TORONTO, ON – This week the OUA produced some of the most entertaining football. Western and Queen’s Yates Cup rematch ended in dramatic fashion. Laurier’s Taylor Elgersma continues to impress. Windsor continue to cement themselves as Yates Cup contenders with a win over the University of Ottawa.
Nearly at the midway point of the OUA season, here are the 49 Sports power rankings post week four.
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 (-)
Western walked away from the Yates Cup rematch with Queen’s with a dramatic win. Down two with 13 seconds to left in the game, Evan Hillock linked up with Savaughn Magnaye-Jones for a 55-yard game-winning touchdown.
The Mustangs still maintain the best offense in the OUA (547 YPG). They racked up 403 yards against a Queen’s. this is the kind of offense a program like Western is used to producing. In a massive game, the big players came to play. Keon Edwards had 133 yards rushing, Evan Hillock threw for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Magnaye-Jones had over 100 yards receiving.
It remains clear that the Mustangs are leading the herd and a victory over a U SPORTS top 10 program like Queen’s is a big example of why. Although this game was a lot closer than their Yates Cup meeting, the gap is closing.
NEXT: Sept .23 vs. Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-1)
2. Laurier Golden Hawks (-)
Taylor Elgersma was back at it once again, last week he had six touchdown passes, and against Waterloo he had five. The Golden Hawks possess the best aerial attack in the entire conference. Elgersma leads the OUA in both yards (1253) and completion percentage (76.9%). He is first or second in most statistical measures used by the conference.
Laurier supports their lethal passing game with a rushing attack that ranks fifth in the OUA. Quentin Scott is their main guy when it comes to the ground, he ranks third in the conference in carries. None of this is possible without a solid offensive line, they deserve credit for giving Elgersma time to throw and giving Scott holes to hit.
The defense deserves a mention too, they are now tied with Windsor for the best points per game allowed (16.5). Laurier allows the fourth most yards per game (403.8), but it’s not really concerning in context.
In their two closest games (@ Queen’s and vs. Carleton) they allowed a lower amount of yards than their two blowout wins. Laurier’s explosive offense puts them in a lot of garbage-time situations. Remember the 2021 AFC Wild Card game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s very similar to that.
NEXT: Sept .23 vs. McMaster Marauders (1-3)
3. Windsor Lancers (-)
In a battle between two undefeated teams, Windsor came away with the win beating the University of Ottawa 41-32. An excellent start to the run of very tough games coming up for the Lancers. Their next matchups include Queen’s, Western, and Laurier.
Windsor was the first team to slow down Amlicar Polk. The Lancers defense held him to 108 yards. Outside of allowing a 49-yard touchdown run. Polk was held to 3.68 yards per carry for his remaining rushes.
Quarterback Danny Skelton is having a quietly good season. All the pageantry has revolved around Western’s Hillock and Laurier’s Elgersma, but Skelton has been keeping pace. He is very efficient completing 72.8 percent of his passes and he is fourth in yards (1064).
Windsor’s two-headed rushing monster Christopher John and Joey Zorn only combined for 102 yards this week. The two running backs are a huge reason the Lancers have the best run game in the OUA.
NEXT: Sept .23 vs. Queen’s Gaels (1-2)
4. Queen’s Gaels (-)
No one has had a tougher schedule in the opening four weeks of the OUA season than Queen’s. They opened the season against Laurier, then dominated Toronto, and then played the game of the season so far against Western. The Gaels were on the verge of handing the Mustangs their first OUA loss post-COVID, but a late touchdown spoiled that.
Above was the Western point of view of the game-winning score, but listen to the heartbreak of this Queen’s broadcast.
Although they suffered a devastating loss, there are positives. They are an example of their record not reflecting their level of play. Despite playing Laurier and Western, Queen’s allow the third least points per game (17.5). Their offense moves the ball well averaging 400 yards per game.
Their tough schedule continues as they play another of the U SPORTS top 10 when they travel to Windsor and play the Lancers. After that, their schedule seems to mellow out a bit.
NEXT: Sept .23 @ Windsor Lancers (4-0)
5. Ottawa Gee-Gees (-)
Undefeated no longer, Ottawa met a fellow undefeated squad in Windsor and took a loss. They held Windsor to an uncommonly low 116 yards on the ground and managed to score 31 points against a stingy defense.
