Western Defeat Laurier and remain top of the OUA Power Rankings

TORONTO, ON – The regular season has come to a close and with that comes the final edition of 49 Sports OUA football power rankings. Western remains undefeated heading into a first-round bye. The quarter-finals are now set. Nine weeks of football boiled down into this list.

While U SPORTS posts a weekly ranking based on media voting and an ELO system, 49 Sports’ Cameron Moore will publish power rankings each week throughout the season.

1. Western Mustangs (-)

Another undefeated season for the Western Mustangs extending their post-COVID dominance. There was a brief break of the invincibility in the third quarter of their game against Laurier. Up 27-0, the Mustangs conceded 28 points in the third quarter. They showed resolve and still managed to pull out a win.

(Brandon VandeCaveye / Western Mustangs Athletics)

What the win against Laurier proved is that anyone can contribute. Receiver Brandon Misseri had seven catches and a touchdown, adding to the many receiving threats this team possesses. No Keanu Yazbeck, only three carries from Keon Edwards. Ethan Dolby and Troy Thompson filled in and put in a shift in the backfield.

This team has some of the finest players in the conference, but their true strength was the next-man-up mentality that was on full display. That even extends to the backup quarterback Jerome Rancourt who threw the game-winning touchdown.

2. Laurier Golden Hawks (-)

Laurier ended up with a 7-1 record claiming the second seed after nearly beating Western. The floor and ceiling of this team were on exhibit. The floor was the first half, failing to score and falling into a 27-point hole. The ceiling was the third quarter, flawless execution from all sides of the ball. The offense cooked, special teams scored a touchdown off a blocked punt and the defense shut down the Mustangs.

They are still among the favourites to take home the Yates Cup and showed they can hang with Western. The Golden Hawks bring a supercharged offense with multiple playmakers into the playoffs. Laurier is first in points, yards, and yards per passing attempt. When a team has players like Taylor Elgersma and Ethan Jordan, the potential is endless.

Elgersma had a historic campaign, setting several records. The third-year quarterback broke Tre Ford’s OUA completion percentage record. His 2,641 passing yards is a new program record and is the first Laurier quarterback with over 200 completions.

3. Queen’s Gaels (-)

The Queen’s rushing attack has been electric. Jared Chisari led the OUA in rush yards this season and (1178) and has several games with over 200 yards on the ground. He set the Queen’s single-season rushing record too. Anthony Soles has been chipping in since returning to the lineup. His nine rushing touchdowns lead the OUA and has been great as a change of pace back.

(Robin Kasem / Queen’s Gaels Athelics)

Since losing Alex Vreeken, they haven’t been able to throw the ball. However, with a running game and solid defense, it hasn’t held them back. The Gaels are 4-1 since the Vreeken injury. The defense has allowed only 20 points in one of those games.

Their midseason surge successfully landed them high enough in the standings to host a first-round playoff game.

4. Windsor Lancers (-)

Windsor is heading into the playoffs on a high note beating York 69-0. It was a nice way to get back into the win column after dropping back-to-back games to Western and Laurier.

The Lancers excel at getting to the quarterback leading the OUA in sacks (34). 13 more than the next-best team. Kolade Amusan has been a stud on the defensive line, leading U SPORTS in sacks (11.5) and second in tackles-for-loss (12.5). The defense has been the best in the conference, allowing the least amount of yards per game (291.0), and second-least points per game (16.5).

(Connor Sykes / Windsor Lancers Athletics)

Offensively this unit has been great on the ground, their 210 yards per game is third-best in the OUA. They have a backfield full of talent, Christopher John, Joey Zorn, and Weabge Mombo have all been significant contributors.

5. Carleton Ravens (+1)

Carleton is coming off back-to-back comeback wins heading into the postseason. This week the Ravens rallied from a 13-point deficit with just over two minutes left to beat Guelph. This played a part in Guelph not making the playoffs.

Quarterback Tristan Lefebvre was the catalyst for the comebacks and has been excellent this season. To emphasize the clutch factor of Lefebvre, 156 of his 221 passing yards versus Guelph came in the final two minutes of the game. He is the signal caller behind the third-passing offense in the OUA.

