It was a cold afternoon at TD Stadium on Saturday as the Western Mustangs and Laurier Golden Hawks met in the 110th Yates Cup.

But Cedric Joseph and the Western Mustangs were on fire all day, dominating the team that stole last year's Ontario University Athletics title from them, beating Laurier 75–32.

Mustangs kicker Marc Liegghio put the first points of the game on the board, hitting a 28-yard field goal to put Western up 3–0 early in the first quarter.

The Mustangs added to their lead four minutes later as Joseph found the end zone on a 12-yard run as Western went up 10–0.

However, the Golden Hawks answered in the opening frame, as a conceded safety for the Mustangs cut the lead to 10–2. Shortly after, Golden Hawks quarterback Michael Knevel found receiver Brentyn Hall for a 27-yard touchdown pass as Western's lead was cut to 10–9.

The Mustangs responded immediately as returner Mike Sananes ran a kickoff 95-yards to the house to increase the Western lead to 17–9.

The touchdown barrage in the first quarter didn't end there, however, as Knevel hit Brandon McCracken with a 74-yard bomb, and the first quarter ended with the Mustangs up 17–16. 

The second quarter opened with another Liegghio field goal, this time from 24-yards, putting the Mustangs at 20–16. 

After a long wait to repair a broken yardstick, the Mustangs struck again as quarterback Chris Merchant found Harry McMaster with a 59-yard touchdown pass to go up 27–16.

The Mustangs offense continued putting points on the board, with a 31-yard touchdown run from Joseph making the score 36–16 with four minutes left in the first half.

Western wouldn't take their foot off the pedal, as Merchant again found the end zone, this time on a 13-yard pass to Brett Ellerman. The first half ended with the Mustangs leading 43–16. 

The second half saw more of the same, as  Joseph continued his dominating performance, running the ball in 16-yards to add to the blowout, putting Western up 50–16. 

With 2:12 left in the third quarter Liegghio hit a 35-yard field goal to make it 53–16. 

Joseph continued tearing up the Golden Hawks run defence in the fourth, as a 42-yard rush preceded a one-yard Merchant touchdown run. With 12:27 left in the game, the Mustangs took the 61–24 lead.

With 9:12 to go, Yannick Harou scored on a 17-yard run to add to the lead as the Mustangs went up 68–24. 

Harou would add another touchdown, while the Golden Hawks would score on two garbage-time scores.

Joseph was named Yates Cup MVP, finishing the day with 250 yards on 21 rushes and three touchdowns. Merchant went 13-of-18 with 220 yards and two touchdown passes. McMaster led all receivers with 99 yards on four receptions. 

With the win, the Mustangs earn their 31st Yates Cup title in program history. They presumably face off against the Acadia Axemen in a national semifinal game next Saturday, barring a reinstatement of a Saint Mary's team that was punished for fielding ineligible players.


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