Six weeks into the season, things are starting to look a little clearer in the U Sports landscape. Teams are starting to separate themselves in the OUA, RSEQ looks to have a clear top three, and Canada West and AUS will be a dogfight from here on out for seeding. Canada West has a conference-wide break this week, but we don’t. Here are our top ten rankings after six weeks into the U Sports football season.
10. Sherbrooke Vert et Or
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Last Game: Win @ Concordia Stingers (38-14)
Next Game: Vs. Laval Rouge et Or
The first top ten appearance this season for Les Vert et Or, Sherbrooke have quietly gone about their season so far and look to have cemented at least third in the RSEQ. After a blowout 27-3 loss to Laval on opening day, Sherbrooke has now won three of their last four, and clams very close to usurping Montreal in a tight 20-24 defeat. But against Concordia, the team many thought would be third in the RSEQ, Vert et Or have twice put them aside. In their 38-14 win last week, running back Lucas Dalin went off for a season-high 164 yards as the Stingers just couldn’t live with Sherbooke’s ground attack. They’ll need production like that again when Laval comes to town in their next game, a match that could be season-defining.
9. Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Last Game: Win @ Windsor Lancers (49-11)
Next Game: @ Waterloo Warriors
After a close run defeat against Ottawa, the Hawks got back to winning ways against Windsor and made sure that the scoreline wouldn’t be close! Windsor has been on many people’s radar this season, Laurier put up 443 yards on offence as QB Taylor Elgersma had his best game of the season with a 73.1% pass completion rate, three passing TDs, and one rushing touchdown! Running back Quentin Scott also got in on the action with 155 yards on the ground as Laurier won the game a resounding 49-11! Next up is the battle of Waterloo, and with the Warriors in poor form, the Golden Hawks will definitely be confident!
8. St. Francis Xavier X-Men
Previous Ranking: 6th
Last Game: Win @ Mount Allison Mounties (26-7)
Next Game: Vs. Bishop’s Gaiters
It was a pretty successful bye as far as bye weeks go for the X-Men. STFX got to sit back and watch as their closest rivals the Mount Allison Mounties lost 19-6 to Bishop’s, meaning the X-Men now have a four-win cushion atop the AUS with a game in hand! A big part of STFX’s dominance has been their defence, Alex Fedchun sits third in U Sports with five sacks, and the unit as a whole less the league for lowest points given up per game, sitting at just 11.3!
7. Ottawa Gee-Gees
Previous Ranking: 8th
Last Game: Win Vs. Carleton Ravens (37-7)
Next Game: @ York Lions
Well, that was fun! (Unless you live in certain downtown Ottawa neighbourhoods). A huge crowd of 20,000 plus turned out for the 2022 Panda Game between Ottawa and Carleton, and the game would turn out to be the Nicholas Gendron show. Having only accumulated 135 receiving yards through five games, Gendron went off for eight receptions – 211 yards and a touchdown! It was a great day for Ottawa, who just had their way with Carlton on defence all season, and went on to put the game out of reach for the Ravens in the fourth quarter, scoring twenty unanswered points to win the game 37-7! Despite giving up the first touchdown on the day, the Gee-Gees defence was outstanding. Limiting Carleton to just nine first downs, ten completed passes and a time of possession of just 23:36.Ottawa now sits at 4-1, firmly in command of at least a third spot place in the OUA and with a game against lowly York coming up after the bye, they’ll be feeling confident about their playoff chances soon enough!
6. Regina Rams
Previous Ranking: 7th
Last Game: Win Vs. Alberta Golden Bears (19-14)
Next Game: @ Saskatchewan Huskies
Regina secured a playoff spot for the first time since 2017 thanks to a hard-fought 19-14 win over the Alberta Golden Bears. It wasn’t pretty, but luckily enough the Rams were able to call on the services of kicker Aldo Galvan. Galvan put up twelve of Regina’s nineteen points on the night, including a clutch kick at 16-14 late in the fourth to give Regina some breathing room. Meanwhile, their defence continued to dominate. Anthony Bennet now leads U Sports in sacks with 6.5 on the season, meanwhile; Jackson Sombach, Ryder Varga and Garth Knittig all had fantastic statistical games – as Regina continues to have one of the best defences in the land! Next up after the bye is a rematch with Saskatchewan, perhaps a Hardy Cup preview?
