It all comes down to this.
The Western University Mustangs men’s football team will travel to Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ont. for the 113th Yates Cup today at 1 p.m., squaring off against the Queen’s University Gaels in order to determine who is the best of the best in Ontario University Athletics.
The Mustangs carry a 5–1 record into this afternoon's contest, losing to the University of Guelph Gryphons in week two. The Gaels are no slouches either, coming into the Yates Cup undefeated, smashing their way through the OUA East with relative ease. Queen’s dispatched the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in their OUA semifinal, giving them the chance to close out their perfect season at home.
“Queen’s don’t beat themselves,” says Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall. “They have not fumbled the ball all year, they don’t throw many interceptions and they are well-coached.”
HIGHLIGHTS 🎥 | @Queens_Football defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees yesterday afternoon to secure a Yates Cup Final berth!The Gaels host the Yates Cup next Saturday at 1 PM! Get tickets early to get the best available seats: https://t.co/tTz0Sd3cFT#ChaGheill | #herecomesqueensu pic.twitter.com/BLusYlkcqe— Queen's Gaels (@queensgaels) November 14, 2021
Queen’s threw the second fewest interceptions in the OUA throughout the regular season, only turning the ball over four times through the air.
Meanwhile, Western’s identity remains the same as it always has been under coach Marshall: running the ball and staunch defence.
The Mustangs offence ran for 1,561 yards this season, far and away the most in the nation. Their 260.2 average rushing yards per game also leads U Sports by a wide margin. Western's defence allows more points per game than the Gaels, but as coach Marshall suggested on Thursday, the Mustangs may have had to take the harder route of the two teams.
“I think we had some tough games, overall the West was a little bit stronger than the East, but it usually is, at the end of the day I think it helps us a little bit, playing those tougher games,” he says.
TOUCHDOWN MUSTANGS!!Trey Humes takes the ball and finds a path to the end zone to regain the lead.2nd QUARTER l 08:31 REMAINING WAT l 17WES l 21#RunWithUs #WesternMustangs #WATvsWES pic.twitter.com/b9pmiqUc7n— Western Mustangs (@WesternMustangs) November 6, 2021
Western’s offence is by far the best Queen’s will face up to this point by a wide margin, with the Mustangs' 523.8 yards per game and 28 touchdowns, handily leading the OUA.
Whatever comes their way, the Western will be ready.
“It’s a genuine family and a treat to be here, the energy is different this year and we’re really excited to get this opportunity,” says Mustangs defensive end and newly minted OUA lineman of the year, Deionte Knight.
“With all we’ve been through, the fact we get an opportunity to play for the Yates Cup is huge, and I just can’t wait till gameday gets here,” Marshall says.