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PREVIEW: #8 Gee-Gees take to the road to face #6 Gryphons

Photo: Michelle Malvaso.
Photo: Michelle Malvaso.

The University of Ottawa football team ride their three-game winning streak into a pivotal tilt with the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

Both teams feature in the U SPORTS national rankings. Guelph sits at number six nationally, while Ottawa gained one spot and are now ranked eighth. This will be the second ranked opponent the Gee-Gees face this season, as they took on the McMaster Marauders in the season opener.

Ottawa and Guelph both have three wins this season, and playoff positioning is on the line. Guelph is one of two opponents remaining on Ottawa's schedule with a winning record, along with the undefeated Western Mustangs.  

This is a grudge match for the Gee-Gees, as the Gryphons have ended each of Ottawa's last two seasons. Guelph won a quarterfinal matchup in 2017 and outscored the Ottawa 27-4 in the semifinals last season. Both games took place at Gee-Gees Field.

The Gee-Gees were victorious in last year's regular season meeting between the schools. A fourth quarter safety conceded by the Gryphons was the difference in a 12-10 contest.

Saturday will be a test for Ottawa's offence, as Guelph best boasts one of the league's defences. The Gryphons have given up an average of 17.2 points through their five games played – the second fewest in the conference – and their defensive line leads the OUA with 19 sacks. 

Ottawa has reason for optimism though, as they have put up 40 or more points in two of their last three games, including a 46-12 triumph over the York Lions last week.

First-year starter Ben Maracle is 3-0 since being handed the reigns to the offence in week two. The Arts major from Tyendinaga, Ont., is still finding the rhythm of the offence, averaging under 188 passing yards per game, while tossing six touchdowns and six picks.

Running back Jordan Burgher had a breakout game against York. The fourth-year social science major ran the ball 11 times for 71 yards, scoring three touchdowns. The Gee-Gees are hoping for more of the same from Burgher, as their 89.5 rushing yards per game is ninth in the conference. 

The Gee-Gees defence will be aiming to continue their strong play, especially with their pass defence. Ottawa gives up the fewest passing yards per game in the conference, while also recording the most tackles per game. Kyle Rodger leads the way with 24 tackles through four games, while Réshaan Davis has four sacks this season.

Saturday's matchup is Ottawa's final tune up before the Panda Game, which is on Oct. 5 at 12:00 p.m. at TD Place .

For in-game updates on Gee-Gees football games, follow @GeeGeesFootball on Twitter. The game will be streamed live on OUA.tv