How The 2022 U Sports Football Season Is Shaping Up – Post Thanksgiving

How The 2022 U Sports Football Season Is Shaping Up – Post Thanksgiving

With the West on bye this week, we’re taking a break from Top Ten rankings this week to instead take a look at the state of play in the four conferences. It’s been a great U Sports football season up to this point, and before we gear up for the final weeks of the regular season, lets recap what’s gone on so far and who is poised to make an impact in the playoffs and beyond!



There has been off the field challenges for the Atlantic University Sports Conference, Hurricane Fiona led to the postponement and then cancellation of Saint Mary’s Huskies versus Bishop’s Gaiters (the return fixture is now worth four points) but back on the field, the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men have been unstoppable.

St. Francis Xavier running back Malcolm Bussey eludes a Mount Allison tackle during an Atlantic university football game Sunday night in Sackville, N.B. The U Sports No. 7 X-Men defeated the nationally 10th-ranked Mounties 26-7. – (MOUNT ALLISON ATHLETICS)

Having gone unbeaten in the AUS last season, STFX have picked up exactly where they left off with the help of a stout defence. The most points the team have given up in a game so far is sixteen and have given up just eleven points per game, the best record in U Sports! Alex Fedchun has shone on defence for the X-Men, the defensive lineman has twenty-seven tackles, one forced fumble and five sacks so far this season! He’s joined by a supporting cast of Nathan Cayouette, and Dyton Blackett!


On offense, their strength comes from running. Running back Malcolm Bussey has over a hundred yards per game on the season so far and five touchdowns, and while quarterback Silas Fagnan could be putting up more statistical production, he’s getting the job done in leading the team to a bye in the playoffs.


In the chasing pack is the Bishop’s Gaiters, Saint Mary’s Huskies and Mount Allison Mounties. The Mounties have looked lethargic on offence at times, but they sit at 4-2 with a two win cushion on the Huskies and and Gaiters. Three teams get a playoff spot, and with the final game of the season being between Saint Marys and Bishop’s there’s a lot to be excited about going forward in this conference!


Another season, another year of dominance from the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec big two! There was some hope and optimism that there could be a challenge to the status quo, particular with the Concordia Stingers who not only beat Montreal last season, but also had the reigning RSEQ MVP, Olivier Roy amongst their ranks. It hasn’t gone to plan though, with the Sherbrooke Vert et OR in fact having cemented themselves as third best in the Québec – a fact they have cemented by sweeping Concordia this season!

Running back Pier-Olivier Cadoret had 83 yards during the game, and it was he who made the important run, on the team’s last offensive streak, that led to Louis Tardif’s game-winning field goal in Sherbrooke’s 24-23 win over Concordia. (LA TRIBUNE, JEAN ROY)

But Sherbrooke have had no answers against the big two, the Montreal Carabins and Laval Rouge et Or. They have a combined record of 10-1, with the one defeat coming from when Montreal narrowly defeated Laval 21-18. Both teams are filled with statistical leaders. Quarterbacks Arnaud Desjardins (Laval) and Jonathan Sénécal (Montreal) are both in the top five for passing yards per game, with Desjardins fifteen passing touchdowns the best in U Sports! Nine of those fifteen touchdowns have been to receiver Kevin Mital, who leads U Sports in receiving TD’s.



Don’t count out the defensive side of the ball though, in the Carabins linebacking corp is Nicky Farinaccio, who leads U Sports with eight-and-half sacks and forced fumbles with three through just five games! Meanwhile Laval have eight interceptions this season, with Arnaud Laporte being the top ball hawk with three! The two teams are both very dominant on either side of the ball, and while anything can happen, it looks certain that the Dunsmore Cup will once again be a heavy weight battle between Laval and Montreal.

