at University Stadium.
- Saturday’s game will feature a halftime performance from world-renowned fire juggler Brant Matthews aka “The Fire Guy”
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats anthem singer Sienna Rose will be performing O Canada pregame
- Box office will be open on game day at 11:30 a.m. while gates open at 12 p.m.
NEED TO KNOW
- Saturday’s game marks the third consecutive year Laurier and McMaster have met in the OUA playoffs (’15 OUA Quarter-finals, ’16 OUA Semifinals)
- the Hawks have won five straight playoff games against the Marauders dating back to the 2004 Yates Cup
- Laurier owns a three-game winning streak against McMaster across all competitions
- Laurier is hosting an OUA Semifinal game in consecutive years for the first time since hosting four straight between 2004 and 2007
Laurier leads the all-time series against McMaster with a 42-18-1 record. These two teams last met just two weeks ago when Laurier defeated the Marauders 40-15. Overall, the Hawks are 7-3 against McMaster in playoff matchups.
MEET THE TEAMS
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (6-2, 0-0) - No. 5 in Canada
For the second consecutive year, the Golden Hawks finished second in the OUA and earned a playoff bye after another strong season under fifth-year head coach Michael Faulds.
The team, once again, featured a dynamic offence that finished second in the conference in points per game and touchdowns. However, unlike in recent seasons, the Hawks transformed themselves in 2017 and became a passing-focused group that led the OUA in passing yards behind the strength of quarterback Michael Knevel of Brantford, Ont.
Knevel had an array of weapons at his disposal thanks to a talented core of receivers, led by third year Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of Ottawa, who finished first in Canada for both receptions (75), a new U SPORTS record, and receiving yards (953). Joining him inside the top 15 for receiving yards were Brentyn Hall of Toronto, and Daniel Bennett of Scarborough, Ont.
In the run game, Laurier still had plenty of firepower at their disposal, led by Levondre Gordon of Mississauga, Ont., who finished fourth in the conference with 825 yards.
Defensively, the Hawks continued to shine under defensive coordinator Ron VanMoerkerke as they finished third in the conference in points allowed per game (21.9) and were second in sacks with (27).
Defensive lineman Robbie Smith of Brampton, Ont., was the star of the group in 2017, setting a new team-record for sacks in a season with 10.5 as he finished tied for first in the nation in the category. He is joined by the likes of two-time All-Canadian defensive back Godfrey Onyeka of Brampton, Ont., who led the team in tackles, veteran linebacker Brandon Calver of London, Ont., and breakout star Shomari Hutchinson of LaSalle, Que., who tied a team-record for sacks in a game with 14.5 in his first career start.
McMaster Marauders - (6-2, 1-0) No. 7 in Canada
The Marauders will have revenge on their minds on Saturday after having their seasons come to a conclusion at the hands of the purple and gold each of the last two years.
McMaster is led by their stingy defence that among the national leaders in most key categories in league play, including first in both yards (277.4) and passing yards (185.6) allowed per game, fourth in points allowed (14.4) and seventh against the run (120.9).
Last week in the OUA Quarter-finals, the Marauders gave up just nine points to Queen’s, all on field goals, while holding the Gaels to less than 300 yards of offence.
Rookie linebacker Eric Blake of Hamilton, led the way for McMaster in that contest with 3.5 tackles and an interception while veteran defensive lineman Mark Mackie of London, Ont., had two sacks.
McMaster will need to find a way to improve their offence outside of running back Jordon Lyons of Burlington, Ont., who had 319 yards on 39 carries against the Gaels. Quarterback Jackson White of Cambridge, Ont., had an up-and-down first playoff start, completing just 12 of 26 pass attempts for 154 yards and a touchdown while throwing an interception. For a team that was seventh in the OUA in offence this season, they will need an improvement in that area to come away with a victory.
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