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PREVIEW: #8 Gee-Gees set to do battle with #1 Mustangs in London

Photo: Greg Mason.
Photo: Greg Mason.

In a battle of two of the best teams in the nation, the U SPORTS eighth-ranked Gee-Gees football team will travel to London to take on the top-ranked Western Mustangs to close the 2019 regular season. 

While both teams have clinched a spot in the OUA playoffs, the game is particularly important for the Gee-Gees as they try to secure as high as a second-place finish.

The Mustangs are the perennial team to beat in the OUA with the Garnet and Grey looking for their first win against Western since the 2010 season.

The Gee-Gees are rolling into the game following two strong wins against Carleton and Windsor. While the Mustangs are undefeated, a two-point win over Waterloo and a six-point win over Guelph have shown signs that they may be beatable.

If the Gee-Gees defence can stifle the balanced Western attack, and the offence can produce points, there's a chance Ottawa can pull the Homecoming upset. Coming off of a bye week, Western will be rested, but the Gee-Gees finally had a chance to catch their breath over the Thanksgiving weekend.

"The big thing was to get them some rest," said head coach Jamie Barresi. "We got a little bit of extra time with the holiday, but I want our guys to be ready, so we have to make sure we're on top of everything."

Offensively, the Gee-Gees have showed flashes of a team that can consistently put points on the board. With solid running from Jordan Burgher, the team has found a reliable option for moving the ball in the run game. 

"Our spirits are high," said Burgher. "After all of the recent successes we've had we just want to keep going and see if we can pull off a big upset."

At quarterback, both Ben Maracle and Matt Mahler have split time under centre to some success in the last two games. Western has the second last ranked pass defence in the OUA, so whoever is throwing the ball for the Gee-Gees on Saturday will have to take full advantage of the opportunity.

It will once again take a significant effort from the Gee-Gees defence, the defensive unit has produced five touchdowns this season, the most in the OUA.

The Gee-Gees have been particularly effective taking the ball away from teams between fumble recoveries (17) and interceptions (9), the defence has created 26 turnovers, nine higher than any other team in the conference.

Ahead of this weekend, there are a total of sixteen different scenarios that can play out to close the OUA season this. The Gee-Gees are slated for a home playoff game in many, however, a win will go a long way in confirming the team's path to a Yates Cup game.

A close watch will be all over the province as seven teams vie for only six playoff spots in the final weekend of regular season play.

Kick off is set for 1 p.m. and will be streaming live at OUA.tv.