The Western Mustangs won the 115th Yates Cup on Saturday, with a 29-14 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks, lifting the cup for the third year in a row and for the 35th time in history.
In a tightly contested battle, Laurier held the lead at 14-8 by halftime. The MVP of the game and Dalt White Trophy winner was kicker Brian Garrity, a third-year management and organizational studies student, who scored six field goals.
The win, said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall, was a tribute to the resiliency and dedication of the team.
“You look at the season as a whole, we have played a lot of close games and had to find a way to win them and today we just found a different way to win it,” he said.
The game started out a little slow with a Garrity field goal and a safety giving Western a 5-0 lead after the first quarter.
Laurier would respond in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns, both involving 2023 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) MVP Taylor Elgersma, giving the Golden Hawks a 14-5 lead late in the quarter.
There was a tense moment in the second quarter when Mustangs starting quarterback and third-year King’s University College student Evan Hillock was sacked just ahead of the 10-minute mark. He didn’t return to the field before half-time.
Garrity hit his second field goal of the game with just under a minute to play in the first half to pull Western within six points at the break.
Hillock returned at the beginning of the second half and played for the remainder of the game.
The Mustangs dominated the third quarter including two more field goals by Garrity, but the highlight was a 51-yard reception from Hillock to Robertson, which gave the Mustangs their first and only touchdown of the game and the lead at 21-14.
After Garrity opened the fourth quarter with his fifth field goal of the game, he would score a 45-yard field goal to seal the victory margin.
“Every year is special. We graduated some absolutely amazing players last year. Everyone had to come out and write their own history today and I am pretty proud of this entire team,” said Mustangs offensive lineman and third-year student Alex Berwick.
The Mustangs now head to Montreal next weekend as the RSEQ Champion Montreal Carabin beat Laval 12-6 and will host the 20th edition of the UTECK Bowl, the U SPORTS national semi-final game, on Nov. 18.