TORONTO, ON – We are two months into the U SPORTS football season, and there hasn’t been one yet where everything that was “supposed” to happen actually happened.
Week 8 was no different. The OUA saw a full slate of games as Queen’s continued its dominance in the East, and the West is now even messier than it was last week at this time – and it was pretty messy then.
In Quebec, Concordia was looking to beat Montreal for a second time this season, while the Atlantic conference featured another nail-biter involving the Bishop’s Gaiters and the Manitoba Bisons put together a fourth quarter for the ages in Calgary.
With that, let’s get to the goods.
WINDSOR 4 | WESTERN 54
This game was actually a battle for first place in the crowded OUA West, which isn’t something many would have figured possible prior to the season, but as U SPORTS football has preached time and time again in 2021: expect the unexpected. That in mind, Windsor would most assuredly win this game, then, right? Well, no. This one was all Mustangs, who led 37-1 at one point in the third quarter on route to a convincing. 54-4 victory. Keon Edwards had two rushing majors for Western, who was missing his backfield platoon mat Trey Humes. Rookie tailbacks Keanu Yazbeck and Edouard Wanadi had one each, as did Evan Hillock, who started at QB in place of Jackson White. Hillock also had a TD pass while connecting on 21 of 28 passes for 281 yards – 107 of them to Savaughn Magnaye-Jones, who paced the Western receiving corps with five receptions.
YORK 2 | TORONTO 25
The 51st annual Argo Cup game between the York Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues was an important one – especially for York, who essentially needed to win in order to have a realistic chance at an OUA East playoff berth. But the home side wasn’t about to let that happen. The Blues scored first on a Chris McLean field goal and then got a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cody Hale to make it 10-0 after one. Toronto the added two field goals before scoring their only offensive major of the game, a 4-yard Clay Sequeira pass to Nolan Lovegrove. That made the score 23-2 at the time, and the Varsity Blues would win it 25-2 to move to 2-2 on the season. They now control their own destiny, only needing one win over their final three games to secure a playoff spot. The win ties the Blues for 3rd in the division with Ottawa, with Toronto possessing the tie-breaker by virtue of their 11-10 win over the Gee-Gees in Week 1.
LAURIER 22 | McMASTER 0
This was another crucial game in the OUA West with both teams coming in at 1-2. To say this game got off to a weird start would be an understatement. Laurier had run three offensive plays, had no first downs and, yet, had a 14-0. ‘How?,’ you ask. Well, it started with a Ryan 45-yard fumble return touchdown off a McMaster punt. Then, on the very next play from scrimmage, Andreas Dueck was picked off by Patrick Burke, Jr., who returned it 36 yards to the house. Just like that, in a blink, 14-0 Laurier. Two Dawson Hodge field goals and a safety put the finishing touches on the first shutout of the OUA season. This was a defensive clinic from the Hawks; beyond their two defensive scores, Dueck threw an additional interception and was sacked nine times. The Marauders were held to 223 yards total offence. QB Connor Carusello returned to the lineup for the first time since the season’s opening week. He was far from spectacular, going 16-25 for 200 yards and two interceptions, but did enough to augment the defence’s stout contributions.
CARLETON 0 | QUEEN’S 45
I had the Queen’s Gaels ranked 8th in the OUA coming into the season, and it’s clear that was a major oversight. While their record is perfect, they are playing like a team worthy of that record. Their Week 5 contest against Carleton was all the proof needed of that assertion, as they pounded the Carleton Ravens 45-0. They did so thanks in no small part to a 27-point second quarter, which saw them score on five consecutive possessions. Running back Rasheed Tucker continued his excellent season with another touchdown while rushing for 74 yards. James Keenan was effective at quarterback, going 16-26 for 251 yards and a pair of majors through the air. Defensively, Queen’s was suffocating, allowing just 108 total yards of offence, while the offence was just as relentless, putting up over 400 yards. With the victory Queen’s is 5-0 and has clinched home field advantage throughout the OUA East playoffs.
WATERLOO 10 | GUELPH 27
The Waterloo Warriors were coming off a bye eyeing a bounce back performance after a dreadful loss to the McMaster Marauders. They were facing a Guelph Gryphons team that’s been hard to read all season. The Warriors controlled much of the play early, but gave up a 62-yard catch to Clark Barnes – most of that YAC yards – which set up an 11-yard TD from the aforementioned Gryphons receiver to make it 10-3. They then got a turnover inside the Waterloo 10 thanks to a fumbled snap from Warriors punter Cole Crossett, and Kiondre Smith caught a 4-yard TD pass from QB Shawn Lal to extend the lead to 14 at the half. Waterloo put together its first sustained drive of the night to open up the 2nd half, driving 83 yards on 10 plays, punctuated by a 7-yardGordon Lam touchdown reception. From there, though, it was bad news for the Warriors. Barnes returned the ensuing kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, and later in the 3rd Tre Ford was injured after being pushed out of bounds on a scramble, hitting his head on the turf. He left the game and his status for the rest of the season is now in question. Nolan Kaban came in to replace him, but couldn’t get Waterloo back in it, as they fell 27-10 to drop to 2-2 on the season, putting them in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.
