The Western Mustangs stormed into Gee-Gees Field on Saturday earning a 33-0 win in what was touted as one of the top matchups of the season between top-ranked teams.
A strong start on defence had the Gee-Gees hold the defending Vanier Cup champions to just two-points on a conceded safety through the first quarter. Though provided with opportunities, the Gee-Gees offence was unable to muster the attack needed to take down the Mustangs.
The stout Western defensive front was breathing down the neck of quarterback Sawyer Buettner all day, forcing plays to break down and tempo to evaporate. The strong defence, combined with a multi-pronged Western rushing attack that racked up 357 yards on the day were the only pillars the Mustangs needed to earn their win.
"Our offence needs to contribute," said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. "We wanted to allow our defence to be fresh by not having two and outs. Now you're going to have two and outs against this team, but for the most part our defence hung in there pretty well."
Third-year linebacker Kyle Rodger continued to be a bright spot on the Gee-Gees defence, by far their leading tackler with 40.5 on the year.
"There are things we need to clean up," said Rodger. "When you're playing a championship team like Western you can't afford those mistakes. We're very close to that level, but there's a few mistakes here and there that we need to fix."
If Western and Ottawa do end up being the top two seeds in the OUA as they currently sit, there is a chance that the teams may meet again down the road in the playoffs.
"We didn't really show what we can really do," said Kalem Beaver, the team's leading receiver on the day with 49 yards. "We'd love to get the chance to see this team again."
With McMaster's loss to Waterloo, the Gee-Gees got one step closer in their pursuit of the second-seed in the OUA playoffs. With one game left on the schedule, the team is in control of their own fate in postseason positioning.
Next weekend's homecoming matchup at Queen's will be one many have their eyes on. Holding a deceptive 3-4 record, the Gaels team has shown time and again that they can hang with the very best in the conference. Fresh from a bye week, the team will need to be at their absolute best if they want to return to Ottawa with a 6-2 record.
"Next week is really critical," said Barresi. "We're in the fourth quarter of the season and these two games (Western and Queen's) are really critical. This one coming up is a the second part of this quarter, it's a huge thing."
Kickoff at Queen's will be set for 1 p.m. with the game streaming live on OUA.tv.