TORONTO, ON – It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming back U PORTS football after nearly two years on the sideline.
However, since “yesterday,” two months have passed and teams around the country are beginning to jockey for playoff positioning. For the OUA and AUS, Week 9 of the U SPORTS season was their penultimate week, with Quebec getting set to close out a full eight-game schedule, while Ontario neared the conclusion of its six-game season.
Other parts of the country remain in the thick of their seasons, though. That is especially the case in CanWest, which still had half a season to play. It was a light docket for the Atlantic conference in Week 6 of its campaign, with only St. FX and Bishop’s taking the field. Out west, however, it was another jam-packed three-game slate as Western Canada continues to do its part in contributing to the wonky season that has been 2021.
QUEEN’S 30 | OTTAWA 12
The Queen’s Gaels headed down to Ottawa looking to complete a perfect season and secure home field advantage through the entire OUA playoffs, after earning the right to host games through the first two rounds by virtue of a Week 5 win over the Gee-Gees crosstown rival Carleton Ravens. Ottawa, meanwhile, had a chance to stay alone in 2nd place in the division with a win. But, it was the undefeated Gaels jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead after one, thanks to a(nother) Rasheed Tucker touchdown run – one of three on the night – from four yards out and a Nick Liberatore field goal. Ottawa chipped away in the second as Gee-Gee running back J.P. Cimankinda scored a 4-yard TD of his own, and the lead was 13-9 at the break. After a Campbell Fair feud goal cut the lead to 1, the Gaels put the game away with a couple more Tucker TD scampers – one from three yards and another from 12 – to seal a 30-12 win and their first undefeated season since 2008, when they won all eight games. Tucker rushed for 106 yards and the 3 touchdowns 24 carries for the Gaels, finishing with eight majors on the year.
McMASTER 48 | YORK 0
The York Lions needed a win and some help to keep their extremely faint playoff hopes alive. The McMaster Marauders came into this game looking to score, after being shut out at home for the first time in decades by the Laurier Golden Hawks in Week 5. Score, the Marauders did. They got out to a 10-0 lead after one, the highlight a 13-yard Justice Allin TD reception. They added 7 more in each of the next two quarters – in the second off two Adam Precocanin field goals and a rouge – then in the thanks to an 11-yard Liam Putt touchdown catch. Leading 24-0 after three, Mac poured it on in the fourth. Putt added two more catches for touchdowns from four and then 14 yards out, plus a Jackson Cooling 62-yard punt return touchdown. Mac remains alive in the playoff chase with the win, but will need some help with a loss. The Lions, meanwhile, will miss the playoffs and look to avoid a winless season in Week 7. It was a history-making day for Preocanin, who went 4-6 on field goals and broke Tyler Crapigna’s program record for field goals made with 88. That number is also good for 5th in the U SPORTS record book.
WESTERN 48 | WATERLOO 13
This was a game no one knew who would win, despite Western coming in on a roll and Waterloo on a 2-game slide. However, most thought it would be close. Well…..close it was not. The Mustangs, led by a ferocious offensive line and the speedy and elusive running back Keon Edwards, ran the ball down the Warriors throats. That included two touchdown runs of 44 and 97 yards, respectively. Those were two of Edwards’ three touchdowns on the day, as he amassed better than 230 yards on the ground for the Mustangs. Savaughn Magnaye-Jones also hauled in a pair of long touchdown passes from Evan Hillock. The score was 24-0 after one and 41-7 at the half, as the Mustangs were in control from the first series on. They also contained Tre Ford defensively, rarely allowing him to be comfortable in and outside the pocket. Waterloo now needs to beat Laurier in order to gain a postseason birth; they have already beaten them once this season, a 36-12 road win in Week 2. Western, meanwhile is now 4-1, and can clinch 1st in the West with a Week-7 win over Windsor.
TORONTO 0 | GUELPH 48
Another game, another one-sided affair. The Guelph Gryphons came into their game with the Toronto Varsity Blues riding high after a win over their Highway 7 rivals from Waterloo. The Varsity Blues were also entering the action on a good note after winning the Argo Cup against their rivals, the York Lions. However, this one was all hosts. Guelph scored two touchdowns in both of the first two quarters and had a commanding lead of 28-0 at halftime, thanks to two scores each from Clark Barnes and Kiondre Smith. Barnes added another in the third, capping off another fantastic night for him after carving up the Warriors the week prior. Smith and Barnes combined to haul in 20 receptions for 288 yards and five touchdowns. They amassed nearly half the Gryphons total offence. Despite the loss, the Blues snapped a 25-year postseason drought thanks to York’s loss. With Guelph and Laurier both winning, the two teams remain tied for 2nd in the OUA West heading into the final week.
