The Gee-Gees and the Golden Hawks, not so long ago were bitter foes that crossed each other's path frequently in the playoffs. Recently, OUA scheduling hasn't placed the teams in competition since the 2015 season, when uOttawa last visited University Stadium to a 65-30 loss.
Ultimately, Sunday's game faired much better for the Gee-Gees than their last visit, but in the end, the result did not change, with the Golden Hawks securing a 39-21 victory.
A back-and-forth game through the first quarter saw the Golden Hawks take a slim lead that eventually built to 21-7 at halftime.
In the second half, the both offensive and defensive units of the Gee-Gees began to click. Two touchdowns in the second half had the Gee-Gees show a fight to get back in the game, but Laurier was able to continue to capitalize to keep the score out of reach.
"We were sporadic," said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. "We did some things on special teams well, at times we moved the ball on offence and stopped them on defence. We just hurt ourselves with foolish penalties and we had some big plays that we gave up because of that."
Penalties were a backbreaker for the Gee-Gees, 18 flags thrown cost the team 201 yards, though they drew 14 penalties from Laurier, the Golden Hawks reaped the rewards of undisciplined play.
Dawson Odei, got his first start at running back, with Bryce Vieira shifting to the receiving game (5 catches for 42 yards), Odei could be a go-to back along with Donald Shaw upon his return to the lineup. With 73 yards and an average of 5.5 yards per carry, Odei, a second-year Criminology student, showed strides in becoming a very reliable back for the Gee-Gees.
Second-year quarterback and OUA All-Rookie teamer Alex Lavric got the start and after a lack of rhythm in the first half, he settled and delivered strikes in the latter half of the game. The Mississauga, Ont. native was 15-34 for 250 yards and two touchdowns on the day, with one interception.
"We have to work on the little things," said Lavric. "We have to cut down on the penalties and smooth things out, but other than that I'm excited to see what is ahead. If our offence clicks and comes together, I think we can be a force to be reckoned with."
From a defensive perspective, big games from reigning OUA MVP receiver Kurligh Gittens Jr. (129 yards) and running back Levondre Gordon (111 yards, 2 TDs) were difference-makers.
The special teams showed great promise for the Gee-Gees, particularly in the kicking game. Punter Loïc Legendre was outstanding, averaging 45.4 yards per punt, pinning two within the Laurier 20 yard-line. First-year kicker Campbell Fair punched in two of three field goals and collected two rouges for a total of nine of the Gee-Gees points in his debut.
Up next, the Gee-Gees will take on the McMaster Marauders on Sept. 3 in the team's Home Opener at Gee-Gees Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and tickets are available at tickets.geegees.ca. The game will also be streamed live on OUA.tv.