Saturday, November 01, 2008

Campus Corner: Previewing the Queen's-Ottawa game

I'm settled in here at Richardson Stadium and have a press box seat this time,so the live blog is a firm go and will start in about 15 minutes. Here's a quick preview of what I'm expecting from the game:


- The absence of Mike Giffin: It's been confirmed that Giffin will start on the sidelines, and it doesn't sound like he's likely to play at all. It will be interesting to see how that affects the game. As I've mentioned before, Marty Gordon and Jimmy Therrien are very capable backups, and Gordon in particular could probably start for several OUA teams. Neither is as threatening as Giffin, though: all year long, defences have been forced to stack the box to stop Giffin, opening up passing lanes for Dan Brannagan. That's not too likely to happen with Gordon and Therrien in there, which may lead to some big rushing gains for them, but will make the passing game more difficult. We'll see how this plays out over the afternoon.

- Dave Mason versus the Queen's defence: Ottawa running back Dave Mason was the difference in last weekend's clash with Guelph, rushing 31 times for a CIS playoff record of 327 yards, breaking the record of current Western coach Greg Marshall. He shouldn't get as many yards today: Guelph's run defence is notoriously bad (Giffin exploded for 214 yards against them on far less carries this year), and he'll have Osie Ukwuoma, Dee Sterling and Thaine Carter to contend with. The question is if they'll be able to contain him, though. If they can hold him to less than 5 yards per carry, that probably would be enough to give Queen's the game: I don't trust Ottawa's passing offence to do the job on its own.

- Josh Sacobie versus Queen's defence: Gee-Gees quarterback Josh Sacobie is brilliant at times, worse than average at others. The question is which Sacobie will show up today. He hasn't proved too adept at handling pressure in the past, and Queen's does boast two of the top four sack leaders in the CIS in Sterling (9.5, tied for first) and Ukwuoma (7.5, tied for third). If they and Carter can bring the pressure on Sacobie all day, he may be hurried into some poor throws and interceptions.

Should be a great game! I'll have the live blog going momentarily.

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