Around U Sports: Western, Laval advance to powerhouse Mitchell Bowl matchup

Photo courtesy: Laval Rouge et Or

And then there were four. The U Sports conference finals took place across the country this past weekend with four teams emerging as the remaining candidates to win this year’s Vanier Cup. Two games came down to the wire, one broke open in the fourth quarter, and one was over by the third quarter.

Around U Sports is a new weekly feature on 3DownNation that will take readers across the country each week to summarize collegiate football action, highlighting standout performances and tracking possible playoff matchups. It will run on Monday mornings from the regular season through the Vanier Cup on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Queen’s Golden Gaels, 16 — Western Mustangs, 44

The Golden Gaels had no answer for the Mustangs’ offensive attack and were routed in the Yates Cup for the second straight year as a result. Western’s Keon Edwards set a new season-high with 260 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries, further demonstrating why he was named the OUA’s MVP this past week. Evan Hillock put together an impressive stat line for the Mustangs despite his team’s run-heavy attack, completing 10-of-14 pass attempts for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

Montreal Carabins, 24 — Laval Rouge et Or, 25

Hec Crighton Trophy nominee Kevin Mital made three touchdown catches in the game for Laval, improving his total to 17 on the year over just 10 games. Jonathan Sénécal led the Carabins in rushing and threw for over 300 passing yards but it simply wasn’t enough. This game featured a shocking end as Laval missed a last-second field goal and Montreal was unable to return it beyond the goal line, resulting in a game-ending rouge. It doesn’t get more Canadian than that.

Mount Allison Mounties, 14 — St. FX X-Men, 21

The X-Men won their ninth consecutive game to remain undefeated on the year and a second straight Loney Bowl. Malcolm Bussey, St. FX’s star running back who was named the Most Outstanding Player in the AUS this past week, ran for 116 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Harrington returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown. Third-year receiver Cody Barton posted impressive numbers for the second consecutive week for Mount Allison, catching eight passes for 113 yards and one touchdown in the loss.

UBC Thunderbirds, 8 — Saskatchewan Huskies, 23

UBC trailed by just one point well into the third quarter until Hec Crighton Trophy front-runner Mason Nyhus opened things up by throwing an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jordin Rusnack. Second-year defensive back Finn Marcotte-Cribb sealed the game moments later when he intercepted Derek Engel and returned it nine yards for a touchdown. The Huskies will be heavily favoured in next week’s Uteck Bowl where they will take on St. FX.

Next week’s postseason schedule is as follows. Both games will be played on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Uteck Bowl (Canada West vs. AUS)

Saskatchewan Huskies at St. FX X-Men — 12:00 p.m. EST

Mitchell Bowl (RSEQ vs. OUA)

Laval Rouge et Or at Western Mustangs — 3:00 p.m. EST

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.