OAU Week 3 is in the books, and although there weren’t as many upsets this week as last, there are still tons of interesting storylines to follow. For starters, nobody is a guaranteed win, as teams learned last week. Anything can happen in football, as last week showed, and with a lot of inconsistency on many of the teams, the OUA is no exception.
OUA Week 3 Wrap Up
Take the York Lions for example. York dropped their first 50-point game in their opener against the Waterloo Warriors before visiting the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks the next week. After getting slaughtered 74-3, the Lions travelled home to battle the Windsor Lancers —and dropped another 50-point bomb in the process. Meanwhile, the Lancers were in Guelph and upset the previously nationally-ranked Gryphons 33-29, knocking them out of the CIS top ten this week. The Carleton Ravens handed a devastating loss to the Western Mustangs the week after they were defeated by the McMaster Marauders, and then cruised over the Toronto Varsity Blues this week. Those same Marauders were crushed by the Ottawa Gee-Gees this week, losing 30-8 in Ottawa.
The only thing that remains consistent in this league is that the Warriors are still struggling. The Warriors are on pace for another winless season, as they were defeated by the Lions, the Gee-Gees, and the Mustangs so far. The last time the Warriors won a game was September 7, 2013, against Carleton. The rebuilding process has been harsh and unrelenting, and the Warriors are taking the brunt of it.
Surprising Losses for Queen’s
One of the biggest surprises so far in this league is that Queen’s is 0-2. They stayed in the game against both the Golden Hawks and the Gryphons, but fell apart after halftime. The Gaels have been a wildcard team in the past, and they could still be a wild card now. They play Western this week, and we’ll see if this team is willing to make adjustments to compete against one of the strongest programs in the OUA.
But that’s what also makes this league exciting. A team could go 0-4, then win the next four games and still make the playoffs. Another team could win the first three, and then slowly melt down the next month and fail to make the playoffs at the end of the season – or they could pull it together in the last second and win in the most important game of their life. Waterloo could win the next five straight games and make the playoffs this year. Nothing is for certain.
But that’s what keeps it interesting. Who wants to see the same teams in the playoffs year after year? Sooner or later the lower-tiered teams are going to bring in a new recruiting class that will set them up for the next four years. Or the other way around. Nobody knows.
Player Spotlight — Derek Wendel
For the second week in a row, a team in the nation’s capital gets the player spotlight. Out of the quarterback duel between Asher Hastings and Derek Wendel, it was Wendel that came out on top, despite throwing three interceptions. Currently, Wendel is tied for first place in the OUA for touchdowns with eight, and is the leader in average passing yards per game at 415.
Wendel completed 35 of 47 pass attempts, throwing for 441 yards with three touchdowns, despite throwing three interceptions during last week’s win against McMaster. The fifth-year starting pivot continued his work from last year, bringing the Gee-Gees back into contention after a small blip last year sent them spiraling out of the playoffs in the second half of the season. If he continues to find success on the gridiron, it won’t be long until playoff football returns to Ottawa.
There are a handful of games in Ottawa this week as the No. 8 Gee-Gees face the Gryphons. Meanwhile, across town, the No. 4 Carleton Ravens play the No. 7 Golden Hawks. The Gaels face off against the Mustangs in their newly renovated stadium in hopes that they don’t fall 0-3 on the season. All games are Saturday September 17 at 1 pm.