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Football Weekend Watch: No. 3 Dinos, No. 9 Huskies battle for first place in Canada West

U SPORTS Staff

For the third time in as many weeks, the reigning conference champion Calgary Dinos have to go through a top-10 opponent to keep their status as the team to beat in Canada West football.

After opening their 2018 schedule against then 10th-ranked Regina and No. 6 UBC, the Dinos (2-0), who moved up to third place in this week’s national rankings, travel to Saskatoon on Friday to take on the No. 9 Saskatchewan Huskies (2-0). Kickoff for the battle for first place in the league standings is set for 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, live on SaskTel maxTV, TELUS Optik TV, Bell MTS and CanadaWest.TV

In the other U SPORTS conferences this weekend, defending Vanier Cup champion Western (2-0) goes for its 15th straight win overall dating back to a loss in the 2016 Yates Cup final. Fifth-ranked Montreal (1-1) hopes to rebound from a close loss to archrival Laval. Reigning champion Acadia (1-1) looks to keep pace with undefeated Saint Mary’s in the AUS race.  

Here is a game-by-game look at all Week 4 matchups as well as a detailed schedule, including all television broadcast and webcast info.

OFF THIS WEEK

 No. 2 Laval (3-0), No. 7 Saint Mary’s (3-0), Ottawa (2-1).

FRIDAY

No. 3 Calgary (2-0) at No. 9 Saskatchewan (2-0)

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

Last week (Calgary): 57-7 home win vs. UBC (1-1)... Last week (Saskatchewan): 48-46 road win vs. Manitoba (0-2)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 23, 2017 – regular season at Calgary): Calgary 51, Saskatchewan 28... In a nutshell: The Dinos have won 12 out of 13 overall against the Huskies since the start of the 2011 season, their lone head-to-head loss over that period being a 38-35 setback on home turf on Oct. 22, 2016... Calgary (53.0 points per game) and Saskatchewan (45.0) head into the contest as the top two scoring teams in the country... Keep an eye on (Calgary): In his second season as the team’s starting quarterback, Adam Sinagra is off to a terrific start, leading the country in passing yards per game (408.0), with eight TD passes against only one interception... Keep an eye on (Saskatchewan): Tyler Chow has a Canada West-leading 207 rushing yards after two games.

No. 6 UBC (1-1) at Regina (1-1)

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

Last week (UBC): 57-7 road loss vs. Calgary (2-0)... Last week (Regina): 51-13 road win vs. Alberta (0-2)... Last head-to-head matchup (Nov. 4, 2017 – CW semifinal at UBC): UBC 28, Regina 21... In a nutshell: UBC and Regina split their regular season series a year ago, with the Rams winning 36-20 on home turf on opening weekend and the Thunderbirds taking the conference finale 44-15 in Vancouver... After two contests, the Rams’ offence ranks second in the country in yards per game (579.5), while the T-Birds’ defence ranks 25th in yards allowed (527.0)... Keep an eye on (UBC): Third-year running back Kory Nagata ranks second in Canada West and fifth in the country in all-purpose yards per game (159.5)... Keep an eye on (Regina): The countdown is on for fifth-year quarterback Noah Picton, who currently stands at 10,618 passing yards for his career, only 859 shy of the all-time U SPORTS record held by former Sherbrooke standout Jérémi Rock (2011-15).

SATURDAY

 York (1-2) at No. 1 Western (2-0)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
  • Rogers TV (tape delay) & OUA.TV

 Last week (York): 29-22 home win vs. Windsor (0-3)... Last week (Western): 44-6 home win vs. McMaster (1-2)... Last head-to-head matchup (Aug. 27, 2017 – regular season at York): Western 66, York 3... In a nutshell: Since the start of the 2008 season, the Mustangs are 8-0 against the Lions, having scored 48 points or more in each of those contests... In his 19th season as a U SPORTS head coach, his 12th at Western, Greg Marshall (149-43-2 overall) needs one more win to become the sixth sideline boss in history to reach the 150 mark... Keep an eye on (York): Fourth-year senior Colton Hunchak currently leads the country with 29 receptions in three games, the same total he had last season when he was limited to three league contests... Keep an eye on (Western): Fourth-year running back Cedric Joseph notched his first three touchdowns of the campaign last Saturday and has scored a ridiculous 25 majors during Western’s current 14-game winning streak.

