While top-ranked Western (1-0) and No. 3 Montreal (1-0) both enjoy an early break on Labour Day weekend, the second-seeded Laval Rouge et Or hope to improve to 2-0 on the young campaign with a win over visiting Concordia before their much-anticipated Week 3 matchup against the Carabins, on Sept. 8.
The Week 2 schedule is also highlighted by a pair of top-10 confrontations, including No. 5 Calgary (0-0) at No. 10 Regina (0-0) on Friday night and No. 4 Laurier (1-0) at No. 9 Queen’s (1-0) on Sunday evening.
Here is a game-by-game look at all Week 2 matchups as well as a detailed schedule, including all television broadcast and webcast info.
OFF THIS WEEK
- No. 1 Western (1-0), No. 3 Montreal (1-0), Mount Allison (1-0).
No. 5 Calgary (0-0) at No. 10 Regina (0-0)
The skinny: The reigning two-time Canada West champion Dinos won both head-to-head duels last season, 46-26 at home and 42-30 in Regina… Calgary has won seven consecutive season openers since a loss to Saskatchewan in 2010, although the Dinos ended up forfeiting their Week 1 victory over Alberta in 2014 due to an eligibility infraction… Calgary only returns five starters on offence and five on defence after a large senior class and eight CFL draft picks moved on from the program in the off-season… Regina should be as explosive as ever on offence with the return of 10 starters, including Hec Crighton-winning quarterback Noah Picton and running back Atlee Simon, a 2018 CFL draft pick of the Calgary Stampeders… Keep an eye on (Calgary): After spending time at the Stampeders’ training camp as part of the CFL-U SPORTS internship program, Adam Sinagra enters his second season as the Dinos’ starting pivot hoping to improve on his already-impressive numbers from the 2017 regular campaign, when he racked up 2,447 passing yards and 18 TD tosses in eight games… Keep an eye on (Regina): Entering his final season with the Rams, Picton, who was a first-team all-Canadian for the second straight year in 2017, needs 12 TD passes to break the Canada West career record and is only 160 yards shy of becoming the sixth player in U SPORTS history to reach the 10,000 plateau.
Alberta (0-0) at Saskatchewan (0-0)
The skinny: Alberta hopes to build on its impressive second half in 2017, when the Golden Bears won three of their last four games after starting the season 0-4 to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2010… Saskatchewan had a challenging campaign last fall under first-year head coach Scott Flory, losing its final six games following a 2-0 start to miss out on the post-season for the first time since 2000… The old rivals split their regular season series in 2017, with Saskatchewan prevailing 43-17 and Alberta taking the rematch 49-23, both on home turf… The Bears enter the post-Ed Ilnicki era following the graduation of their Hec Crighton-winning running back, while the Huskies graduated record-setting receiver Mitch Hillis… Keep an eye on (Alberta): Fifth-year quarterback Brad Baker was stellar in the second half of the 2017 regular schedule, throwing for 1,473 yards and 14 touchdowns in four games… Keep an eye on (Saskatchewan): Quarterback Kyle Siemens, also in his fifth and final year of eligibility, led Canada West in both TD passes (19) and passing yards (2,572) a year ago, setting a single-season school record in the latter category.
Acadia (0-0) at StFX (0-1)
The skinny: Despite a lopsided national semifinal loss to Western, the 2017 season was a successful one for Acadia, which finished first in the AUS standings with a 6-2 record before capturing its first conference title since 2012 thanks to a thrilling double-overtime triumph over Saint Mary’s… The Axemen’s turnaround campaign included a convincing two-game sweep against StFX, 38-24 on the road and 35-17 on home turf… The two teams also met earlier this month in preseason action, in Antigonish, with Acadia once again prevailing, by a 15-4 score… In their regular season opener last week in Halifax, the X-Men gave up 10 unanswered points to Saint Mary’s in the final seven minutes en route to a 20-13 loss… Keep an eye on (Acadia): Fourth-year running back Dale Wright was named the AUS MVP last season after he led the conference in yards (1,030) and touchdowns (6) on the ground… Keep an eye on (StFX): Sophomore defensive back Cole Virtanen opened the campaign with a pair of interceptions against Saint Mary’s.
