U-Sports Men’s Football Mid-Season Update
As we are inching closer to the USports postseason, so much football has happened from coast to coast that Football Canada is featuring the highlights of all four conferences so far in 2017.
There is a different look to this conference as the Bishop’s Gaiters joined the AUS officially at the beginning of the season. Head Coach Cherif Nicolas and the team grabbed their first win in the conference on September 15th in a thrilling 32-31 victory over Mount Allison Mounties.
However, the main highlight of 2017 has been the re-emergence of Saint Mary’s Huskies. After a few years of tough times on and off the field, the team has reversed their fortunes and rolled into Thanksgiving with a 5-0 record. That includes two come from behind wins against Mount Allison Mounties and 2016 Loney Bowl Champions St.FX Men.
It expects to be a battle heading into the postseason as the other four teams are within a couple of points of each other.
Despite reducing the number of teams to 5, 2017 continues to be an extension of last season as defending Vanier Cup Champions Laval Rouge et Or and Montreal Carabins continue their historic rivalry.
The Carabins won their first meeting of the season against the Rouge et Or 21-16 back in early September. However, the Concordia Stingers and McGill Redmen have played competitive games against the Rouge et Or and Carabins.
From rags to riches, the Waterloo Warriors are the Cinderella story of the conference as well as USports. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Warriors hadn’t won a game since 2014.
In his third year as Head Coach, Chris Bertoia got his first win back on the first week of the OUA season as the team defeated Windsor Lancers 54-33. After that game, the Warriors went on a 4-0 tear, which is identical to their start 10 years ago in 2007.
Once again, an annual highlight of the OUA and USports season did not disappoint. At the end of September, Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees renewed their cross-town rivalry in the Panda Game.
With the highest attendance in 49 years, over 24, 000 people at sold-out TD Place witnessed a dramatic spectacle that went to double overtime. Ravens quarterback Michael Arruda dashed into the end zone on a six- yard bootleg run to seal the 33-30 victory for the Ravens. Pedro returns home with the Ravens for the fourth consecutive year.
Sadness loomed in the conference as the Gee-Gees mourned the loss of teammate Loic Kayembe, who passed away in his sleep on September 24th. The defensive end was only 24 years old.
The Western Mustangs are on a mission to avenge their loss in the Yates Cup as they lead the OUA conference heading into the Thanksgiving weekend with a perfect 6-0 record. Meanwhile, 2016 Yates Cup Champions Laurier Golden Hawks
Calgary DInos are hitting all cylinders and the result is that the team is the cream of the crop in the Canada West Conference. Other teams in the conference haven’t been able to solve the Dinos, who have a perfect 5-0 record.
Meanwhile, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds enjoyed the third biggest crowd in the history of Canada West football back on September 16th. As it was Homecoming week, the Thunderbirds defeated Saskatchewan Huskies 33-10 in front of 9,500 spectators.
While the DInos and Thunderbirds may appear destined for a collision course in the Hardy Cup finals for the third consecutive year (which would be historic), the one team that could alter this is the Regina Rams.
Hec Crighton winner Noah Picton is continuing where he left off after year’s campaign as the Rams have started off strong and have earned some key victories, including one over the Thunderbirds.
The post Brian Towriss era has begun with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and the tea is in the thick of things within the CWUAA conference, battling Manitoba Bisons and Alberta Golden Bears for a place in the postseason.
U-Sports Men’s Football Standings as of November 2nd, 2017
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