Preview: Western @ Guelph – more than just another game

108th Yates Cup Photo: Lou Toppan

108th Yates Cup
Photo: Lou Toppan

The Mustangs come in with a 3-1 record and the Gryphons are 2-2 but most everyone recognizes this as a matchup of top OUA teams. They were unanimously the favourites in all of the OUA’s preseason polls. This is a rematch of the 108th Yates Cup. In fact, there hasn’t been a Yates Cup since 2006 without one of these teams in it.

As always, there will be implications for playoff seeding with this game. Fans of either team both have to prefer that any playoff rematch would be on their home turf. And with more OUA teams appearing to be competitive this season every win is going to matter. Another Guelph loss and the chances of a home playoff game will be close to disappearing.

These are not the same teams that met in last year’s Yates. Western is sporting a new starting QB in NCAA transfer Chris Merchant. He’s the most notable new face but they have new starters throughout their lineup – all levels of their D, a couple of OLs and a receiver or two. That’s not quite as extensive as the Gryphons makeover but I look for both teams to real threats for the Yates Cup by playoff time.

My Take on this Game:

The short version: I expect it to be a good one. It could be quite close. Of course, I expect the Gryphons to win.

I’m optimistic. In part, because when I look at the OUA Week 5 Depth Charts for this weekend’s games, I see the strongest lineup that the Gryphons have fielded so far this year. I admit to being fooled a few times by the depth charts but the signs are all positive.

I think the real question this game may shift to the defense. Can they shut down the Western running game as easily as they did the last time they met? Our new linebacking corps has been very good so far. We have yet to face a team with a run game that rivals the Mustangs. While the Stangs have been very run-oriented I think they will be prepared to pass the ball more. Greg Marshall loves the play action pass.

I expect a good performance from the Gryphon offense.

Game previews & related links:

Gryphons.caGryphons & Mustangs Battle in 2016 Homecoming Game

GUELPH, ON – The weather forecast looks good. The opponent is a storied rival. The game will be nationally televised from coast-to-coast on City TV.

The stage is officially set.

… Although Western has been dominant in OUA play in recent years, it is the Gryphons who are the ones who own recent bragging rights in this series as they have won each of the last four head-to-head meetings with the Mustangs.

WesternMustangs.ca: Western visits Guelph in Yates Cup rematch

LONDON, Ont. – The Mustangs will return to action this weekend for their second straight contest on the road as they travel to Guelph to rehash one of the OUA’s fastest growing rivalries. The matchup, which is taking place as part of Guelph’s homecoming celebrations, is a rematch of the dramatic 2015 Yates Cup in which the Gryphons secured a 23-17 win for their fourth Ontario championship in school history. In fact, The Mustangs will be looking for revenge on the Gryphons for ushering the Mustangs out of the OUA playoffs the last two seasons.

A feature story from the CIS website: Yates Cup rematch set for Guelph’s Homecoming

And from the London Free PressThe team welcomes the stiff competition … after taking down Gaels – some talk about the Queen’s game and the upcoming schedule …

The Mustangs escaped with a 27-13 win over the Gaels but not without some anxious moments. The game showed that the Mustangs have a lot of work to do heading into the really tough part of their schedule.

… the Mustangs offence is still a long way from the slick machine of years past. While the defence did a good enough job to win, they are still missing too many tackles and left a few too many Queen’s receives running free.

It’s been a long time since a Mustang offence was as conservative as it was on Saturday. Some of it was the weather, but a lot of it is attempting to keep things as easy as possible while starting quarterback and new boy Chris Merchant picks up the system.

… the Mustangs are going into the part of the season where it will be difficult to hide their deficiencies without paying for them.

They have Guelph and Ottawa on the road and Laurier and McMaster at home. Ottawa, Laurier and McMaster are all ranked nationally. Guelph will eventually work their way back into the Top 10.

“We have four tough games but that’s good,” Marshall said. “We want to play those games and be battle tested when you get into the playoffs. Right now it’s wide open. I don’t think anyone thought there would be this much parity in our conference.”

Recent Series History:

Guelph has had competitive games with Western for the last decade but that didn’t always add up to victories. But that included a 5-game losing streak from 2008 to 2011. The Gryphons current 4-game winning streak is frequently mentioned in the run-up to tomorrow’s game. According to a CIS source, Western leads the all-time series 43-15-12.

Flush the Mustangs

2015 – 23-17  Guelph [Yates Cup]
2014 – 51-26  Guelph [Semi-final]
2014 – 49-46  Guelph
2013 – did not play
2012 – 42-39  Guelph
2011 –  33-29  Western
2010 –  15-8  Western
2009 –  41-39  Western
2008 –  47-16  Western
2007 –  31-17  Guelph

Broadcast options:

The game will be broadcast nationally on City TV. That broadcast will be streamed on-line via OUA.tv.

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2 Responses to Preview: Western @ Guelph – more than just another game

  1. Bob from Burlington says:

    Peter- this game should be a good one and positioned in the schedule more like 2012 when Western spotted Guelph a huge lead to start the game. This year against a common team- Queen’s Gaels- both Western and Guelph had big running games and modest passing. Western looked very porous against the short to medium pass and gave up 244 yards. Guelph gave up 269 yards against Nate Hobbs in their game against Queen’s so we shall see!

    BTW- you inadvertently forgot another 2007 Western/ Guelph tilt – and that was a 34-21 win by Western for Yates Cup- at Alumni Stadium.
    Western opened the season that year 0-4 with some weird finishes in those games and most of us were just happy to meet Guelph in the Yates!

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