Concordia (0-0) at No. 2 Laval (1-0)
The skinny: In a 14-1 season-opening win at Sherbrooke last Friday, the usually-explosive Laval offence never found its rhythm as it produced fewer total yards (221 to 235) and first downs (11 to 17) than its opponents and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since the 2014 Dunsmore Cup final… Ahead of a much-anticipated Week 3 matchup against archrival Montreal on Sept. 8, the Rouge et Or host Concordia, a rival they have defeated 29 straight times overall – including 12-8 and 46-14 regular season victories last fall – dating back to a 38-30 road loss on Oct. 4, 2003… Saturday night’s game under the lights in Quebec City will mark the official U SPORTS head coaching debut of new Concordia mentor Brad Collinson, who previously spent eight years as an assistant with Laval… Keep an eye on (Concordia): Sophomore quarterback Adam Vance, who completed 51 of 90 passes in limited action in his rookie campaign, takes over from former conference MVP Trenton Miller as the team’s starting pivot… Keep an eye on (Laval): Fifth-year quarterback Hugo Richard, a former Vanier Cup MVP and two-time RSEQ player of the year, struggled in his 2018 opener (12 of 24 for 122 yards) but still managed to move to within 322 of Benoit Groulx’s team record of 8,530 career passing yards.
Manitoba (0-0) at No. 6 UBC (0-0)
The skinny: UBC is coming off three straight appearances in the Canada West final, a streak which started with the Thunderbirds’ magical run to the Vanier Cup championship in Blake Nill’s first season at the helm, in 2015… At the other end of the spectrum, Manitoba has missed the playoffs each of the past two years, including a disappointing 2-6 campaign last fall… The T-Birds swept the two-game head-to-head series a year ago, 32-18 in Vancouver and 17-16 in Winnipeg, and are currently riding a six-game winning streak against the Bisons dating back to a 20-10 conference loss on Sept. 20, 2014… Keep an eye on (Manitoba): Fifth-year senior Jayden McKoy, who will suit up at safety this fall after earning a Canada West all-star nod playing halfback last season, has 13 career interceptions, just three shy of the school record… Keep an eye on (UBC): Considered a top prospect for the 2019 CFL draft, fourth-year receiver Trivel Pinto was named a Canada West all-star both on offence and special teams last season after he led the T-Birds in receiving yards (717) and all-purpose yards (1,056).
Saint Mary’s (1-0) at Bishop’s (0-1)
The skinny: Saint Mary’s won both head-to-head contests convincingly in 2017, which marked Bishop’s first season in the AUS, prevailing 40-21 on the road and 55-11 on home turf… The Huskies are looking to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008, when they won their first five league games en route to a 7-1 record (note: Saint Mary’s started 2-0 a year ago but later forfeited both wins due to an ineligibility infraction)… Despite a 36-22 loss to Mount Allison in their season opener, the Gaiters edged their opponents in numerous statistical categories, including first downs, total offence, passing yards and time of possession… Keep an eye on (Saint Mary’s): Third-year kicker Brian Hope, who led the AUS last fall with 19 field goals in eight conference games, added four more last week in the Huskies’ opener, including the game-winner with 91 seconds remaining in regulation… Keep an eye on (Bishop’s): Fourth-year receiver Nathan Walker, a 2017 AUS all-star, picked up where he left off a year ago with six catches for 100 yards against Mount Allison, including a 35-yard touchdown.
Waterloo (1-0) at Toronto (0-0)
The skinny: After placing third in Ontario and fourth in the country last year in both points scored (37.4) and yards (493.4) per game, Waterloo kicked off the 2018 season with a spectacular 53-37 home win over Windsor, scoring 31 points in the second quarter alone and finishing with 578 yards of total offence… In 2017, as they started 4-0 before losing four straight en route to a .500 record, the Warriors beat Toronto 28-23 on home turf… That loss to Waterloo sparked a six-game losing streak to end the season for Toronto, which finished with a 1-7 mark… Saturday’s contest will mark the Varsity Blues head coaching debut of Greg Marshall, a former Queen’s defensive coordinator with 20 years of CFL experience… Keep an eye on (Waterloo): Quarterback Tre Ford (7 total TDs: 6 passing, 1 rushing) and receiver Tyler Ternowski (11 catches for 289 yards and one TD) were named U SPORTS co-players of the week on offence for Week 1… Keep an eye on (Toronto): Fourth-year defensive back Nick Hallett led the country last season with 54 solo tackles in eight league games.
Sherbrooke (0-1) at McGill (0-1)
The skinny: Both teams will look to rebound following opening-week losses on home turf, a 14-1 defeat against Laval for Sherbrooke and a 33-0 blanking at the hands of Montreal for McGill… The Redmen were completely shut down by the stingy Montreal defence, gaining only 53 yards of total offence, while the Vert & Or also failed to reach the end zone against Laval despite holding the advantage in first downs, total offence and time of possession… McGill and Sherbrooke split their regular season series in 2017, with the Redmen winning 18-16 on the road in Week 2 and the Vert & Or returning the favour in Week 7 with a 35-27 success at Percival Molson Stadium… Keep an eye on (Sherbrooke): Rookie defensive back Alexandre Gravel-Vermet was stellar in his university debut with 4.5 tackles, including two for losses, one sack, one forced fumble and a pass breakup… Keep an eye on (McGill): Third-year DB Antoine Mongeau was equally impressive against Montreal with a game-high nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks.
