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Football Weekend Watch: Trio of Top 10 matchups highlights Week 3 schedule

U SPORTS Staff

A trio of top-10 battles, including rematches of last year’s RSEQ and Canada West finals, highlights the third weekend of the U SPORTS football regular season.

Saturday at 2 p.m., the second-ranked Laval Rouge et Or visit the No. 3 Montreal Carabins, live on TVA Sports. The archrivals have met in each of the past five Quebec conference championship matches, all of which were decided by three points or less.

Other top-10 confrontations on the Week 3 schedule include No. 6 UBC at No. 5 Calgary on Friday night (5:30 p.m. Mountain on CanadaWest.TV), in a rematch of the past three Hardy Cup finals, as well as No. 8 Guelph at No. 9 Ottawa on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. on Rogers TV and OUA.TV), in a game between 2017 OUA quarter-final foes.

Coming off an early bye week, the top-ranked and reigning Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. for their home opener against McMaster (live on OUA.TV and tape delayed on Rogers TV).

Here is a game-by-game look at all Week 3 matchups as well as a detailed schedule, including all television broadcast and webcast info.

OFF THIS WEEK 

No. 4 Laurier (2-0), McGill (1-1), StFX (1-1).

Friday

No. 6 UBC (1-0) at No. 5 Calgary (1-0)

Last week (UBC): 30-20 home win vs. Manitoba (0-1)... Last week (Calgary): 49-35 road win vs. Regina (0-1)... Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 11, 2017): 44-43 home win for Calgary in conference final... In a nutshell: The Thunderbirds remember their last visit at McMahon Stadium all too well as their hopes of advancing to the national semifinals were crushed by Nick DiFonte’s record-setting 59-yard field goal on the final play of last year’s Hardy Cup final... The Dinos had also won the lone head-to-head matchup of the 2017 regular schedule by 31-17 in Vancouver... Overall, Calgary has won five straight against UBC since a 34-26 loss at McMahon Stadium in the 2016 Hardy Cup final... A high-scoring affair is expected with standouts Adam Sinagra and Michael O’Connor behind centre for the Dinos and T-Birds, respectively... Keep an eye on (UBC): Third-year running back Kory Nagata, who racked up 234 all-purpose yards in eight conference games last season, had 229 in the T-Birds’ opener against Manitoba, leading the team in both rushing (136 yards) and receiving (93 yards)... Keep an eye on (Calgary): After leading the Dinos last year in receptions (50), receiving yards (767) and TD catches (7) despite playing in only seven league games, fourth-year senior Hunter Karl opened the 2018 schedule with six receptions for 172 yards and a major against Regina.

No. 10 Saskatchewan (1-0) at Manitoba (0-1)

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

Last week (Saskatchewan): 42-0 home win vs. Alberta (0-1)... Last week (Manitoba): 30-20 road loss vs. UBC (1-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 28, 2017): 36-32 road win for Manitoba in regular season finale... In a nutshell: The Huskies and Bisons also faced off in their conference opener last fall, with Saskatchewan prevailing 44-23 in Winnipeg... With their win over Alberta last Friday, the Huskies ended a six-game losing streak which started in Week 3 last year... The Bisons went 0-4 on home turf last fall and have lost five straight overall at Investors Group Field since a 38-17 win over Saskatchewan on Sept. 24, 2016... Keep an eye on (Saskatchewan): Following the graduation of all-Canadian Mitch Hillis, wide receiver Sam Baker was expected to take on a larger role in 2018 and he didn’t disappoint in the Huskies’ opener with 107 yards and two touchdowns on five catches... Keep an eye on (Manitoba): In his first season opener as the Bisons’ starting quarterback, third-year pivot Des Catellier was impressive last Saturday despite the loss to UBC, going 23 of 35 for 378 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Regina (0-1) at Alberta (0-1)

Last week (Regina): 49-35 home loss vs. Calgary (1-0)... Last week (Alberta): 42-0 road loss vs. Saskatchewan (1-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 14, 2017): 58-55 regular-season road win for Regina (in overtime)... In a nutshell: The Rams also defeated the Golden Bears in Week 3 last fall, by 28-18 on home turf... In their wild 58-55 shootout last October, the two teams combined for 1,193 yards of offence as Regina’s Noah Picton and Alberta’s Brad Baker both threw four TD passes...  The Bears hope to avoid starting 0-2 for the third consecutive season after dropping their first five games in 2016 and their first four a year ago... Keep an eye on (Regina): Currently sitting at 10,169 passing yards and 741 completions for his career, fifth-year Hec Crighton-winning quarterback Noah Picton needs 287 yards on Friday to move up to fourth place on the all-time U SPORTS list and 21 completed passes to move to third place in that category... Keep an eye on (Alberta): With a game-high 9.5 tackles last Friday, fifth-year defensive back Colton Balicki equaled his total from 2018, when he was limited to four league contests. 

