Conference leaders look to stay undefeated in U Sports football

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All four conference leaders will look to move to 4-0 this weekend as the U SPORTS football regular-season schedule officially hits the midway mark.
First place in the OUA standings will be on the line Saturday afternoon when reigning Vanier Cup champion Western visits Waterloo (3-1), live on OUA.TV starting at 1 p.m. Fresh off their first win in 16 years over cross-town rival Laurier, the Warriors now hope to halt a 17-year drought against the Mustangs.
Meanwhile, in the other conferences, nationally seventh-ranked Saint Mary’s hosts Acadia (2-1) Friday evening, No. 3 Calgary heads to UBC (1-2) on Saturday, and No. 2 Laval welcomes McGill (1-2) on Sunday.
The Week 5 schedule is also highlighted by a top-10 confrontation between No. 8 Regina and No. 9 Saskatchewan, Friday night in Saskatoon.
OFF THIS WEEK
Bishop’s (0-4), Sherbrooke (0-4), Windsor (0-4)
WEEK 5 SCHEDULE

FRIDAY

Acadia (2-1) at No. 7 Saint Mary’s (3-0)

Last week (Acadia): 38-26 home win vs. Mount Allison (1-2)… Last week (Saint Mary’s): Bye… Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 14, 2017 – AUS final at Acadia): Acadia 45, Saint Mary’s 38 OT… In a nutshell: The teams had split their regular-season series leading up to last year’s Loney Bowl final, with the Huskies winning 17-10 and the Axemen prevailing 33-23, both on home turf… Saint Mary’s defence leads the AUS with six interceptions in three games, while Acadia is one of two teams in the country (with Laval) that has yet to be picked off this fall… Keep an eye on (Acadia): In his first season as the team’s starting quarterback, Hunter Guenard is coming off the best game of his university career with 329 yards on 24-of-29 passing against Mount Allison… Keep an eye on (Saint Mary’s): Second-year defensive back Jordan Angove, who didn’t have an interception in five league contests during his rookie season, is currently tied for the U SPORTS lead with three in three games.

No. 8 Regina (2-1) at No. 9 Saskatchewan (2-1)

  • 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
  • SaskTel maxTV, TELUS Optik TV, Bell MTS & CanadaWest.TV

Last week (Regina): 19-17 home win vs. UBC (1-2)… Last week (Saskatchewan): 37-28 home loss vs. Calgary (3-0)… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 29, 2017 – regular season at Saskatchewan): Regina 50, Saskatchewan 40… In a nutshell: In last year’s 50-40 shootout at Griffiths Stadium, Regina’s Noah Picton and Saskatchewan’s Kyle Siemens had five touchdown passes apiece without a single interception as the teams combined for 1,147 yards of offence… Over their last four duels, dating back to their 2015 regular-season finale, the provincial rivals have scored a combined 77.8 points per game on average… Keep an eye on (Regina): All eyes are once again on fifth-year quarterback Noah Picton, who now ranks second on the U SPORTS career list with 10,931 passing yards, only 546 shy of the all-time record of 11,477 held by former Sherbrooke standout Jérémi Rock… Keep an eye on (Saskatchewan): Fifth-year senior Kyle Siemens needs 362 passing yards to become the fifth Huskies’ pivot to reach the 7,000-yard plateau for his career.

Manitoba (1-2) at Alberta (0-3)

Last week (Manitoba): 37-21 home win vs. Alberta (0-3)… Last week (Alberta): 37-21 road loss vs. Manitoba (1-2)… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 15, 2018 – regular season at Manitoba): Manitoba 37, Alberta 21… In a nutshell: Facing Manitoba for the second straight week, Alberta hopes to avoid starting the season 0-4 for the third consecutive year… The Bisons’ nationally fourth-ranked passing offence (372.0 yards per game) faces a Golden Bears’ defence that is tied for last in the country in points allowed (43.3 per game)… Keep an eye on (Manitoba): Running back Jamel Lyles continues to lead Canada West with 179.3 all-purpose yards per game, good for fourth in the country… Keep an eye on (Alberta): Defensive back Josiah Schakel leads Canada West in both solo (18) and total tackles (18.5).

SATURDAY

No. 1 Western (3-0) at Waterloo (3-1)

Last week (Western): 76-3 home win vs. York (1-3)… Last week (Waterloo): 34-32 road win vs. Laurier (2-1)… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 10, 2016 – regular season at Western): Western 75, Waterloo 14… In a nutshell: Western has won 10 straight against Waterloo since a 22-3 loss back on Sept. 29, 2001 and has dominated the last five head-to-head meetings by 61, 66, 44, 64 and 46 points, respectively… The Mustangs boast the nation’s best rushing attack (235.7 yards per game), while the Warriors rank first in the OUA and second in U SPORTS in passing (396.0)… Keep an eye on (Western): With 35 all-purpose touchdowns, fifth-year running back Alex Taylor needs one more to catch former NFLer Tim Tindale in third place on the Mustangs’ career list… Keep an eye on (Waterloo): Thanks to his U SPORTS-leading 15 touchdown passes in four games, sophomore Tre Ford needs only three more to break the single-season school record set in 1998 by Ryan Wilkinson and could also challenge the national mark of 31 established in 2015 by McMaster’s Asher Hastings.