No. 4 Laurier (1-0) at No. 9 Queen’s (1-0)
The skinny: Both teams won somewhat comfortably in their season debuts, with Laurier downing visiting Ottawa 39-21 and Queen’s doubling York 42-21 in Toronto… In 2017, the Golden Hawks beat the Gaels 40-17 in Kingston in mid-September to extend their modest head-to-head winning streak to three games dating back to a 40-34 conference loss – also in Kingston – in 2013… In his 30th season as a U SPORTS head coach and his 19th with Queen’s, Pat Sheahan claimed his 100th overall win with the Gaels last week and his 154 total victories rank him second among active bench bosses behind Laval’s Glen Constantin (166)… Keep an eye on (Laurier): After setting a single-season U SPORTS record with 75 receptions a year ago, reigning OUA MVP Kurleigh Gittens Jr. hit the 150 mark for his career last Sunday thanks to an eight-catch, 129-yard effort against Ottawa… Keep an eye on (Queen’s): Fifth-year quarterback Nate Hobbs, who led the country in touchdown passes (21) and topped the OUA in passing yards (2,570) last season, got off to a strong start against York with three TD tosses and 320 yards.
No. 7 McMaster (1-0) at Ottawa (0-1)
The skinny: McMaster earned the No. 7 spot in the season’s inaugural top 10 despite a narrow 16-15 home win over Guelph in its OUA opener… While the Marauders’ offence struggled to find its rhythm against the Gryphons, the defence was solid, especially against the pass, allowing only 88 yards and four first downs through the air… Ottawa, for its part, was hurt by 145 penalty yards on 18 flags in a 39-21 setback at Laurier… The Marauders won last season’s head-to-head confrontation 24-7 in Hamilton to avenge a 30-8 loss to the Gee-Gees in the nation’s capital in 2016… Keep an eye on (McMaster): Following a strong sophomore season that saw him catch 32 balls for 316 yards, receiver Tyson Middlemost just missed the 100-mark against Guelph, finishing with 99 yards on eight receptions… Keep an eye on (Ottawa): All-Canadian cornerback Jamie Harry, who last season led the OUA and was second in the country with five interceptions, had his first of the new campaign against Laurier.
York (0-1) at No. 8 Guelph (0-1)
The skinny: Following a lopsided 46-3 preseason loss to Laval, Guelph almost pulled off an upset win on the road over McMaster in Todd Galloway’s official head-coaching debut, dropping a heart-breaking 16-15 decision after holding a 15-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter… The solid performance earned the Gryphons the No. 8 spot in the inaugural national top 10… In its conference opener, a 42-21 loss against Queen’s, York kept it close for three quarters, trailing only 17-12 at halftime and 20-15 after the third period, before being outscored 22-6 in the fourth… The Gryphons and Lions were non-combatants in last season’s OUA schedule and will battle for the first time since a convincing 52-8 Guelph win on home turf in the final week of the 2016 regular campaign… Keep an eye on (York): Colton Hunchak, who caught 29 passes for 329 yards and six touchdowns in only three games last season, exploded out of the gates last Sunday with 12 receptions for 102 yards and a major… Keep an eye on (Guelph): Despite a disappointing 2-for-5 performance against McMaster, veteran Gabriel Ferraro, who set a single-season U SPORTS record a year ago with 33 field goals, climbed to seventh place on the all-time career list with 71 successful kicks.
Carleton (0-1) at Windsor (0-1)
The skinny: Carleton came oh-so-close to pulling off the biggest upset of Week 1, letting a 20-3 halftime lead slip away en route to a 26-23 home loss in extra time against defending Vanier Cup champion Western… The heartbreaking result erased what could have been a heroic performance by fifth-year kicker Michael Domagala, who had sent the game to OT with a 50-yard field goal in the final second of regulation… Despite a 53-37 loss to Waterloo in its opener, Windsor can take some comfort in the 542 yards and 28 first downs racked up by its offensive unit… The last Carleton-Windsor battle dates back Week 7 of the 2016 campaign, a 53-10 Ravens victory in the nation’s capital… Keep an eye on (Carleton): Domagala now has 60 career field goals after going 3-for-3 against Western… Keep an eye on (Windsor): Sophomore Sam Girard led all U SPORTS quarterbacks in Week 1 with a whopping 478 passing yards.