 Waterloo (2-1) at No. 4 Laurier (2-0)

 Last week (Waterloo): 21-18 home loss vs. Carleton (2-1)... Last week (Laurier): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 23, 2017 – regular season at Waterloo): Laurier 71, Waterloo 24... In a nutshell: The Golden Hawks have won the last 14 editions of the Battle of Waterloo since a 18-16 setback in their 2002 season opener... Laurier (41.5 points per game) and Waterloo (37.3) are currently 1-2 in OUA scoring... Keep an eye on (Waterloo): Quarterback Tre Ford, the 2017 national rookie of the year, his enjoying one of the best starts in U SPORTS history with an 80 per cent completion rate, over 1,000 yards in three games (1,085) and 12 TD passes against only one interception... Keep an eye on (Laurier): With 20 catches in two games, reigning OUA MVP Kurleigh Gittens Jr. is – remarkably - on pace to break the single-season U SPORTS record of 75 he set last fall.

No. 5 Montreal (1-1) at Sherbrooke (0-3)

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

Last week (Montreal): 12-7 home loss vs. Laval (3-0)... Last week (Sherbrooke): 22-20 road loss vs. Concordia (1-1)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 14, 2017 – regular season at Sherbrooke): Montreal 47, Sherbrooke 15... In a nutshell: The Carabins are riding a five-game overall winning streak against the Vert & Or since a 17-12 loss at Sherbrooke on Oct. 3, 2015... Montreal’s defence currently leads the nation in fewest total yards (192.5), passing yards (124.0) and rushing yards (68.5) allowed per game, while Sherbrooke’s offence ranks 26th in yards gained per contest (191.0)... Keep an eye on (Montreal): Louis-Philippe Simoneau leads the nation with 43.7 yards per punt, following in the footsteps of former teammate and current Montreal Alouette Félix Ménard-Brière, who finished among the top two in country in that category in each of his last three university seasons (2015-2017)... Keep an eye on (Sherbrooke): Sophomore defensive back Anthony Chagnon tied the school record for longest touchdown last Saturday when he returned a fumble recovery on 108 yards.

 Queen’s (2-1) at No. 8 Carleton (2-1)

Last week (Queen’s): 43-7 home win vs. Toronto (0-2)... Last week (Carleton): 21-18 road win vs. Waterloo (2-1)... Last head-to-head matchup (Aug. 26, 2017 – regular season at Queen’s): Carleton 22, Queen’s 17... In a nutshell: In last year’s confrontation in Kingston, Carleton stole the victory away from Queen’s with 10 unanswered points in the last 80 seconds of regulation, including a one-yard TD run by quarterback Michael Arruda with 18 seconds left... The Gaels’ defence ranks second in the country with nine sacks in three games, while Carleton ranks third in both interceptions (4) and fumble recoveries (3)... Keep an eye on (Queen’s): Sitting at 7,559 career passing yards, fifth-year quarterback Nate Hobbs needs 34 on Saturday to move past two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tommy Denison (7,592) in third place on the all-time Queen’s list... Keep an eye on (Carleton): Sophomore linebacker Jack Cassar leads the country in total tackles (26.0), solo tackles (21.0) and tackles per game (8.7).

No. 10 Guelph (1-2) at Windsor (0-3)

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

 Last week (Guelph): 12-10 road loss vs. Ottawa (2-1)... Last week (Windsor): 29-22 road loss vs. York (1-2)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 9, 2017 – regular season at Guelph): Guelph 81, Windsor 10... In a nutshell: In Guelph’s 71-point victory last fall, the Gryphons scored five touchdowns of 20 yards or more, highlighted by Ryan Isenor’s 125-yard missed field goal return... Windsor’s passing offence is currently ranked second in the OUA and fifth in the country (337.7 yards per game), while Guelph’s rushing attack occupies the same spots both within the conference and nationally (180.0)... Keep an eye on (Guelph): With 76 career field goals, fifth-year kicker Gabriel Ferraro ranks sixth on the all-time U SPORTS list (record: 91) and fourth in OUA annals (record: 89)... Keep an eye on (Windsor): With 1,013 passing yards in three games (337.7 avg.), sophomore quarterback Sam Girard is on pace to break the single-season school record of 2,637 (329.6 avg.) set in 2012 by Austin Kennedy.

 Mount Allison (1-1) at Acadia (1-1)

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

Last week (Mount Allison): 25-13 home loss vs. Saint Mary’s (3-0)... Last week (Acadia): 39-9 road win vs. Bishop’s (0-3)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 30, 2017 – regular season at Acadia): Acadia 33, Mount Allison 14... In a nutshell: Mount Allison won the first head-to-head matchup of 2017, 64-23 on home turf, before going on a four-game losing skid... The Axemen (215.5) and Mounties (187.0) are ranked second and third in the country, respectively, in rushing yards per game... Keep an eye on (Mount Allison): Fifth-year running back Chris Reid, who has rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games and four of his last five going to last season, needs 388 over his last six games this fall to become the sixth player in AUS history to reach the 3,000-yard plateau... Keep an eye on (Acadia): Defensive back Jadin White-Frayne, who didn’t attempt a single punt or kick return in his first three regular seasons with the Axemen, had 181 return yards last Saturday against Bishop’s, including a 97-yard score on a kickoff return.

