TORONTO, ON – The first week of the U SPORTS OUA football season is in the books, and the Western Mustangs continue to look like the class of the organization. While U SPORTS posts a weekly ranking based off media voting and an ELO system, 49 Sports’ Cameron Moore will publish power rankings each week throughout the season.
1. Western Mustangs
The defending Yates Cup champions opened their season with an 83-0 win against York. The Mustangs moved the ball at will, putting up 700 yards of total offense. The 83-point margin of victory is the largest in program history.
Western quarterback Evan Hillock threw for 305 yards and five touchdowns. These stats led to Hillock being named OUA offensive player of the week. Running back Keon Edwards led the way on the ground with 129 yards, Keanu Yazbeck and Troy Thompson both rushed for over 80 yards.
Western’s defense forced three turnovers including two interceptions. York could not muster any offense.
NEXT: Sept. 3 vs. McMaster Marauders (0-1)
2. Laurier Golden Hawks
A week one victory over last year’s Yates Cup finalist lands the Golden Hawks in the two spot. Laurier only scored 11 points, but that was good enough to hold off Queen’s. The lack of points on Laurier’s side was due to an inability to finish drives off with touchdowns. They still moved the ball well enough to give kicker Dawson Hodge six field goal attempts.
The Golden Hawks only allowed 10 points, which lands them joint second in the least points allowed. After week one, Laurier possesses the third-best run defense. Their pass defense also ranks third.
NEXT: Sept. 3 vs. Carleton (0-0)
3. Guelph Gryphons
It’s hard to tell that this team finished 1-7 last year. A mix of a healthy roster and new players sparked the Gryphons to a 33-1o win over the Toronto Varsity Blues.
Guelph started camp with six rookie quarterbacks, Tristan Aboud earned his way to the starting job and was impressed. In his debut, the Montreal native threw for 200 yards and rushed for 59 yards. He did throw an interception, but it was in and out of the receiver’s hands. Despite losing starting running back Isaiah Smith early, the Gryphons still rushed for over 200 yards.
The return of Anthony Moretuzzo spearheaded the Guelph defense. He was the best player on the field, getting to the quarterback twice, having an interception, and led his team in tackles. His performance earned himself OUA defensive player of the week.
NEXT: Sept. 3 @ Windsor (1-0)
4. Windsor Lancers
Three total touchdowns from Lancers’ quarterback Danny Skelton pushed them to a 21-17 win over McMaster Marauders. Skelton’s day wasn’t perfect, he threw a pair of picks. The rushing attack was solid with Christopher John and Joey Zorn combining for over 150 yards.
Defending the run is paramount in the OUA and Windsor held McMaster to under 100 yards. The Lancers’ pass rush got to the Marauders quarterback Keagan Hall twice. They held Hall to a completion percentage of around 50 and intercepted him once.
NEXT: Sept. 3 vs. Guelph (1-0)
5. Queen’s Gaels
Not an ideal start to the season for the Yates Cup finalist. The last time played Laurier was in the OUA semi-finals where they dominated the Golden Hawks. This year a game-winning rouge by Hawks’ kicker Dawson Hodge handed the Gaels an opening day loss, in an 11-10 low scoring affair.
Laurier and Queen’s put up similar yardage on the ground, but the passing game is where there was major separation. Golden Hawks’ Taylor Elgersma was able to throw for 284 yards, completing 76 percent of his passes. While Gaels’ Alex Vreeken completed 62 percent of his passes, only for 169 yards.
The Gaels felt the loss of Anthony Soles. Last season Soles averaged over 80 yards per game on the ground. The Queen’s committee ran for 99 as a unit.
Queen’s lost, but it was a close game against a very tough opponent.
6. Ottawa Gee-Gees
The Ottawa Gee-Gees secondary picked off Waterloo quarterback Nolan Kaban four times. One of those picks was taken back for a touchdown. Despite the large amount of turnovers, the Gee-Gees allowed more yards than they gained. They gave up 336 yards to the Warriors, the most allowed for any winning team.
After week one, Ottawa running back Amlicar Polk leads the OUA in rushing yards (142), averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Polk leads all of USPORTS in rushing yards. He filled the shoes of former Gee-Gees’ back JP Cimankanda nicely. Their passing game was solid early with Ben Maracle under center, but fell off when he was replaced by Ryan Licandro. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw a pick.
NEXT: Sept. 3 @ Toronto Varsity Blues (0-1)
7. McMaster Marauders
It took McMaster a very long time to finally find the end zone, 57 minutes to be exact. The Marauders moved the ball fine with 268 yards of offense. McMaster had a couple of long drives of ten or more plays that they couldn’t turn into six points. Drives stalling in the red zone was the difference.
The Marauders led their game with the Lancers early, but couldn’t hold the lead for long. turning one of those early field goals into a touchdown could have made this a very different game.
McMaster lost the turnover battle, losing a fumble and throwing an interception. Ultimately, it was the little things that cost the Marauders dearly in their opening game.
NEXT: Sept .3 @ Western Mustangs (1-0)
8. Toronto Varsity Blues
The Varsity Blues were stunned by the new look Guelph Gryphons. Toronto had no answers on the ground for what proved to be a stingy Gryphons defense. Toronto had the second-fewest yards out of any OUA offense in week one, and the least on the ground.
The Varsity Blues scored only three points in the opening three quarters, and like McMaster it took them until the fourth quarter to reach the end zone. Their lone touchdown of the game came from a pass from backup quarterback Scott Barnett to Jared Currie with about four seconds left in the game.
NEXT: Sept .3 vs. Ottawa Gee-Gees (1-0)
9. Waterloo Warriors
Waterloo didn’t have too much issue moving the ball against Ottawa, however turnovers proved costly. The Warriors managed to put up over 300 yards of offense in their 29-10 loss to the Gee-Gees.
Quarterback Nolan Kaban threw four interceptions, and the offense lost four fumbles for a total of eight turnovers. Ottawa were able to capitalize on the turnovers with great field position, and even ran an interception back for a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, they made passing difficult for the Gee-Gees, but had no answer for the ground game giving up 142 yards to Amlicar Polk.
If the Warriors are to improve on their record from last year, ball security needs to be a priority.
NEXT: Sept .3 vs York Lions (0-1)
10. York Lions
There’s not a lot that can be said after taking an 83-0 loss. Everything that could of went wrong for the Lions did go wrong. At the end of the first half the Lions trailed by 52 points.
They were bested by the defending Yates Cup champions, and it won’t be the last time Western assert their dominance this season. However, there’s no way to spin a loss of that magnitude.
York’s defense allowed Western to put up 754 yards, the most yards allowed by any OUA team by a significant margin.
NEXT: Sept .3 @ Waterloo Warriors (0-1)
UNRANKED: Carleton Ravens
It is appropriate for just this weak to leave Carleton out of the power rankings. It doesn’t feel fair to rank a team that has not stepped on the field for a regular season game.
There’s an old expression about assumptions, and to avoid that entirely the Ravens will be omitted from 49 Sports’ initial power rankings. They will enter to ranking when they make their season debut in week two.
NEXT: Sept .3 @ Laurier Golden Hawks (1-0)