OUA WEEK 6 SCHEDULE:
Queen’s [5-0] @ Ottawa [2-2] (The, Oct 21 – 6:00 pm ET)
Western [3-1] @ Waterloo [2-2] (Sat, Oct 23 – 1:00 pm ET)
McMaster [1-3] @ York [0-4] (Sat, Oct 23 – 1:00 pm ET)
Toronto [2-2] @ Guelph [2-2] (Sat, Oct 23 – 1:00 pm ET)
Windsor [2-2] @ Laurier [2-2] (Sat, Oct 23 – 2:00 pm ET)
MOUNT ALLISON 24 | ST. MARY’S 14
The Mount Allison Mounties went in to St. Mary’s with a chance to move back into a virtual tie for first in the AUS and clinch a postseason berth with a win. The game got off to a slow start, with field goals and rouges accounting for all the scoring in the first half – the Huskies leading 7-6 after two. After a rouge from kicker and punter James Parker tied it for Mount A, freshman defensive lineman Reace Martin picked off a pass from Husky QB Brett Maisonneuve for the easiest pick-6 he’ll ever have. The 2-yard return put the Mounties up 14-7. Then in the 4th, Parker made a 32-yard field goal to make it 17-7 before another interception return for a touchdown – this one a 60-yarder by 3rd-year DB Terrell Connell all but put it away. A late touchdown by St. Mary’s’ Liam O’Brien made it a little more respectable, but the Mounties moved to 3-1 with a 24-14 win in a game where their defence carried the load in both point production and point prevention with a pair of pick-sixes.
BISHOP’S 15 | ACADIA 14
The Bishop’s Gaiters could also clinch a playoff spot with a victory in Week 5 over the Acadia Axeman. A rouge from the Gaiters’ Yani Gouadfel was the only point of the first. The teams then traded second-quarter TD’s – first Acadia’s Duncan Patterson snuck in from a yard out, then Bishop’s running back Louis-Philippe Gregoire ran in an 8-yard major – to make it 8-7 Gaiters. Before the half was out, Acadia took the lead on a Ben George single and then a 13-yard field goal on the final play to make it 11-8 Axemen at halftime. They added another field goal in the third to go up by six, but the Gaiters responded, taking the lead back on another short TD run by Gregoire from six yards out to make it 15-14 Bishop’s. The Axemen were forced to punt on their next five possessions, but still had one final chance to win the game. They drove 56 yards on the game’s final drive, but George missed a 41-yarder with no time left and the Gaiters escaped the end zone to avoid the game-tying rouge. The Gaiters have won two games on the season and won them by a combined two points. They have also clinched a playoff spot, with only the final spot up for grabs between Acadia and St. Mary’s.
AUS WEEK 6 SCHEDULE:
St. FX [3-0] @ Bishop’s [2-2] (Sat, Oct 23 – 2:00 pm ET)
BYES: Acadia, St. Mary’s, Mount Allison
MONTREAL 31 | CONCORDIA 19
It was a program-changing win for the Concordia Stingers back on September 10 against the Montreal Carabins, who they beat for the first time in 11 years with a 31-28 come-from-behind win. This was the rematch, with Concordia looking for a replay of that result and to firmly entrench themselves in the RSEQ playoff picture. The game got off to a flying start with both teams scoring touchdowns on their opening drives, Montreal’s a 59-yard catch and run by Hassane Dosso. a 38-yard Michael Arpin field goal made it 10-9 Montreal after one. In the second, running back Betrand Beaulieu scored from one yard out to make it 17-9 Carabins. The Stingers, though, weren’t going away. Adrain Guay punched one in from the one yard line to make it 18-16. The Carabins carried a 20-16 edge into the break. In the 3rd they extended their lead to 11 on another Beaulieu major, this from six yards out. An Andrew Stevens field goal early in the 4th trimmed it back to 8, but that was as close as the Stingers got, as Montreal shut them down for the rest of the way en route to a 31-19 win. The Carabins are 5-1 and in first place in the conference, while Concordia, even with the loss, is in a good position to grab third place.
SHERBROOKE 2 | LAVAL 45
Every team in the country this year has had what has become a seemingly-obligatory upset victory. The Sherbrooke Vert et Or got theirs at the expense of the Laval Rouge et Or at home in Week 3. The rematch at Laval was much, much different, with the Rouge et Or asserting their will early and often. It was 7-0 after one before the Laval offence exploded to score five touchdowns from the second quarter on, including two each from receiver Kevin Mital and running back Luca Perrier, helping them to a 45-2 victory. Arnaud Desjardins started at quarterback for Laval and was 16-21 for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Joanik Masse led the rushing attack, carrying 14 times for 154 yards, while Mital paced the receiving corps with 8 catches for 88 yards and those two touchdowns. The Rouge et Or have now won three straight to improve to 5-2 on the year ahead of a huge rematch with Montreal which will determine top spot in the standings.