Concordia (1-1) at McGill (1-1)

Last week (Concordia): 22-20 home win vs. Sherbrooke (0-3)... Last week (McGill): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 14, 2017 – regular season at McGill): Concordia 36, McGill 10... In a nutshell: Concordia also won the first duel between the crosstown rivals last fall, a dominating 68-16 victory on home turf in mid-September... The Redmen currently rank third in the country in overall defence (263.0 yards allowed per game) and second against the rush (77.5) but are last in the nation in overall offence (174.5)... Keep an eye on (Concordia): Third-year wide receiver Jarryd Taylor, who led the Stingers last season with 574 receiving yards, is off to a great start this fall with an RSEQ-leading 303 yards in his first two games... Keep an eye on (McGill): Third-year halfback Benjamin Carré was named the U SPORTS defensive player of the week following McGill’s last game on Sept. 1st thanks to a pair of interceptions against Sherbrooke, including a 71-yard return for a touchdown.

Toronto (0-2) at McMaster (1-2)

  • 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
  • Cable 14, YourTV & OUA.TV

Last week (Toronto): 43-7 road loss vs. Queen’s (2-1)... Last week (McMaster): 44-6 road loss vs. Western (2-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 5, 2017 – regular season at Toronto): McMaster 43, Toronto 6... In a nutshell: McMaster has won 16 straight against Toronto – all in conference play – since a 30-13 road loss back on Sept. 21, 1996... Both teams have struggled to put points on the board early in the season as the Marauders are last in OUA scoring (11.0 points per game) while the Varsity Blues are next to last (12.5)... Keep an eye on (Toronto): Quarterback Clay Sequeira is the Varsity Blues’ top rusher after two games with 129 yards and has now let the team in rushing in three straight contests and four of the last five going back to last season... Keep an eye on (McMaster): Defensive lineman Enoch Penney-Laryea ranks second in the OUA and fourth in the country with 4.5 tackles for a loss in three games.

Bishop’s (0-3) at StFX (1-1)

Last week (Bishop’s): 39-9 home loss vs. Acadia (1-1)... Last week (StFX): Bye... Last head-to-head matchup (Oct. 28, 2017 – regular season at StFX): StFX 27, Bishop’s 14... In a nutshell: The X-Men went 2-0 against Bishop’s last year in the Gaiters’ inaugural AUS season as they had also prevailed 37-27 in Lennoxville on Sept. 23... Look for both offences to rely heavily on the ground game on Saturday as the Gaiters (192.3) and X-Men (208.0) rank 26th and 27th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game... Keep an eye on (Bishop’s): Running back Keith Normandin leads the AUS and ranks second in the nation with 169 yards on kickoff returns in three games... Keep an eye on (StFX): Defensive back Dylan Bell tops the AUS and ranks second in the nation in tackles per game (8.3).

Alberta (0-2) at Manitoba (0-2)

Last week (Alberta): 51-13 home loss vs. Regina (1-1)... Last week (Manitoba): 48-46 home loss vs. Saskatchewan (2-0)... Last head-to-head matchup (Sept. 29, 2017 – regular season at Manitoba): Alberta 36, Manitoba 25... In a nutshell: After making the playoffs for the first time since 2010 last fall, the Golden Bears have really struggled early in 2018 and currently rank last in the country in both points scored (6.5) and points allowed (46.5) per game... Despite an 0-2 start, the Bisons have been showing encouraging signs on offence as they currently rank fourth in the nation in total yards (536.0) and third in passing yards (405.0) per game... Keep an eye on (Alberta): Defensive back Josiah Schakel leads Canada West with 13 solo tackles in two games... Keep an eye on (Manitoba): Running back Jamel Lyles leads Canada West and ranks second in the country in all-purpose yards per game (197.5).

About the Vanier Cup

The Vanier Cup, the championship game for Canadian university football, is one of the country’s most storied sporting events. The first national championship game, then called the Canadian College Bowl, was won by Laval University of on Nov. 20, 1965. Two years later, a playoff system was instituted by the governing body for Canadian university sport. The title contest became the Vanier Cup in 1982, named in honour of Canada’s first Governor General, Georges Vanier.

Sportsnet and TVA Sports are once again the official broadcasters of the U SPORTS football semifinals and final in 2018... The Mitchell Bowl (CW at OUA) and Uteck Bowl (AUS at RSEQ) are set for Saturday, Nov. 17, while the Vanier Cup follows on Saturday, Nov. 24 at TELUS-UL Stadium in Quebec City... For all the information on the 54th Vanier Cup (including tickets) click here.