USports football top 10: Saskatchewan jumps into the mix

The reigning Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs top the USports football national rankings for the second consecutive week.

Coming off an early break in their OUA schedule, the Mustangs (1-0) received 123 voting points from the Football Reporters of Canada panel and an additional 130 from the ELO Rating System for a combined total of 253.

For the second straight Tuesday, the Laval Rouge et Or (2-0 / 233 points), Montreal Carabins (1-0 / 190), Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (2-0 / 184), Calgary Dinos (1-0 / 171) and UBC Thunderbirds (1-0 / 136) follow in order.

Western (9), Laval (3) and Calgary (1) each merited first-place votes from the 13-member FRC panel.

Rounding out the second top 10 of the 2018 campaign are, in order, the previously-unranked Carleton Ravens (1-1 / 63 points), the Guelph Gryphons (1-1 / 60), who hold on to eighth place, as well as the Ottawa Gee-Gees (1-1 / 50) and Saskatchewan Huskies (1-0 / 25), two teams that were also on the outside looking in a week ago.

While top-ranked Western and third-seeded Montreal both enjoyed a bye this past weekend, No. 2 Laval displayed all its firepower on Saturday night in its home opener against Concordia, following a subpar season debut at Sherbrooke.

After being held to 11 first downs and 222 yards of total offence in a 14-1 win over the Vert & Or on Aug. 24, the Rouge et Or exploded for 29 first downs and 502 yards versus the Stingers en route to a convincing 47-9 victory in Quebec City. The vaunted Laval defence was also a force, limiting the visitors to just nine first downs and 211 yards.

Meanwhile, in Kingston, fourth-ranked Laurier notched its second comfortable win in as many outings, outscoring Queen’s 44-18 after dominating Ottawa 39-21 in Week 1.

In Canada West, where conference play started a week later than in the other conferences, No. 5 Calgary won a 49-35 shootout at Regina, while No. 6 UBC escaped with a 30-20 decision over visiting Manitoba.

Other Week 2 results from top-10 squads included Carleton 38, Windsor 20 (at Windsor); Guelph 33, York 18 (at Guelph); Ottawa 18, McMaster 11 (at Ottawa); Saskatchewan 42, Alberta 0 (at Saskatchewan).

The Week 3 schedule is highlighted by no less than three top-10 matchups, including a much-anticipated duel between the Rouge et Or and Carabins, Saturday at 2 p.m. in Montreal, live on TVA Sports. The RSEQ archrivals have met in each of the past five conference championship matches, all of which were decided by three points or less.

Other top-10 confrontations include UBC at 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 Guelph at Ottawa on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. on Rogers TV and OUA.TV), in a rematch of a 2017 OUA quarter-final.

For its part, defending national champ Western, which kicked off the campaign on Aug. 26 with a narrow 26-23 overtime win at Carleton, returns to action Saturday at 4 p.m. for its home opener against 1-1 McMaster (live on OUA.TV and tape delayed on Rogers TV).

FRC – USports Football Top 10 (#2)

SCHOOL RECORD POINTS MEDIA ELO PREVIOUS
Western (1-0) 253 123 (9) 130 1
Laval  (2-0) 233 116 (3) 117 2
Montreal (1-0) 190 99 91 3
Laurier (2-0) 184 80 104 4
Calgary (1-0) 171 93 (1) 78 5
UBC (1-0) 136 71 65 6
Carleton (1-1) 63 24 39 NR
Guelph (1-1) 60 8 52 8
Ottawa (1-1) 50 24 26 NR
Saskatchewan (1-0) 25 25 0 NR
Honourable mentions:  Regina (20), Queen’s (14), Saint Mary’s (12), Manitoba (9), Waterloo (6), McMaster (4).
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