The OUA Marquee Matchup of the Week returns to present you the Yates Cup grudge match as the Laurier Golden Hawks host the Western Mustangs in a rematch of the 109th Yates Cup final. Both teams have been firing on all cylinders and are the only remaining undefeated teams in OUA football regular season play. The Laurier Golden Hawks sit with 4 uncontested wins, while the Western Mustangs have a 5-0 record at the halfway mark of the season. This game will decide who the remaining undefeated program in the province will be.
Both teams have recorded very impressive stats in their opening games. During their 5-game win streak, the Mustangs have scored 243 points while only conceding 68 as they have outscored their opponents by 175 tallies. Western’s 68 points against is the second lowest in the league, below the McMaster Marauders (54). Not only has the Mustangs’ defense been impressive but also with their prolific offence, Western leads the league with 243 points, followed by the Waterloo Warriors with 203. The Laurier Golden Hawks have also posted impressive stats in their 4 inaugural victories. With 188 points for and 76 points against, the Golden Hawks have scored 112 more points than their counterparts. Laurier also currently holds the highest points in one game this season, as they were able to secure 71 points in the Battle of Waterloo last weekend.
The Mustangs enter this week after earning a convincing win against the Queen's Gaels this past Saturday during Western's Blackout night, walking away with a 48-10 victory. Decked out in all-black uniforms for the occasion, the Mustangs played what head coach Greg Marshall said was the team's most complete game of the season. In that matchup, Quarterback Chris Merchant had a strong outing against the Gaels with 309 total passing yards and two touchdown passes on the night. Running back Alex Taylor also played a big role in the win, rushing for 184 yards and adding one rushing and two receiving touchdowns to the box score. The Mustangs will be relying on Merchant and Taylor to propel their offence against the Golden Hawks.
While the Mustangs are coming off a big win over a traditional rival so too are the Golden Hawks, who handed the previously unbeaten Waterloo Warriors their first loss of the season, taking a 71-24 win in the Battle of Waterloo. During this game, the Golden Hawks set a season-high 282 yards on the ground. Laurier will be looking to use their offensive threats to breakdown the Mustang defense. Michael Knevel will be commanding the offense, as he will look to produce the same magic as last year’s Yates Cup final that lifted them over the Mustangs. Knevel leads the nation with 353.5 passing yards per game and ranks fourth with nine touchdown passes through four games. While Knevel has no shortage of weapons to choose from on offence, his preferred target is Kurleigh Gittens Jr. whose 31 receptions are the most in the nation and he also ranks in the top in both yards (408) and yards per game (102).
The Golden Hawks defense has also proven to be impressive this season, allowing the sixth-fewest points per game at 19 per contest, while also ranking in the top 10 giving up only 341.6 yards per game, and tallying the third most sacks with 16. The defense of both teams will be something to marvel at throughout the game, as both sides have locked down opponents to date. However, when it comes to defense, the Mustangs have been on another level as the team is second in the country in defensive touchdowns, fourth in points allowed per game, and first in yards allowed per game.
Kick-off is at 1:00 pm at Wilfred Laurier’s University Stadium. If you cannot attend, be sure to tune into OUA.tv for this Marquee Matchup and all other action from around the league.