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USports football top 10: Saskatchewan jumps into the mix

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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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