Turnovers and a safety proved costly, 19 of Ottawa’s 41 points allowed came from turnovers. Ryan Licandro was intercepted twice, the Gee-Gees passing attack has not been up to par this season.
The running game has been immaculate with Amlicar Polk being the star of this Ottawa unit. Polk is the OUA leader in rush yards per game (146), 30 yards more than the next leading rusher.
A series of tough games are coming up for Ottawa that will truly test if they can be considered contenders. The Gee-Gees play the undefeated Western, then the Panda Game against cross-town rivals Carleton and another undefeated team in Laurier. All in the next three weeks.
NEXT: Sept .23 @ Western Mustangs (4-0)
6. Guelph Gryphons (+2)
Donavin Milloy has been a nice surprise and is the spearhead of the Gryphons’ rushing attack. Taking over the starting role at running back due to an injury, Milloy has made the most of the opportunity. He is the third-leading rusher in the OUA. The Gryphons’ running back had 106 yards in their 21-13 win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday.
Guelph managed to score 18 points off four turnovers. In the first half, they held McMaster to just three points. It was a huge defensive performance that was reminiscent of their week one win against the Varsity Blues.
Given what’s left off their schedule there is a real possibility that Guelph could make the playoffs. Quite the turnaround from last year’s 1-7 record.
NEXT: Sept .23 vs. York Lions (0-4)
7. Carleton Ravens (-)
The Ravens soared against York shutting out the Lions 52-0. A good bounce-back, week for Carleton after suffering losses against Western and Laurier. In the losses they managed to keep games close losing by just five and ten points in those matchups.
The game against York was anything but close. They were dominant in the win, which was expected. When the gap became large enough that a comeback was impossible, the Ravens elected to rotate starters and everyone got snaps.
The Ravens have one of the toughest schedules in the OUA facing four of the U SPORTS top ten teams.
NEXT: Sept .23 vs. Toronto Varsity Blues (0-3)
8. McMaster Marauders (-2)
McMaster flips positions with the team they lost against. Four weeks deep into the season the Marauders are 1-3 with losses to Guelph, Western, and Windsor and their lone win was against a struggling York squad.
McMaster’s pass-first offense has struggled to put up points. In two of their three losses, they’ve failed to put up 20 or more points. Points off turnovers plagued the Marauders, especially against Guelph. Ten total points scored off two interceptions, including a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the loss.
NEXT: Sept .23 @ Laurier Golden Hawks (4-0)
9. Waterloo Warriors (+1)
Despite losing by 20 points to Laurier, the Warriors offense garnered more than 400 against one of the best teams in the province. Regardless of the gap in score it is something to note. Waterloo average 406 yards per game which puts them among the top half of the OUA.
The defense, that’s a different story. The Warrior’s defense allows the second most points (36.3) and the fourth most yards (424.5).
Waterloo has had one of the toughest schedules through the first four weeks of the season. They’ve played Western, Ottawa, and Laurier so far. Coming up they have season-defining matchups against Guelph and McMaster.
10. Toronto Varsity Blues (-1)
The bye week could prove as a desperately needed reset for this Varsity Blues squad. Toronto was a playoff team last year, but this year it seems unlikely that they will repeat the feat. In their first three games, they have yet to register a win.
This offense is struggling, second last in yards per game (238.7). They haven’t had more than ten points in any of their games so far. If they are going to turn around their season the offensive side of the ball needs to be the primary focus
The defense isn’t too bad sitting middle of the pack when it comes to yards per game (391.3). They allow the fourth most points per game (30.0), but if the offense is not moving the ball the defense gets no rest.
Even when the possession battle is close, like in their season opener against Guelph. They didn’t put a lot of points on the board.
NEXT: Sept .23 @ Carleton Ravens (1-2)
11. York Lions (-)
York for the third time this season was shutout. They have points in just one of their four games. They scored 32 points against Waterloo and showed signs that things were improving, at least offensively. Alas, the Lions are right back to being in an incredibly bad spot.
They made a change at quarterback, with Brayden Jupe receiving the majority of snaps under center. Jupe saw the field a little bit against McMaster completing 43 percent of his passes. He improved this week completing 58 percent against Carleton.
NEXT: Sept .23 @ Guelph Gryphons (2-2)