OUA football: Scrambling, rambling thoughts; Western-Ottawa play with first at stake, Guelph, Queen's and Windsor have must-wins

Week 8 includes a 'first and third' scenerio with Western visiting Ottawa, who are each unblemished apart from road defeats against Carleton.

Meantime, Guelph is up against Laurier, and Windsor's is at Queen's. Three of those four teams are fighting for their postseason life.

1. Western (5-1). Remaining: bye, @Ottawa, McMaster 

Styles make fights. Western's juggernaut rushing game, accentuated by Chris Merchant, goes against a fast but undersized Gee-Gees defence on Saturday. Meantime, Derek Wendel, who made a 514-yard night look routine against York, will try to test the Mustangs defence.

If this game were Sept. 15, Ottawa would stand a stronger shot. The seasonal change probably works in Western's favour, but a Jamie Barresi offence should make the Gees a tough out at home.

t-2. Laurier (5-1). Remaining: Guelph, @Windsor

The Golden Hawks, back in the day, were everyone's second-favourite OUA team. Wonder if that will be the case when they have a chance to help Guelph appreciate the concept of sic transit gloria.

t-2. Ottawa (5-1). Remaining: Western, @Queen's 

The million-dollar questions about the Gee-Gees stem from the line of scrimmage, on each side of the ball. Their biggest O-lineman, Ibra Ndiaye (brain injury protocol), was held out against York. Sack leader Sam Randazzo also did not play. Ottawa is first-rank in the passing phase with a varied repertory among the receivers and some fluid coverage in the second and third levels. The offensive line and the pass rush count as question marks.

Ottawa had a punt blocked against York. Western will surely try to block another.

t-2. McMaster (5-1). Remaining:  @York, @Western

Getting 36 points against Queen's with one offensive touchdown, that's pretty amazing. No one seems able to contend with The Power That Is Mike Kashak, who had 4½ sacks and a 'hockey assist' on a defensive TD after forcing a fumble that was recovered in the end zone. The lack of finish in the score zone is concerning.

McMaster (+8) has the tiebreaker advantage over Ottawa (+2) and Carleton (-10), should they all end up either 5-3 or 6-2. Carleton would have it over Ottawa, since they won the head-to-head matchup.

5. Carleton (5-2). Remaining: bye, @Waterloo

Carleton is closing in on a home game, although it is likely contingent on an Ottawa defeat.

Only flies on the was a slow start during the 53-10 rout against Windsor. It was 4-4 early in the second quarter. Then, p

t-6. Queen's (2-4). Remaining: Windsor, Ottawa 

Legit playoff team, or are they just collecting W's against weaker teams? Queen's did little to disabuse any of the latter suspicion while going touchdown-free against McMaster. Queen's has scored 20 or fewer points in 4-of-6 games.

t-6. York (2-4). Remaining: McMaster, @Guelph 

There is talent in Lions territory; Brett Hunchak has a fantastic arm at this level and his 329 yards on Friday was the most any team has had against Ottawa. York under offensive minds Kyle Quinlan and Kamau Peterson is playing exciting football, even when they they are losing by 20.

The degeneration on defence was stark. On top of the 741 yards (528 aerially) against Ottawa, the Lions committed some undisciplined penalties. There was a bad hit to the head on Gee-Gees cornerback Ty Cranston while he was catching a short punt.

t-6. Windsor (2-4). Remaining: @Queen's, Laurier

Tallied only 231 yards against Carleton, and 164 came through Tarrence Crawford. As an observer, it was frustrating to see an underdog miss opportunities.

Both of their sudden-change takeovers inside Carleton's 30-yard line only produced Clark Green field goals. On the first instance, Nick Vincent recovered a fumbled punt on Carleton's 27. An illegal procedure penalty negated a first-down completion, and then a swing pass to Crawford on second-and-11 only got 10 yards. On third-and-1, Windsor kicked the field goal.

In the third, an end-over-end kickoff ricocheted off Windsor's Evan Martin and rolled to Kaeden Walls, who turned a broken play into a 71-yard return to Carleton's 25. All the Lancers could do with that fluky play, and a defensive holding on the next down, was a two-yard rush and an overthrown fade route that someone who never played football could tell was coming.

Does anyone else get annoyed by that?

t-6. Guelph (2-4). Remaining: @Laurier, York

Guelph-Laurier is essentially a playoff game. The Gryphons are playing for their postseason life, and the Golden Hawks would stay in the bye hunt.
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