WINDSOR 8 | LAURIER 33
The Laurier Golden Hawks were on a two-game win streak coming into their game against the Windsor Lancers, and have starting QB Conner Carusello back under centre. Windsor was looking to avoid a second straight loss after being throttled 54-4 by Western in Week 5. However, Laurier asserted itself early and often in this one. Ente Eguavoen had a terrific day for the Hawks, catching touchdown passes for 54 and 48 yards, and racking in 222 yards receiving on 10 receptions. The Golden Hawks jumped out to a 30-0 lead before Windsor got on the board thanks to a 28-yard Justin Amoah TD grab. Carusello threw 3 touchdown passes – the other to Ben McAlpine from 15 yards out, while a 27-yard Quentin Scott scamper accounted for the other Laurier major. Carusello tossed for an even 250 yards on 18-25. Windsor will need to upset Western this week and get some help to sneak into the postseason, while the Golden Hawks are set up well for a win-and-in Battle of Waterloo, Part II in Week 7.
OUA WEEK 7 SCHEDULE:
Carleton [2-3] @ Ottawa [2-3] (Thu, Oct 28 – 6:00 pm ET)
Guelph [3-2] @ McMaster [2-3] (Sat, Oct 30 – 1:00 pm ET)
Laurier [3-2] @ Waterloo [2-3] (Sat, Oct 30 – 1:00 pm ET)
Toronto 2-3] @ York [0-5] (Sat, Oct 30 – 1:00 pm ET)
Western [4-1] @ Windsor [2-3] (Sat, Oct 30 – 1:00 pm ET)
ST. FX 48 | BISHOP’S 21
The St. FX X-Men and Bishop’s Gaiters squared off in annual Bigg Bowl game, the lone AUS matchup of Week 6. It was an intriguing matchup between one team that was unblemished on the season (St. FX) and one that was 2-2, but had earned their two wins by a combined two points (that’s not a typo). This was a tale of quarter-by-quarter. Bishop’s came out flying, driving the field early for a 1-yard Louis-Phillipe Gregoire run to cap a 13-play, 88-yard drive. Then late in the first, Bishop’s scored again off a fumble recovery deep in St. FX territory, as Griffin Shillingford hauled in an 8-yard TD. Over the next two frame, though, it was all St. FX. They scored the next 38 points, thanks to four touchdowns from QB Silas Fagnan – one on the ground and three in the air. The other score during the onslaught was a 62-yard Ben Van Meuhldor pick-6. The Gaiters had a good day offensively, but their defence couldn’t hold back the high-powered X-Men, who scored 10 more in the 4th to win 48-21 and improve to 4-0. Even with the loss, Bishop’s has clinched a playoff berth. With another win and a Mounties loss, the X-Men will clinch top spot in the AUS.
AUS WEEK 7 SCHEDULE:
St. Mary’s [1-4] @ St. FX [4-0] (Sat, Oct 30 – 2:00 pm AT)
Mount Allison [3-1] @ Acadia [1-3] (Sat, Oct 30 – 2:00 pm AT)
McGILL 3 | CONCORDIA 31
The Concordia Stingers were looking to halt a two-game losing skid that saw them creep back to .500 after starting the season 3-1 with three thrilling victories. They hosted a McGill Redbirds team still with faint playoff hopes, but needing a win to keep them alive. The Stingers, however, weren’t about to let that happen, as they got out to a 7-0 lead after one, which they doubled in the 2nd. The versatile Jacob Salvail was responsible for both touchdowns, a 7-yard catch and a 5-yard run. Concordia was able to cruise for the first time all season in this one, with McGill’s only points coming in quarter number two on a 15-yard Antoine Couture field goal. It was 21-3 at the break after an Andrew Guay 1-yard run, and Jaylen Greaves hauled in a 77-yard pass from Olivier Roy late in the fourth for another major. McGill finishes its season at home to Montreal while Concordia travels to Sherbrooke looking to finish strong before entering the postseason.
LAVAL 14 | MONTREAL 35
This was the second and final meeting between the RSEQ’s powerhouses, the Laval Rouge et Or and Montreal Carabins. The last meeting came down to the final drive of play of the game, a missed Vincent Blanchard field goal that resulted in an 18-17 Montreal win. This one was much less of a contest. Laval scored first on a 22-yard Kevin Mital scurry that immediately followed a fumble recovery. From then on, it was all Carabins. The home side poured it on, scoring the game’s next 35 points. Carabins pivot Jonathan Senecal threw three touchdowns – a 19-yarder to Hassane Dosso, a 20-yard connection with Jarryd Taylor and a 39-yard connection with Simon Riopel. The Carabins dominated on both sides of the ball, putting up 461 yards of offence while limiting the Rouge et Or to 195. One issue was discipline for the Carabins, who took 16 penalties for 127 yards. Laval finishes 5-3 and will have to await results of the Concordia game prior to knowing their finishing position, while Montreal has clinched home field throughout the Dunsmore Cup playoffs for the first time since 2016. The 35-14 win was the largest margin of victory ever for Montreal over Laval.