Windsor (0-2) at York (0-2)

Last week (Windsor): 38-20 home loss vs. Carleton (1-1)... Last week (York): 33-18 home loss vs. Guelph (1-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 21, 2017): 43-27 home win for Windsor in regular season finale... In a nutshell: Thanks to their win over the Lions to close out the 2017 schedule, the Lancers avoided being the only team in the country to finish with an 0-8 record... The last time the two teams battled at Lions Stadium, on Sept. 10, 2016, York pivot Brett Hunchak set a single-game school record with 540 passing yards in a 56-32 win... After two games in 2018, Windsor tops the OUA and ranks second in the country in passing yards per contest (381.0), while York ranks fourth in Ontario and sixth in the nation (337.0)... Keep an eye on (Windsor): Fifth-year defensive back Matt Gayer was a bright spot in the Week 2 loss to Carleton with a game-high 9.5 tackles, one forced fumble and a pair of fumble recoveries... Keep an eye on (York): Fourth-year receiver Colton Hunchak, who last season caught 29 passes in only three league games, is currently tied for first in the country with 20 receptions in two outings.

Saturday

McMaster (1-1) at No. 1 Western (1-0)

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

Last week (McMaster): 18-11 road loss vs. Ottawa (1-1)... Last week (Western): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 9, 2017): 29-14 regular-season road win for Western... In a nutshell: The Mustangs have won three straight overall against the Marauders dating back to a 32-29 loss on home turf on Oct. 4, 2014... The ground game should play a key role on Saturday as Western, led by all-star running backs Alex Taylor and Cedric Joseph, led the country last season with a whopping 309.9 rushing yards per game, while McMaster’s Jordan Lyons leads the nation so far in 2018 with 246 yards in two games... After finishing third in the country last fall with 25 sacks in eight contests, the Marauders’ defence has been held to three in its first two games...  Keep an eye on (McMaster): Thanks to his U SPORTS-leading 246 rushing yards in two outings, fourth-year running back Jordan Lyons is well on his way to surpassing his career-high of 700 from a year ago... Keep an eye on (Western): Fifth-year running back Alex Taylor is the leader among active U SPORTS players with 32 career all-purpose touchdowns and needs two more to climb to fourth place on the Mustangs’ all-time list.

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

  • 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
  • TVA Sports

Last week (Laval): 47-9 home win vs. Concordia (0-1)... Last week (Montreal): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 11, 2017): 25-22 home win for Laval in Dunsmore Cup final... In a nutshell: Before meeting in the RSEQ title match for the fifth straight year last November, the archrivals had split their regular season series, with the Carabins winning 21-16 on home turf in early September and the Rouge et Or returning the favour with a 22-0 Week 7 victory in Quebec City... Ten of the past 11 Laval-Montreal duels have been decided by six points or less, with the one exception being that 22-0 result from last October... After allowing a U SPORTS-low 9.6 points per game last season, the Rouge et Or have conceded 10 in two contests so far in 2018 while keeping their first two opponents out of the end zone... Not to be outdone, the Carabins, who ranked third a year ago with 13.3 points allowed by contest, blanked McGill 33-0 in their 2018 opener two weeks ago, holding the Redmen to nine first downs and 105 yards of offence... Keep an eye on (Laval): With two sacks last Saturday, fourth-year defensive end Matthieu Betts, who was named U SPORTS’ outstanding down lineman each of the past two years, moved to within three of the conference career record of 31.5 set over five seasons by Queen’s Jim Aru (1994-1998)... Keep an eye on (Montreal): Fourth-year running back Asnell Robo was named the RSEQ player of the week on offence after Week 1 thanks to his six receptions for 105 yards, including a 69-yard score, to go with 40 yards on eight carries.

No. 7 Carleton (1-1) at Waterloo (2-0)

Last week (Carleton): 38-20 road win vs. Windsor (0-2)... Last week (Waterloo): 41-18 road win vs. Toronto (0-1)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 16, 2017): 45-43 regular-season road win for Waterloo... In a nutshell: In their high-scoring encounter last September, the two teams combined for a ridiculous 1,314 yards of total offence as the Warriors overcame a 30-10 halftime deficit to stun the Ravens... Waterloo’s offence is clicking on all cylinders so far this season and currently tops the OUA in both points (47.0) and yards (548.0) per game, while Carleton’s defence ranks second in Ontario in both sacks (5) and interceptions (3)... Keep an eye on (Carleton): Linebackers Jack Cassar and Josh Walsh are currently tied for first in the nation with 18.5 tackles in two games... Keep an eye on (Waterloo): With six touchdown receptions in Waterloo’s first two games, Tyler Ternowski is well on pace to break the single-season OUA (13) and U SPORTS (15) records.

