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Western at Ottawa 20090906

Photos of the season opener between the University of Western Ontario Mustangs and the University of Ottawa Gee Gees at Frank Clair Stadium, Ottawa, ON on September 6, 2009.

Gee-Gees go down with a thud - Too much Mustangs to handle. Western 32, Ottawa 17
By Mike Beasley, The Ottawa Citizen

Finishing second in a two-horse race means the other entry was probably faster and better on that particular day. Sometimes, the winner takes it at the wire; at others, the race isn't even close.
The two-horse race between the Western Ontario Mustangs and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday afternoon at Frank Clair Stadium was a case in point.

The game started out close enough, then it was pretty much all Western as the Mustangs won 32-17 in front of 5,120 fans during Week 1 of the 2009 OUA football season. "We didn't execute and lacked discipline -- penalties probably cost us about 10 points," Ottawa head coach Denis Piché said.
"I don't know what it was -- maybe it was new guys in different roles -- but I know we'll be a better team after watching the film of this game."

After a fairly even first quarter that ended 7-7, the game could have gone either way, but the Mustangs started to chip away at the Ottawa defence, which led to some big plays.
At times, fifth-year Western quarterback Michael Faulds showed flashes of why he is an early-season front-runner for the 2009 Hec Crighton Trophy as the outstanding player in Canadian University Football. But there were several occasions when he threw the ball up for grabs and was intercepted.
Faulds played well enough to throw for three touchdowns but struggled to find any consistency, completing 18 of 36 passes for a total of 293 yards. He was picked off three times and sacked twice.

Brad Sinopoli is now the starting quarterback for Ottawa after watching 2008 graduate Josh Sacobie, the Gee-Gees all-time leading passer, run the offence during his first two seasons with the team.
The third-year pivot led Ottawa to a total offence of 542 yards. Statistically, Sinopoli had a much better game than Faulds, completing 22 of 41 passes for 355 yards and just one sack.
The Gee-Gees were first to hit the scoreboard when freshman Jordan Wilson-Ross capped off a six-yard rush by leaping over a pile of Western defenders at the goal line for Ottawa's first offensive points of the new season. Wilson-Ross had an impressive OUA debut, leading the Gee-Gees on the ground with 126 yards on 18 carries.

Western evened the score in the last minute of the quarter when Faulds hooked up with inside receiver Jesse Bellamy for a beautiful 33-yard reception and touchdown. A pair of Matthew Falvo field goals from 38 and 29 yards gave the Gee-Gees a 13-7 lead, but the remainder of the second quarter belonged to the Mustangs, as they scored twice to take a 21-13 lead at halftime. Another field goal by Falvo cut into Western's lead early in the second half, closing the gap to five points, 21-16. But Faulds went to work again with a nine-yard toss to Piva for his second score of the game putting Western up 30-16.

The fourth quarter saw both teams get their chances to score, but a rash of turnovers proved costly, especially for Ottawa. The only points in the final 15 minutes came on a two-point safety by Western and a single-point rouge by Ottawa.

"I'm happy that we won the game, but I still think we played a sloppy game," said Greg Marshall, Western's head coach and offensive coordinator. "We had lots of chances to put them away, but failed to do so. We will have to get better if we want to be successful."

All photos by Jeff Chan, Chairman of the 1998 and 1999 Vanier Cup, and member of the Canadian College Bowl Board and Vanier Cup Organizing Committees, 1978-2000, and Western MBA '75.

All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2009, but may be used for personal non-commercial use, or by the CIS, its member conferences, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Otawa, and the Vanier Cup, with photo credit, unless otherwise authorized.
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