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RECAP: Defence the difference as #9 Gee-Gees beat #8 Gryphons

Gee-Gees running back breaks through offensive line
Photo: Ellen Bond
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees scored ten points on their first two drives and relied on impeccable defence to defeat the Guelph Gryphons 12-10 Saturday afternoon at Gee-Gees Field.
 
"They competed, I give our special teams and defence a lot of credit," said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. "Again we had some self-inflicted issues that if we just correct those things, we will be much better."
 
Guelph was looking to take the lead very late in the game, when kicker Gabriel Ferraro lined up a 54-yard field goal attempt. The Ottawa special teams unit came though with a clutch play, as Cody Cranston flew around the edge and blocked the attempt, sealing the victory.
 
The Gee-Gees had an optimal start to the day. Quarterback Sawyer Buettner, in his first start for the Garnet and Grey, guided Ottawa on a 12-play drive that was capped off by Dawson Odei punching the ball in from the one-yard line to give his team the lead.
 
Ottawa got a huge momentum boost on the ensuing kickoff. Guelph's Ryan Isenor muffed the kick and linebacker Kyle Rodger leaped on the ball, giving the Gee-Gees possession deep in their offensive territory. A 12-yard Campbell Fair field goal made the score 10-0 early.
 
The Gee-Gee defence frustrated Guelph all day, limiting the visitors to only 269 yards of offence and 13 first downs.
 
The Gee-Gees only major breakdown resulted in the Gryphons lone touchdown of the game. Receiver Zeph Fraser found himself wide open, and quarterback Theo Landers linked up with him for an 85-yard catch-and-run. From that point forward, the defence as stingy, holding Guelph to a Ferraro field goal from 45 yards out late in the fourth quarter.
 
The game was actually decided by a routine part of the game, caused by more quality defence from the Gee-Gees. Pinned deep in their own half following a duo of key defensive plays by Tramayne Stephen and Reshaan Davis, the visitors elected to concede a safety.
 
The five-point advantage was enough for Ottawa, who consistently established pressure in the Guelph back-field. The Gee-Gees tallied a total of seven sacks in the game, the team's most since they registered nine against Queen's in week two last season.
 
"We have a lot of talent everywhere on the defence," said safety Luke Greise, who lead the team with 5.5 tackles and a sack. "Each week a guy steps up and does their 1/12th, every week it's someone different and that's going to help us keep winning."
 
The Gee-Gees offence performed well as a whole, accumulating 477 yards of offence. Odei led the way with 189 all-purpose (153  yards rushing, 36 receiving) – by far the best performance of his career. Odei's performance was also the most of any Gee-Gees running back in five seasons, eclipsing the mark of 152 that Mack Tommy racked up in the 2014 Panda Game.
 
"A lot of credit goes to the offensive line," said the second-year Oshawa, Ont. native. "Without them, we wouldn't have been able to do any of it. With that work up front, I was able to get my 30 carries and keep getting my yards, that's all that there is to it."
 
Buettner threw for 228 yards and spread the wealth among his receiving corps. No receiver had more than four catches, but nor did any of them have less than three receptions.
 
The Gee-Gees improve to 2-1 on the year after three U SPORTS Top 10 matchups to start the season. Next up, will be a well-deserved bye week to re-collect following the busy first weeks of the season.
 
"It is a really competitive league, so getting a break now will be huge for us," said Barresi. "We get a chance to get some guys healthy and it kind of puts us ahead a little bit."
 
The Gee-Gees will continue looking to climb the OUA standings on Sept. 22 as they welcome the York Lions (1-2) to Gee-Gees Field.