Following a rare close call in Week 5, the Western Mustangs were back to their dominant selves on Thanksgiving weekend and the reigning Vanier Cup champions top the U SPORTS football national rankings for the seventh week in a row.
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The Mustangs, who crushed Windsor 66-14 last Thursday in London to improve to 6-0 on the season, received 111 points from the Football Reporters of Canada panel in this week’s voting and an additional 120 from the ELO Rating System for a combined total of 231.
The 2017 Vanier Cup finalist Laval Rouge et Or (6-0 / 219 points) follow in second place for the seventh straight Tuesday, while the No. 3 Calgary Dinos (5-0 / 196), No. 4 Montreal Carabins (4-2 / 168), No. 5 Ottawa Gee-Gees (5-1 / 119) and No. 6 Saint Mary’s Huskies (6-0 / 90) also stay put this week.
Rounding out the seventh top 10 of the campaign are the No. 7 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (3-3 / 90 / up one position), No. 8 Saskatchewan Huskies (3-2 / 62 / down one), No. 9 McMaster Marauders (4-2 / 58 / previously unranked) and No. 10 Guelph Gryphons (3-3 / 39 / no change).
Saint Mary’s and Laurier earned 90 total points apiece but the Huskies edged the Hawks for sixth place thanks to a higher number of points in the media vote (30 to 18).
Western (7), Laval (4) and Calgary (1) were once again the only teams to merit first-place votes from the FRC panel.
Coming off a 26-23 comeback win over Queen’s on Sept. 29, top-ranked Western took care of business early against the visiting Lancers, taking a 16-0 lead midway through the first quarter and retreating to the locker room with a 49-7 halftime advantage en route to its 18th consecutive success overall, dating back to the start of the 2017 schedule.
Fourth-year running back Cedric Joseph was simply sensational in the win as he racked up an OUA-record 355 rushing yards in only two quarters of action, good for third place on the national single-game list. The Montreal native also scored three touchdowns, giving him a U SPORTS-leading 10 on the season and a whopping 32 over the course of the Mustangs’ current winning streak.
Next up for the defending Vanier Cup champs is arguably their biggest test so far in 2018 as they travel to the nation’s capital on Saturday to face the No. 5 Gee-Gees, with first place in the OUA standings on the line (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, OUA.TV). Ottawa has won five straight since a season-opening loss to Laurier, including a 53-21 domination of Toronto last Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the most-anticipated matchup of Thanksgiving weekend, Laval edged Montreal 18-15 in overtime on Sunday to secure first place in the RSEQ standings and home-field advantage throughout the Quebec conference playoffs. The game was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,234 in Quebec City.
Remarkably, 12 of the past 13 duels between the archrivals, who have met in each of the last five Dunsmore Cup finals, have now been decided by six points or less.
Other Week 6 results from top-10 squads included Saint Mary’s 18, Bishop’s 9 (at Saint Mary’s); Laurier 37, Carleton 31 (at Carleton); McMaster 27, Queen’s 24 (at McMaster).
The other members of the national elite, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Guelph, all enjoyed a well-deserved Thanksgiving break.
In addition to Saturday’s top-10 clash between Western and Ottawa, the Week 7 schedule will see conference leaders Laval, Calgary and Saint Mary’s try to maintain their unblemished records.
The Dinos host 3-2 Manitoba on Friday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, CanadaWest.TV), while on Saturday, the Rouge et Or visit 1-4 McGill (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, StretchTV) and the Huskies welcome 2-3 Mount Allison (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca).
FRC – U SPORTS FOOTBALL TOP 10 (#7)
New this season, U SPORTS is implementing the ELO Rating System for the calculation of its weekly national rankings, in conjunction with its regular Football Reporters of Canada panel. Powered by RankR, ELO’s unique algorithm blends a statistical calculation with customized variables that is adaptable across a range of sports. For football, it will be combined with the results of the media panel balloting (each weighted 50%) to produce the final top 10. For more information, click here.
|Honourable mention*: Carleton (21), Regina (14), Manitoba (10), St. FX (3)|
* Saint Mary’s edges Laurier for sixth place based on number of media votes.