Lions welcome defending champs for regular season finale

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The York University Lions football team welcomes the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) champions, the Laurier Golden Hawks, to Alumni Field Oct. 5 for the team’s regular season finale presented by MBNA.

Kickoff will take place under the lights at 7pm and the game can also be seen live online on Prior to kickoff, York will honour its six graduating student-athletes with a pre-game ceremony.

Ad links to YU Lions site with details about Oct. 5 grad football game at the Alumni FieldThe Lions will face a nationally ranked opponent for the fourth time this season and second game in a row following last week’s matchup with the No. 9 McMaster Marauders. After a slow start to the season, largely due to a number of key injuries, the Lions have found their groove in recent weeks. They defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues in a big way the last time they were at home, reclaiming the Argo Cup with a 41-16 victory in the 48th annual Red & Blue Bowl.

Prior to that game, the Lions led the then-No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees in the fourth quarter before falling 26-17, and last week they hung with a tough Marauders squad in an eventual 32-2 defeat.

The Golden Hawks also enter the contest following a loss, their first in 10 games dating back to the 2016 regular season. Last week they hosted the Western Mustangs in a rematch of last year’s thrilling Yates Cup championship and could not rekindle the same magic, going down by a score of 29-13. Prior to that, the Hawks won their first four matchups of the season by an average of 28 points, including a shutout of the Varsity Blues and a 71-24 triumph over their city rivals, the Waterloo Warriors.

The Golden Hawks have been cruising on offence and defence, ranking second and third in the OUA, respectively, on each side of the ball. They have the top-ranked quarterback in the conference in Mike Knevel, who leads the OUA with 346.2 yards per game and has thrown 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. The Lions are also strong under centre with Brett Hunchak, who is sixth with 210 yards per game and has five touchdowns and seven interceptions, including no picks in the last two weeks.

The Lions are looking for their first win over the Golden Hawks since a 33-20 victory in 2013, the team’s first contest on their new turf field.

Following the Oct. 5 game, the Lions will head out on the road for the final two weeks of the regular season. They will travel to Kingston, Ont., on Saturday, Oct. 14 for the Queen’s Homecoming game and will wrap up the season in Windsor, Ont., on Saturday, Oct. 21 against the winless Lancers.