Only allowing 334.5 yards per game, Carleton’s defense ranks among the top three. However, Windsor is an unfavourable quarter-final matchup. Carleton gives up the fourth-most rush yards per game (163.0), while Windsor is the third-best team on the ground averaging 210.5 yards per game.

6. Ottawa Gee-Gees (-1)

Without Amlicar Polk the offense regressed against Queen’s. It’s not shocking they only scored eight points, a strong running game has been a staple of the Gee-Gees offense all year. This game should have been an Ottawa win. Josh Janssen threw two interceptions in the end zone, which proved costly only losing by four.

Since Janssen took over under center, the Ottawa passing attack has looked solid. He is fifth in passing yards per game (237.2) and has completed roughly 67 percent of his passes. Janssen has been an upgrade over previous quarterbacks. He just needs to take care of the football better, averaging more than interception a game.

Ottawa’s defense allows the most yards per game out of all playoff teams (408.4), it’s also the second most in the entire OUA. A key thing to watch for their rematch with Queen’s is if they can contain Jared Chisari.

7. Waterloo Warriors (+1)

Waterloo won some key matches to earn themselves a playoff spot. The Warriors came back from an eight-point deficit to beat the Toronto Varsity Blues. Mixed with the Gryphons’ loss meant playoffs. They are one of two teams in the postseason with a negative point differential.

(Kha Vo / Waterloo Warriors Athletics)

Nick Orr’s 269 passing yards against Toronto was the second most he had all season. The most came earlier in the season in a losing effort to Laurier.

Tyson Hergott has been one of the best defensive players in the conference. Hergott was second in sacks (11) and leads in tackles-for-loss (14). He’s going to need to carry his excellent regular season form into the playoffs if Waterloo is to have any chance at the first-round upset.

8. Guelph Gryphons (-1)

Guelph controlled their own fate walking into the nation’s capital, but they collapsed in the final minutes against Carleton. That and Waterloo’s win knocked Guelph out of the playoffs. Guelph improved on their 1-7 from the season previous.

Finishing with a 3-5 record is an improvement, but the more important thing is the foundations are laid for this program to become a playoff team. Donavin Milloy was a breakout star for the Gryphons, he was one of two players to rush for over 1,000 yards this campaign. Tristan Aboud had a couple solid games including throwing for 277 yards against Laurier. Aboud, being a first-year starter, he’s just going to continue to develop.

Next season, the expectation is that Guelph gets back to playoff football.

9. Toronto Varsity Blues (-1)

The Varsity Blues regressed in a big way this year. Last year this unit carried a 4-4 record into the postseason. The loss to Waterloo meant that Toronto finished with a 2-6 record and ninth place in the OUA.

The offenses stagnated, having the second-worst yards per game (287.8). They switched quarterbacks halfway through the season, but still couldn’t get things going in the right direction.

Six touchdowns has made the defense a bright spot of this team. The defense has scored more than 20 percent of the teams points. They finished with the eighth ranked defense allowing around 395 yards per game. A better total then teams ahead of them in standings.

10. McMaster Marauders (-)

McMaster finished up their season a few weeks ago with a 23-9 loss to Ottawa and finished the season with a 2-6 record. They finished tenth in the power rankings and tenth in the OUA power rankings.

Their pass-first offense has led to plenty of opportunities for Jackson Cooling. the wideout is fourth in the OUA in catches (49), and seventh in yards (544). Since losing Jacob Patten, Cooling became the favourite target of third-year quarterback Keagan Hall.

Hall threw the ball a ton this season. McMaster’s signal caller finished second in pass attempts (262), more than quarterbacks like Hillock and Lefebvre. Being in his third year McMaster’s starting gunslinger will be back under center for another year. Joining him next season are both of his top targets.

11. York Lions (-)

It was a very unremarkable season for the Lions failing to record a single win. They ended their season exactly how the majority of their games went, getting shut out.

There isn’t anything new to add that has not been said in a previous edition of these power rankings. The good news is the pain is over, there are no more games left for York this year. The focus shifts to making sure a season like this never happens again. The staff needs to nail recruiting, a hard task considering how the last two seasons have gone.

Leave a Reply