No. 8 Guelph (1-1) at No. 9 Ottawa (1-1)

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

Last week (Guelph): 33-18 road win vs. York (0-2)... Last week (Ottawa): 18-11 home win vs. McMaster (1-1)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 28, 2017): 30-8 road win for Guelph in OUA quarter-finals... In a nutshell: Prior to last October’s OUA quarter-final matchup, the Gee-Gees had won the previous two head-to-head contests in overtime, by 24-21 in their 2017 season opener at Guelph and 31-28 on home turf on Sept. 17, 2016... Ottawa’s defence is tied for the U SPORTS lead early in 2018 with four interceptions, while Guelph has allowed an OUA-low 78.5 rushing yards per contest so far this fall... Keep an eye on (Guelph): Thanks to a 4-for-4 performance against York, fifth-year kicker Gabriel Ferraro, who last year set a single-season U SPORTS record with 33 field goals, moved up to sixth place on the national career list with 75 successful kicks, 16 shy of the all-time mark... Keep an eye on (Ottawa): Cornerback Jamie Harry, who led the OUA and ranked second in the country last fall with five interceptions, had one in each of the Gee-Gees first two games so far this season.

Saint Mary’s (2-0) at Mount Allison (1-0)

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

Last week (Saint Mary’s): 42-19 road win vs. Bishop’s (0-2)... Last week (Mount Allison): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 28, 2017): 26-25 road win for Mount Allison in regular season finale... In a nutshell: The first head-to-head contest of 2017 was also decided by a single point, a 27-26 road victory for Saint Mary’s in late September... The Huskies’ offence tops the AUS after two games in 2018 with 436.0 yards per outing, while their defence ranks first in the country in interceptions (4) and second in sacks (6)... The two teams met in preseason action on Sept. 18 in Halifax, where Saint Mary’s prevailed 17-10... Keep an eye on (Saint Mary’s): Freshman running back Jonathan Cimankinda is off to a terrific start with a team-leading 110.5 all-purpose yards per game, including an 87.0 average on the ground... Keep an eye on (Mount Allison): The leader among active AUS players with 2,509 career rushing yards, fifth-year running back Chris Reid kicked off the 2018 campaign two weeks ago with a 109-yard effort against Bishop’s.

Toronto (0-1) at Queen’s (1-1)

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

Last week (Toronto): 41-18 home loss vs. Waterloo (2-0)... Last week (Queen’s): 44-18 home loss vs. Laurier (2-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 21, 2017): 59-38 road win by Queen’s in regular season finale... In a nutshell: Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs had one of the best games of his career in last year’s conference finale against the Varsity Blues as he completed 32 of 40 passes for 436 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions... The Gaels are riding a 17-game overall winning streak versus Toronto since a 32-10 head-to-head loss back on Oct. 4, 1975... The Blues’ lone win in 2017 came in their second game of the campaign, at Varsity Stadium, a 19-12 decision over Windsor... Keep an eye on (Toronto): Third-year quarterback Clay Sequeira was a bright spot in the Blues’ season-opening loss to Waterloo as he went 31-of-47 for 361 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions... Keep an eye on (Queen’s): With 217 passing yards against Laurier last week, fifth-year quarterback Nate Hobbs surpassed the 7,000-yard plateau for his career (7,173) and now needs 419 yards to catch former Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tommy Denison in third place on the all-time Queen’s list.

Sherbrooke (0-2) at Concordia (0-1)

Last week (Sherbrooke): 19-8 road loss vs. McGill (1-1)... Last week (Concordia): 47-9 road loss vs. Laval (2-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 30, 2017): 30-13 regular-season road win for Sherbrooke... In a nutshell: Concordia had won the first confrontation of 2017, a 23-22 road victory in Week 2... The Stingers have dropped three straight home openers since a 25-15 success over Bishop’s in 2014... Despite back-to-back losses to kick off the 2018 campaign, the Vert & Or have been stellar on defence as they lead the nation in fewest yards allowed among teams that have played two games (234.5 per game)... Keep an eye on (Sherbrooke): Sophomore defensive back Tommy Roadley-Trohatos was solid last Saturday against McGill as he racked a team-high 4.5 tackles, including two for losses, while also forcing a fumble... Keep an eye on (Concordia): Fourth-year slotback Yanic Lessard is the career leader among active RSEQ players in receptions (107), receiving yards (1,422) and TD catches (13). 

Acadia (0-1) at Bishop’s (0-2)

Last week (Acadia): 30-24 OT road loss vs. StFX (1-1)... Last week (Bishop’s): 42-19 home loss vs. Saint Mary’s (2-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 7, 2017): 27-24 regular-season road win for Acadia... In a nutshell: The reigning conference champion Axemen went 2-for-2 against Bishop’s a year ago, also winning 27-10 on home turf in Week 2... In its season-opening loss to StFX last weekend, Acadia controlled the ball for almost 35 minutes but conceded a touchdown with 40 seconds left in regulation before falling in extra time... The Gaiters’ lone win last fall in their AUS debut came in Week 3, a 32-31 OT thriller at Mount Allison... Keep an eye on (Acadia): Named the AUS MVP last season after he led the conference in rushing yards (1,030), fourth-year running back Dale Wright opened his 2018 campaign with a 142-yard performance against StFX... Keep an eye on (Bishop’s): Sophomore Nicholas Cartagenise, who led the Gaiters last season with three interceptions, returned a pick on 82 yards last Saturday for his first career touchdown.