LONDON, ON – The Concordia University Stingers have pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the U SPORTS football season, defeating the No. 2 University of Montreal Carabins 16-14 to cap off the RSEQ regular season.
Montreal was winning 14-0 at halftime after two second quarter touchdowns, but Concordia wouldn’t say die. Three unanswered Stingers scores made it 14-13 with just over five minutes remaining in the game. The Carabins had two more possessions to try to extend their lead, but couldn’t capitalize, which led to the Stingers’ walk-off game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock.
Montreal will play the Sherbrooke University Vert et Or in the RSEQ semifinals and Concordia will face the Laval University Rouge et Or.
Sherbrooke notched their first win of the season on Saturday, defeating the McGill University Redbirds 41-28, eliminating them from the playoffs. Sherbrooke was led by a strong defence, who forced four turnovers — two interceptions and two fumble recoveries — and three sacks. Vert et Or defensive back Jeremy Turbide recorded two of their four turnovers, catching an interception and recovering a fumble.
Calgary wins, but loses playoff spot
The University of Calgary Dinos defeated the University of Manitoba Bisons 35-23, but a late-game fumble ended their playoff hopes.
Calgary came into their regular season finale against Manitoba needing to win by a 13-point margin to clinch a Canada West playoff berth — the Bisons needed to lose by 12 or less points, or win, to make the playoffs and eliminate the Dinos. Up 35-15 with 12 seconds remaining in the game, Calgary decided to run the ball to run the clock, but Dinos running back Matthieu Clarke fumbled the ball and Manitoba defensive back Nick Conway recovered it for a touchdown with no time left. The Bisons went for two points and converted, losing the game but winning the final playoff push.
Manitoba will play the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the Canada West semifinals this coming weekend.
In a battle for first place in Canada West, UBC brought down the University of Alberta Golden Bears 23-10 to end the regular season. Both offences were highlighted by their ground games — UBC running back Isaiah Knight ran for 128 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while Alberta running back Matthew Peterson recorded 101 rushing yards on 15 carries.
The game between the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and University of Regina Rams also had strong running. Regina running back Olivier Savard racked up 118 rushing yards on 16 carries, but it was Saskatchewan running back Ryker Frank’s 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the same amount of touches that carried the Huskies over the Rams.
Saskatchewan will play Alberta in the semifinals.
OUA playoff picture slims to final four
The OUA started their playoffs this weekend, with the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks, Queen’s University Gaels and University of Windsor Lancers pushing through to the final four with the Western University Mustangs, who were on a first round bye this week.
Windsor narrowly defeated the Carleton University Ravens 14-11 on Saturday. Lancers quarterback Danny Skelton struggled throughout, throwing three interceptions and only notched 94 passing yards. But his defence came through in the end — Windsor defensive back Harrison Daley picked off Carleton quarterback Tristan Lefebvre in the endzone with just over a minute to go in the game, sealing their first home playoff victory since 1975.
Windsor will play Laurier next round.
Queen’s escaped a second close game against Ottawa in two weeks with a 15-10 win to push the Gaels to the second round of the OUA playoffs. Despite turning the ball over twice, the Queen’s offence put up 222 yards through the air and 181 on the ground.
Queen’s will play Western on Saturday.
Laurier didn’t have any issue getting through to the OUA final four in their 69-0 win over the University of Waterloo Warriors. Quarterback Taylor Elgersma threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns, including two to receiver Ethan Jordan who had 149 receiving yards. Golden Hawks running back Tanner Nelmes also had a big game, rushing for 155 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries, averaging 17.2 yards per rush with a 55-yard long on the day.
St FX completes third consecutive undefeated regular season
After defeating the Saint Mary’s University Huskies 40-10 on Friday, the St Francis Xavier X-Men earned their third straight undefeated season — Western is the only other U SPORTS football team to achieve this feat since 2000.
X-Men kicker Ben Hadley broke the record for most field goals in an AUS season with his 24th during the game. St FX had a balanced offensive attack, as both quarterback Silas Fagnan and running back Malcolm Bussey had big days to end their regular season — Fagnan passed for 352 yards despite throwing an interception and Bussey ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
The Bishop’s University Gaiters finished the season in second place in the AUS following an 18-8 victory over the Mount Allison University Mounties. Bishop’s played two quarterbacks in the game, with Mason McGriskin throwing for 130 yards and a touchdown while Xavier Gervais had 114 passing yards.
Both U SPORTS AUS matchups this past week will be repeated in the conference semis this coming weekend.