No. 3 Calgary (3-0) at UBC (1-2)

  • 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
  • SaskTel maxTV, TELUS Optik TV, Bell MTS & CanadaWest.TV

Last week (Calgary): 37-28 road win vs. Saskatchewan (2-1)… Last week (UBC): 19-17 road loss vs. Regina (2-1)… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 7, 2018 – regular season at Calgary): Calgary 57, UBC 7… In a nutshell: Calgary’s high-flying offence ranks first in the country in both total yards (633.0) and passing yards (460.3) per game, while UBC’s defence ranks 26th overall (518.7) and 24th against the pass (362.0)… In the first confrontation of the season two weeks ago, Dinos quarterback Adam Sinagra threw five touchdown passes, including a school-record 107-yarder to Tyson Philpot… Keep an eye on (Calgary): Fresh off a 569-yard performance, the second best in U SPORTS history, Adam Sinagra is on pace to finish the eight-game schedule with 3,693 passing yards, well above the current national record of 3,186 set in 2016 by Regina’s Noah Picton… Keep an eye on (UBC): With 8,148 career passing yards, fourth-year pivot Michael O’Connor needs only 10 more yards to catch Blake Smelser in second place in T-Birds’ history, behind all-time leader Billy Greene (8,626).

No. 4 Montreal (2-1) at Concordia (2-1)

Last week (Montreal): 43-11 road win vs. Sherbrooke (0-4)… Last week (Concordia): 33-26 road win vs. McGill (1-2)… Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 4, 2017 – RSEQ semifinal at Montreal): Montreal 42, Concordia 20… In a nutshell: Montreal also defeated Concordia 37-19 in regular-season action last fall and is riding a 10-game winning streak against its cross-town rivals dating back to a 21-14 home loss on Oct. 22, 2010… The Carabins’ defence ranks first in the country in total yards allowed per game (188.0) and second in points conceded (7.7), while the Stingers’ offence averages an RSEQ-best 423.3 yards per contest… Keep an eye on (Montreal): With 160 career receptions, fifth-year senior Régis Cibasu ranks second among active U SPORTS players behind Laurier’s Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (170) and fifth on the all-time RSEQ conference list… Keep an eye on (Concordia): Defensive tackle Michael Sanelli tops the RSEQ and is tied for the U SPORTS lead with four sacks in three games.

No. 5 Laurier (2-1) at McMaster (2-2)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
  • Cable 14, YourTV & OUA.TV

Last week (Laurier): 34-32 home loss vs. Waterloo (3-1)… Last week (McMaster): 37-3 home win vs. Toronto (0-3)… Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 4, 2017 – OUA semifinal at Laurier): Laurier 19, McMaster 6… In a nutshell: Laurier has eliminated McMaster in the playoffs each of the past three years and is riding a four-game overall winning streak against its old rival dating back to a 30-21 home loss on Oct. 17, 2015… The Golden Hawks’ offence ranks second in the OUA in scoring (38.3 points per game), total yards (542.3), passing (343.7) and rushing (198.7), while the Marauders’ defence is in the top three in Ontario in points (20.0), total yards (349.3) and passing yards (213.8) allowed per contest… Keep an eye on (Laurier): The leader among active U SPORTS players in both receptions (170) and receiving yards (2,337), fourth-year veteran Kurleigh Gittens Jr. currently leads the country with a remarkable 227.3 all-purpose yards per game… Keep an eye on (McMaster): Defensive lineman Enoch Penney-Laryea is tied for the U SPORTS lead with four sacks in four games.

No. 6 Carleton (3-1) at Toronto (0-3)

Last week (Carleton): 42-39 OT home win vs. Queen’s (2-2)… Last week (Toronto): 37-3 road loss vs. McMaster (2-2)… Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 14, 2017 – regular season at Carleton): Carleton 43, Toronto 0… In a nutshell: Carleton has won four straight against Toronto since a 50-10 loss at Varsity Stadium in its return to U SPORTS football in 2013… The Ravens are looking to improve to 4-1 for the first time since their return to the university circuit, while the Varsity Blues are hoping to halt a nine-game losing streak going back to Week 2 of last season, when they beat Windsor 19-12 on home turf for their lone win of 2017… Keep an eye on (Carleton): Sophomore linebacker Jack Cassar ranks second in the country in solo tackles (28.0), total tackles (34.5) and tackles per game (8.6)… Keep an eye on (Toronto): Defensive lineman Malcolm Campbell had 3.5 tackles for a loss last Saturday against McMaster and currently leads the country with seven in only three games.