RSEQ WEEK 9 SCHEDULE
McGill [1-5] @ Concordia [3-3] (Sat, Oct 23 – 2:00 pm ET)
Laval [5-2] @ Montreal [5-1] (Sun, Oct 24 – 2:00 pm ET)
CALGARY 20 | MANTIOBA 28
The Manitoba Bisons came into their matchup with the Calgary Dinos in Week 4 looking to remain undefeated after victories over Regina and Alberta in the opening two weeks. Calgary, meanwhile, was looking to rebound from being upset by Regina the previous week. Manitoba scored the first two points off a safety conceded by Calgary, but the Dinos reeled off the next 20 points thanks to touchdown receptions from Tyson Philpot and Nathanael Durkan sandwiched around a pair of Vince Triumbari field goals. They led 20-5 heading to the fourth, when things began to unravel. First, Kai Madsen caught a 6-yard touchdown from QB Jonah Tachinsky to cut it to a one-score game, 20-12. Then, Tachinsky connected with Macho Bocru on a 14-yard major to come to within a two-point conversion of a tie. That failed, keeping Calgary up 20-18. On their next drive, they drove the field again, and Cole Sabourin hit an 11-yard go-ahead field goal with just 3:01 left. After the teams traded punts, Calgary turned the ball over on downs at their own 20 yard line, setting up the third touchdown of the quarter for Manitoba, a 5-yard Breydon Stubbs run. The Dinos had one more chance and got into Bison territory, but again the Manitoba defence stood tall, forcing another turnover on downs to seal a tremendous comeback victory to move to 3-0 on the season and drop the Dinos to 1-2.
UBC 31 | REGINA 30 (OT)
The UBC Thunderbirds were looking for their first win of the season while the Regina Rams aimed to build off that impressive home win over Calgary prior to the Thanksgiving bye. The Rams got off to a hot start, as Josh Donnelly threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers in the first half to give his team a commanding 23-0 lead at the half. The teams then played to a scoreless third quarter, which was just fine for the Rams who were trying to lock down their sizeable lead. Much like the Manitoba game, though, the fourth quarter brought fireworks. It started innocently enough with a 1-yard Dane Kapler touchdown run to cap a 102-yard drive by UBC. They would go for two and convert to make it 23-8. Then on the next Thunderbirds possession, they put together a 7-play, 83-yard drive that resulted in a Garrett Rooker sneak to cut the lead to 23-15. A few minutes later, the Thunderbirds got back even thanks to a 16-yard pass from Rooker to Edgerrin Williams. They again would go for two and succeed on a QB keeper. 23 all. The game would go to overtime, where, after a 23-yard pass interference call put the ball on the 1, Kyle Borsa ran it in from a yard out to give the Rams the lead back, 30-23. Then it was the T-Birds turn to start from the 35, and they, namely Isaiah Knight, went to work. He ran it five times on the drive (the only pass was to Robert Lutman for 17 yards) for 18 yards on the drive, and with the ball on the Regina 1-yard line, took it in for a touchdown. An extra point would have tied it, but UBC head coach Blake Nill decided to trust his offence and go for two, and it worked. Rooker found Tre Kellogg for the game-winning two-point conversion as the Thunderbirds stunned the Rams 31-30 to move each team to 1-2 through three games. Talk. About. Gutsy.
ALBERTA 27 | SASKATCHEWAN 54
The Saskatchewan Huskies have long been one of the classes of Canada West, and they showed why early in their tilt against the Alberta Golden Bears as stud running back Adam Machart took the first play from scrimmage 68 yards to paydirt. That was a sign of things to come for the hosts, who led 18-3 after one thanks to a 7-yard touchdown from Mason Nyhus to Sam Baker for one of his two scores on the day. Then Machart scored a touchdown through the air on a 39-yard catch and run, making it 25-3. The Huskies eventually got up by a count of 53-13 before the Golden Bears added a couple late touchdowns to make the score mildly more respectable. Nyhus was 20-33 through the air with four touchdowns and a pick, while Machart had 221 yards of total offence on his own, including. 132 on the ground. Saskatchewan amassed nearly 550 total yards of offence in the win, and is now 2-1 on the season.
CAN WEST WEEK 5 SCHEDULE
Manitoba [3-0] @ UBC [1-2] (Sat, Oct 23 – 1:00 pm PT)
Regina [1-2] @ Saskatchewan [2-1] (Sat, Oct 23 – 2:00 pm CT)
Alberta [1-2] @ Calgary [1-2] (Sun, Oct 24 – 2:00 pm MT)