It’s the Western Mustangs world in the Ontario University Athletics conference, the rest of the teams are just living through it! There isn’t enough superlatives to describe just how good/dominant Western have been this season, the reigning Vanier Cup champions have scored the most points per game (45.3), most yards per game (528.7), most total offence (3067 points) and have also been simply unstoppable on the ground, with 300.7 rushing yards per game. Two running backs, Keon Edwards and Edouard Wanadi are both averaging over 110 yards a game, this team is an absolute juggernaut!


In the pack are a few teams vying for that second seed, but there is one team that appears to be above the rest – Queen’s Gaels. The Gaels have proven their doubters from last season wrong, racing into a 5-1 record having scored sixty points in back to back games, and having already played Western (their one loss), they will fancy their chances against anyone. Queen’s have running back Anthony Soles in their lineup, and with ten touchdowns, he has scored the most points of any non kicker or quarterback player this season so far!

Gaels maintained their winning streak in week two of the regular season with Anthony Soles running for 96 yards and a touchdown. (Robin Kasem)

Looking to catch up with Queen’s is Ottawa, who also sit at 5-1 but their sole loss so far came at home to the Gaels. Despite what’s been a really good season so far for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, it looks very likely that they’ll have to beat Western to keep up with Queen’s in the race for second. Western, Queen’s and Ottawa look like locks for three of the seven playoff spots available in the OUA, and the four other sports are currently occupied by the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (4-2), Toronto Varsity Blues (3-4), Carleton Ravens (3-3) and the Windsor Lancers (3-3). On the outside looking in are the McMaster Marauders, who could easily be 3-3, if an administrative error didn’t cost them a win against York. (York we’re awarded a win over McMaster after McMaster were deemed to have played an ineligible player). McMaster’s last two games are against Queen’s and Toronto, and they’ll be hoping for two big performances to give themselves a chance of the OUA playoffs.

Canada West

It’s been a vintage year so far for the province of Saskatchewan when it comes to U Sports football. Just like last year, the Saskatchewan Huskies have been the class of the conference, currently sitting at 5-0, having scored 165 points and conceded just 63! Leading the charge has been signal caller Mason Nyhus, who has been unstoppable against Canada West opponents with eleven touchdowns, just one interception and leads U Sports with in passing yards per game, with 343.0! He’s been helped out by receivers Daniel Perry and Caleb Morin, who have a combined 772 passing yards on the season.


Just behind them are the surprise package in all of U Sports this season, the Regina Rama. After finishing 1-5 last season (shortened season), the Rams are currently 5-1 and have already secured their first playoff spot since 2017! Key to this success has been their defence, which has even held the highflying Huskies offence to just eleven points in their 11-10 defeat to Saskatchewan earlier this season. Defensive standouts such as Ryder Varga, Anthony Bennett, Josh White and Jackson Sombach have been very key to the Reginas success that seen the unit give up a U Sports best 67.8 rush yards per game, and just seventeen points per game.

The University of Regina Rams defeated UBC on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 with a 21-13 victory. (Courtesy: U of R Rams)

In the hunt for seeding is an underperforming Manitoba Bison team, and an Alberta Golden Bears team in the rise – both at 2-3 but with different expectations. Manitoba, last seasons Hardy Cup finalists were expected to challenge at the top of Canada West, but have struggled to even be a ranked team this season by the media. Meanwhile, under their rookie quarterback Eli Hetlinger – Alberta look set to make the playoffs and have a chance to have their first winning record since 2005. Hetlinger is third in U Sports for passes per game (279.2), and sixth for passing touchdowns (9).


Outside looking in are the 0-5 Calgary Dino’s and the 2-3 UBC Thunderbirds. The Dinos season over on accounts of their winless record five games in, but UBC are still in the hunt! Two of their last three games are against Manitoba and Alberta, if they win those games it’ll vastly increase their chances of gaining one of the four playoff sports available in Canada West.

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2 thoughts on “How The 2022 U Sports Football Season Is Shaping Up – Post Thanksgiving

  1. Great summary of the USports football season so far.

    FYI, OUA changed their playoff format so the top 7 make it, so only the top team gets a bye.

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