Queen’s (2-2) at No. 10 Guelph (2-2)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
  • Rogers TV – tape delay & OUA.TV

Last week (Queen’s): 42-39 OT road loss vs. Carleton (3-1)… Last week (Guelph): 26-20 road win vs. Windsor (0-4)… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 10, 2016 – regular season at Guelph): Guelph 38, Queen’s 29… In a nutshell: The two rivals have achieved identical 2-2 records in very different ways, the Gaels relying on offence (average score of 35.5 to 28.5) and the Gryphons relying on defence (21.0 to 16.5)… Both teams excelled at rushing the passer in the first half of the season, with Guelph currently tied for first in the country with 15 sacks and Queen’s sitting in fifth place with nine… Keep an eye on (Queen’s): Fifth-year quarterback Nate Hobbs needs 89 passing yards to join Danny Brannagan (10,714) and Billy McPhee (8,305) as the only players in school history to reach the 8,000 mark over their careers… Keep an eye on (Guelph): Linebacker Luke Korol leads the nation in solo tackles (29.0), total tackles (38.5) and tackles per game (9.6)…

StFX (2-1) at Mount Allison (1-2)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
  • Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca

Last week (StFX): 42-2 home win vs. Bishop’s (0-4)… Last week (Mount Allison): 38-26 road loss vs. Acadia (2-1)… Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 7, 2017 – regular season at Mount Allison): Mount Allison 32, StFX 15… In a nutshell: Prior to their Week 6 loss to the Mounties last fall, the X-Men had dominated the first meeting of the season by 37-0 in Week 2… Fifth-year seniors Chris Reid of Mount Allison and Jordan Socholotiuk of StFX rank 1-2 among active AUS running backs with 2,659 and 2,302 career rushing yards, respectively… Keep an eye on (StFX): Receiver Kaion Julien-Grant ranks second in the country with 183.7 all-purpose yards per game, thanks in large part to his AUS-leading 267 receiving yards… Keep an eye on (Mount Allison): The leader among active U SPORTS players with 1,508 career punt return yards, fifth-year senior Idahosa Yorke is the fourth player in AUS history to reach the 1,500-yard plateau.

York (1-3) at Ottawa (2-1)

Last week (York): 76-3 road loss vs. Western (3-0)… Last week (Ottawa): Bye… Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 9, 2017 – regular season at York): Ottawa 26, York 17… In a nutshell: The Gee-Gees have won 12 of 13 against the Lions since 2004, their only head-to-head loss over that period being a 47-36 setback in Toronto on Sept. 8, 2012… Despite a 1-3 start, York’s offence has been slightly more productive than Ottawa’s so far this fall (17.8 points per game vs. 17.0) but the Gee-Gees’ defence has allowed only 20.0 points per game compared to 43.3 for the Lions… Keep an eye on (York): Wide receiver Alex Daley leads the country with 298 kickoff return yards in four games… Keep an eye on (Ottawa): Freshman quarterback Sawyer Buettner made his first career start in the Gee-Gees’ last game, two weeks ago against Guelph, and was an efficient 22-of-32 for 228 yards and no turnovers in a 12-10 win.

SUNDAY

McGill (1-2) at No. 2 Laval (3-0)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

Last week (McGill): 33-26 home loss vs. Concordia (2-1)… Last week (Laval): Bye… Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 1, 2017 – regular season at Laval): Laval 34, McGill 0… In a nutshell: In his 18th season at the helm, Laval’s Glen Constantin is looking for overall win No. 169 (168-31), which would tie him for second all-time among U SPORTS head coaches with former Western bench boss Larry Haylor (169-46-3 in 22 seasons), trailing only former Saskatchewan great Brian Towriss (196-118-1 in 33 seasons)… Laval is riding a 26-game overall winning streak against McGill – including 23 straight in league play – since the end of the 2001 season… The Rouge et Or have allowed a U SPORTS-low 5.7 points per game so far this fall, while the Redmen’s defence is tied for first in the country with 15 sacks in only three contests… Keep an eye on (McGill): Third-year halfback Benjamin Carré tops the Quebec conference and is tied for the U SPORTS lead with three interceptions in three games… Keep an eye on (Laval): Fifth-year senior Hugo Richard needs 300 passing yards to become the fourth quarterback in RSEQ history and the 12th in U SPORTS annals to reach the 9,000 mark for his career.

 

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