Heading into Saturday's matchup with the Laurier Golden Hawks, the Gee-Gees football team is preparing to take on a relatively unfamiliar foe.
The two teams, who have routinely jockeyed for position atop the OUA standings, have only met a surprising two times since Jamie Barresi became head coach in 2013. In both 2015 and 2018, the Gee-Gees traveled to Waterloo to face the Golden Hawks, but for the first time in eight years, the Hawks will travel to Ottawa for a meeting with the Gee-Gees.
For opposing teams, Gee-Gees Field has been a daunting place for to play since it's opening in 2013. The Garnet and Grey currently hold a 19-4 regular season record on home turf, winning over 80 per cent of the time when at home.
The last time the Gee-Gees took on Laurier at home, the game was not technically played in the city of Ottawa. During the 2012 season, the team played their home schedule at Beckwith Park west of the city while they waited for their new home on Lees Avenue to be completed.
Fresh from a 44-27 win over Queen's last weekend, the Gee-Gees will look to keep momentum rolling into their third game of the regular season.
While the Gee-Gees strive for more of the same, the Golden Hawks will be trying to turn their young season around. Sitting with a 1-2 record, Laurier is coming off of a last-minute shocker loss to Toronto at home last weekend which was preceded by an offensively challenging 18-10 win at York the week prior.
Last week, Gee-Gees quarterback Ben Maracle shined in his first career start, and will once again take the reins of the Gee-Gees offence this weekend.
After throwing for 290 yards and combining for four total touchdowns against Queen's, Maracle will look to replicate the performance Toronto quarterback Clay Sequeira logged against the Hawks' defence last weekend.
Regardless of Laurier's start this year, the Gee-Gees are still preparing to play them as the powerhouse program they have known the last handful of years.
"It's going to be a good challenge," said Barresi. "They are a very athletic and strong team and really ran up a number of yards on Western. They're a good team."
Defensively, the Gee-Gees aim to limit that offensive attack that put up 442 yards in a loss to Western in week one. For the Gee-Gees, the key will be continuing their encouraging start to the season, as they are currently giving up the third fewest yards in the OUA thus far.
"We've been striving to get better every practice," said fifth-year cornerback Cody Cranston. "The goal is to keep tightening things up and get better every week."
REMINDER: The Panda pre-game party and game ticket packages are now on sale in the Gee-Gees football alumni, families and friends sections on the South Side of TD Place! We invite all our of fans to join us in cheering on the Gee-Gees in one of the hottest rivalries in U SPORTS! You can purchase your ticket package(s) on our Eventbrite website. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Burrill at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 613-562-5800 ext. 4328