5. Laval Rouge et Or
Previous Ranking: 5th
Last Game: Win Vs. McGill Redbirds (36-17)
Next Game: @ Sherbrooke Vert et Or
Laval warmed up for a crucial part of their schedule with a 36-17 win over the McGill Redbirds. The offence was clicking, Arnaud Desjardins threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns, giving him fourteen passing TDs on the season which leads every quarterback in U Sports! He was helped out by receiver David Dallaire who finished the day with 118 yards on four receptions, easily his best game of the season! Now for Laval is games away to third place 3-2 Sherbrooke, and then the rematch with the Montreal Carabins. If les Rouge et Or can win those two games, they’ll be in a great position to pip the Carabins to home-field advantage for the playoffs!
4. Montreal Carabins
Previous Ranking: 4th
Last Game: Win @ McGill Redbirds (29-12)
Next Game: Vs. Concordia Stingers
It was a bye week for Quebec’s number-one team at the moment, and it’s always good to have a week to get healthy. Marco Iadeluca’s side hasn’t always looked all-conquering in their first four games, but you can’t argue with 4-0 and just 68 points given up all season. Nicky Farinaccio leads the league with 6.5 sacks alongside Anthony Bennet of Regina, but Farinaccio has played a game less, and has two forced fumbles. On the other side, quarterback Jonathan Sénécal is averaging 286.3 passing yards per game, good enough for third best in the Canadian collegiate game! This team wants to get over last season’s heartbreak, and they’ve done a lot of good work toward putting that right.
3. Queen’s Gaels
Previous Ranking: 3rd
Last Game: Win Vs. York Lions (61-2)
Next Game: @ McMaster Marauders
This offence right now is on fire. The gales through six games have scored 256 total points this season, more than any team in U Sports at the moment! Their last three games have seen them put up 49, 62 and 61 points and their latest outing against the York Lions was their most dominant to date as they won 61-2! Even having starting QB James Keenan out with a lower back injury couldn’t slow them down, as Alex Vreeken put up 223 yards and there were touchdowns and no interceptions, making it no interceptions thrown by a Queen’s QB in five of their six games. Queen’s also held York to just six first downs, four sacks and two fumble recoveries, limiting York to just a safety. There’s a really feel-good atmosphere in Kingston at the moment, and they’ll be hoping to keep their offensive juggernaut going against McMaster on October 15th.
2. Saskatchewan Huskies
Previous Ranking: 2nd
Last Game: Win Vs. Manitoba Bisons (43-22)
Next Game: @ UBC Thunderbirds
At the start of the season, there was some debate that Manitoba could be the Huskies’ closest challengers, but twenty-four unanswered points in the second half meant the Bisons couldn’t keep up with Saskatchewan, as the number one team our West flexed their muscles in a 43-22 win. Ted Kubongo stole the show at Griffiths Stadium, rushing for 121 yards and a TD on just nine carries. Not done there, Kubongo had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, AND a receiving touchdown, to give him a total of three touchdowns and 327 all-purpose yards. There are a lot of weapons on this team, and they’ll be looking to cement first place in the West and home-field advantage in the playoffs with a win against their provincial rivals in two weeks’ time.
1. Western Mustangs
Previous Ranking: 1st
Last Game: Win @ McMaster Marauders (47-14)
Next Game: @ Toronto Varsity Blues
So far there just seems to be no stopping the reigning champs. McMaster is a tough place to go, but Western showed the Marauders no mercy as they raced into a 43-0 lead in the third quarter, before going on to win 47-14. Evan Hillock had season-high stats of 332 yards and an 84.0% passer completion rate. He sits atop U Sports with a pass efficiency of 203.9. Hilock doesn’t make mistakes, he has fourteen touchdowns and no interceptions – the only starting QB this season to not throw a pick. The running game also put up 240 yards as they continue to look unstoppable. We don’t know for sure that they’ll be playing at the Vanier Cup this season that’ll be played in their home stadium, but I wouldn’t be the one who bets against them!
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