Western blows past Ottawa to clinch 1st overall in OUA
On a windy day in Ottawa, the Western Mustangs breezed to a 33-0 victory over the Gee-Gees to clinch first place overall in the OUA.
Ottawa was the last team with a chance to catch Western. The Gee-Gees had won five games in a row and were rolling, but the Mustangs had Ottawa feeling as though they were running into gale-force resistance all afternoon, even when the wind was at the Gee-Gees’ backs.
The Western ground game once again did major damage. After an opening quarter in which the only points were scored on a Mustang safety, Alex Taylor took a handoff 88 yards into the wind to spark the Western offence, which rushed for 357 yards overall. Taylor had 225 of those as well as two touchdowns. Cedric Joseph, who had a record day in Western’s last home game against Windsor, chipped in 69 more and a TD against Ottawa.
Mustang quarterback Chris Merchant added 50 yards on the ground, and thanks to the stiff breeze and an early hit that had Merchant feeling pain in his non-throwing shoulder, Western attempted just 13 passes overall. Merchant did throw one touchdown pass to Anthony Valvano to cap off a seven-play drive midway through the fourth quarter.
Western’s defence was fierce all afternoon. Even with 17 completions, Gee-Gees quarterback Sawyer Buettner was held to 114 yards. The Mustangs also picked off two passes. Robert Ferguson nabbed one of those, while Mackenzie Ferguson grabbed another and returned it 62 yards.
The defence also recorded four sacks.
The Mustangs have given up just 76 points in seven games and recorded the first shutout in OUA football this year. It was the first time Western held an opponent to no points since a 61-0 hammering of York in 2014.
Ottawa actually had the advantage, with almost five more minutes of possession time than Western, but could not seem to create anything threatening.
Western has one regular season game remaining. They will be home to face the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. The Golden Hawks are 4-3 in 2018 but have won back-to-back games.
The Mustangs’ last regular season loss came 21 games ago on Sept. 4, 2016 against Carleton.
The U of T Varsity Blues sit at the other end of the spectrum, having lost their seventh game of the season on Saturday to Guelph, 46-8. They are in danger of going winless but will close the year with a game against 2-5 York.
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