Week 2 Marquee Matchup: Laurier Golden Hawks @ Windsor Lancers

Week 2 Marquee Matchup: Laurier Golden Hawks @ Windsor Lancers
















If there are two teams capable of sending the OUA Marquee Matchup to overtime for a second straight week, it's the Windsor Lancers and Laurier Golden Hawks.

Last season, four quarters just wasn't enough and overtime was required to settle a result; Windsor prevailed 26-25. The teams' previous meeting before that, in 2011, was another nail-biter, with Windsor winning again by a single point 41-40.

If Week 1 was any indication, both these teams have taken a step forward in 2014 and should put on quite the show Saturday afternoon.

Despite falling 39-30 in their season opener at home against Queen's (the ninth ranked team in the country), the Lancers, coming off a 4-4 season, look ready to compete week-in and week-out with the big dogs of OUA.

Unfortunately for Windsor, the standings don't award style points and the pressure to gain some momentum early in the season increases in Week 2.

"We knew the first two games of our schedule would be very tough and we were hoping to steal one from a young Queen's team, but they were able to make some plays down the stretch," said Windsor head coach Joe D'Amore. "Now our goal is to get to 1-1 and head into our bye week. It's really important (to get a win), especially at home. You can't start the season 0-2 at home."

For Windsor to come away with a victory, it will need a repeat performance of Week 1 from fifth-year quarterback Austin Kennedy. The hometown star and Essex Ravens product threw for 393 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

Kennedy's primary target on the afternoon was Evan Pszczonak who had 187 yards receiving, finding his way to the end zone twice.

On the ground, Beau Lumley rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps the biggest key for Windsor will be finding a way to contain a Laurier rushing offence that lit up the scoreboard against Toronto in the team's 53-17 opening weekend victory.

"First and foremost we need to find a way to stop Dillon Campbell," said D'Amore. "We need to try and keep him in the low-100 yard rushing area and force them to throw the ball more."

Campbell, 2013's OUA rushing leader, broke a school record with 293 yards rushing against the Varsity Blues. He capped off the game with a 98-yard touchdown run that shattered the previous record of 263 yards set by former Golden Hawk Nick Cameron in 2005.

"We actually had no idea what the record was," said Laurier head coach Michael Faulds. "We had someone come down and tell us that Dillon was five yards shy of 200, so we decided to give him one more carry to try and reach 200 yards. Sure enough, he broke off the 98-yard touchdown run and set the record."

Faulds credited the offensive line for creating so many holes which gave Campbell plenty of time and space to run.

For a team that feels it's ready to take the next step in becoming an OUA contender, Week 1 was a welcomed result.

"We knew we were better than our 1-7 record last year, but to say it is one thing and to actually show it in Week 1 felt really good," said Faulds.

Week 2 provides Laurier with an even better measuring stick for its progress, playing on the road against a motivated team that also has playoff aspirations.

"We know Windsor will be a tough opponent for us. They are a well-coached team and the fact we have to travel there for an overnight trip presents some more challenges," said Faulds. "Last year we took them to overtime, so our guys won't be scared about facing them, but we definitely aren't going to take them lightly either."

Similar to how Windsor must contain Campbell, Laurier must figure out a plan to thwart Windsor's most dangerous offensive weapon in Austin Kennedy.

"We know what Austin brings to the table both throwing the ball and being able to run, so our defence has the utmost respect for him and we're going to have to find a way to contain him," Faulds said.

Laurier will need another strong showing from its defence, especially defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng who tormented Blues quarterbacks last week, also breaking a school record with four sacks in a single game.

With each team having so much to prove, and with the playoff race in the OUA anticipated to be one of the best ever, both teams will be coming out fired up and ready to play on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field in Windsor.

It's expected to be another great game that you won't want to miss, so tune in to OUA.tv on Saturday Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. to catch the Week 2 Marquee Matchup, as well as the rest of the action from around the league!  The game can also be seen locally on TVCOGECO Windsor/Leamington.

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