RSEQ WEEK 10 SCHEDULE:
Montreal [6-1] @ McGill [1-6] (Fri, Oct 29 – 7:00 pm ET)
Concordia [4-3] @ Sherbrooke [2-5] (Sat, Oct 30 – 2:00 pm ET)
MANITOBA 24 | UBC 26
The Manitoba Bisons were the only remaining unblemished team in CanWest after a stunning come-from-behind victory in Week 4 over the Calgary Dinos in which they scored 23 unanswered, 4th-quarter points to win it. The UBC Thunderbirds, meanwhile, earned their first win of the year in thrilling fashion, 31-30 over Regina. In the first, it was UBC staking itself out to a 17-0 lead thanks to a 37-yard Ben Kolb field goal and two Garrett-Rooker-to-Trey-Kellogg touchdown connections. Manitoba responded in the second thanks to a couple major scores thrown by Jonah Tachinsky, a 21-yarder to Gavin Cobb and a little 5-yard throw to Breydon Stubbs, cutting the lead to 17-14. The Bisons kept pouring out the offence after halftime. Placekicker Cole Sabourin tied it with a 25-yard field goal; then the visitors grabbed their first lead on a 10-yard jaunt from Sawyer Thiessen. It was 24-17 Manitoba after three. In the final frame, the T-Birds would counter. After the Bisons chose to punt and concede two on a 3rd and 1 from their own 10, the lead was trimmed to 24-19. Then with just under 4:00 to play, the T-Birds went ahead once again on another Rooker touchdown pass to Kellogg – this of the 16-yard variety – to make it 25-24 following a missed 2-point conversion. The Bisons got the ball back a couple more times, with a Kolb missed field goal rouge sandwiched in between, but turned it over on downs both times. The upstart Thunderbirds held on for the 26-24 ‘W,’ handing the Bisons their first loss of the season while repositioning themselves in the CanWest playoff picture with a .500 record at 2-2.
REGINA 17 | SASKATCHEWAN 28
It was the Battle of Saskatchewan for the first and only time in 2021 as the Saskatchewan Huskies welcomed in the Regina Rams looking for a third straight win. Down Highway 11 in Regina, the Rams were coming off that aforementioned heartbreaking defeat at the hands of UBC and aiming to get back to even at 2-2. It was a low-event first half, the only touchdown coming with just 32 seconds left – a 27-yard Colton Klassen touchdown grab to give Saskatchewan a 10-3 lead at the intermission. The Rams started the second half with a bang. After getting a stop on defence and forcing a punt, Jackson Sombach returned said punt 100 yards to paydirt to put Regina back on level terms. Midway through the frame, it was Klassen again, as he scored from six yards out to put the Huskies back in front. But Regina refused to go away. Just 2:25 into the fourth, Regina tied it again on a 4-yard D’Sean Mimbs touchdown catch. But, with just under 6:30 left, Mason Nyhus found Sam Baker for a 16-yard TD reception to give the hosts a 24-17 lead. Regina would not get another first down on their next three drives, and a 42-yard David Sole field goal, plus a rouge iced it for the Huskies and pulls them into a tie for 1st place in the conference.
ALBERTA 36 | CALGARY 30
The Alberta Golden Bears couldn’t have been thrilled having to face the Calgary Dinos after two straight losses, one a collapse of epic proportions. But, if they had any nerves, they didn’t show them early in this Battle of Alberta. This game was the epitome of a back-and-forth, punch-counterpunch type tilt. The Bears jumped on the Dinos, scoring the first 19 points, including a pair of majors – a 2-yard run run from Matthew Peterson and an 11-yard catch from Jonathan Rosery – and led 19-2 after one. Then it was all Dinos. First, Tyson Philpot caught a 5-yard pass from Josiah Joseph to make it 19-9. Then after a field goal made it a one-score game, Joseph called his own number from 11 yards out to tie the game. With just over a minute left, the Bears relinquished the lead on another QB-keeper from Joseph, this a sneak, to put Calgary up 26-19 . The Golden Bears were reeling after surrendering 26 straight points to lose the lead, but they weren’t quitting. Before the half was out, the game was re-tied when Brad Launhardt found Chevy Thomas on a 4-yard hook-up to knot it at 26. The defences, which had been nearly invisible in the first half, started to pick it up in the third, with the only points coming off thee leg of Alberta kicker Justin Giustini. It was 29-26 Golden Bears heading to the final frame. In that fourth, Vince Triumbari kept the back-and-forth going with a 21-yard field goal to even us at 29 apiece. But on the next drive, Petersen did it in the air, snagging a 30-yard touchdown pass from Launhardt to make it 36-29 Bears. The Alberta defence locked down late, forcing a missed 46-yard field goal and a turnover on downs, as the Dinos freefall continues. They fall to 1-3 with the loss and are in grave danger of missing the Can West playoffs. Conversely, Alberta is now 2-2 and tied for third in Can West with UBC.
CAN WEST WEEK 6 SCHEDULE
Saskatchewan [3-1] @ Manitoba (3-1] (Sat, Oct 30 – 2:00 pm CT)
Regina [1-3] @ Alberta [2-2] (Sat, Oct 30 – 1:00 pm MT)
UBC [2-2] @ Calgary [1-3] (Sat, Oct 30 – 2:00 pm MT)