CIS Football: 15 reasons to watch this week
Canadian Interuniversity Sport – TORONTO (CIS) – A pair of Top 10 battles in Montreal and Ottawa, playoff positioning in all four conferences, players and coaches climbing up national record lists, and the fourth CIS Football Game of the Week on City highlight Week 8 of the CIS football schedule. Here are some things to keep an eye on this weekend.
CIS RECORD UPDATE
A number of players across the country are enjoying record-breaking seasons. Among those in action this weekend, keep an eye on:
Noah Picton, quarterback, Regina: With 2,084 passing yards in five league games, the Regina native is on pace for a 3,334-yard season, which would surpass the CIS record of 3,162 set last fall by former Calgary Dinos standout Andrew Buckley.
Derek Wendel, quarterback, Ottawa: With 2,371 passing yards in six contests, Wendel is on pace for a 3,161-yard season, just shy of Buckley’s 2015 total but good enough to break his own OUA standard of 3,136 set a year ago. The product of Belleville, Ont., who last week became the first CIS pivot to record three career 500-yard games, is also the CIS career leader among active players in passing yards (8,298), touchdown passes (63) and completions (597).
Mike Kashak, defensive end, McMaster: With 11.5 quarterback sacks in six games, the fifth-year senior from Courtice, Ont., needs 1.5 more in the Marauders’ final two contests to break the single-season CIS record of 12.5 set in 2012 by former McMaster teammate Ben D’Aguilar and Montreal’s Jean-Samuel Blanc.
Adam Preocanin, kicker, McMaster: With 22 field goals (in 24 attempts) in the first six conference games of his university career, the freshman from Burlington, Ont., needs five more in his next two outings to shatter the single-season CIS record of 26 shared by Guelph’s Daniel Ferraro (2014) and Calgary’s Johnny Mark (2015). Last Friday, Preocanin set a team record and tied a 34-year-old OUA standard with seven field goals in a single game.
The CIS football record book is available ONLINE.
Queen’s Pat Sheahan (148-104-1), in his 28th season as a CIS head coach, and Laval’s Glen Constantin (148-29), in his 16th campaign at the helm, are both two wins shy of the 150 mark overall (regular season & playoffs).
WEEK 8 MATCHUPS
Manitoba (2-3) at Calgary (4-1) (Friday)
The nationally fifth-ranked Dinos hold a sparkling 48-5 record (.906) at McMahon Stadium since the start of the 2008 season. Manitoba’s last regular season win in Calgary came back in 2005, though the Bisons did upset the Dinos in the 2014 Hardy Cup final at McMahon. In the first meeting between the two teams in 2016, Calgary took the season-opener 23-14 in a defensive struggle in Winnipeg.
Guelph (2-4) at Laurier (5-1) (Friday)
After winning their first conference title since 1996 a year ago, the Gryphons are in danger of missing the playoffs this fall as they currently sit in a four-way tie for the sixth and final OUA post-season berth. At the other end of the spectrum, the No. 7-ranked Golden Hawks are in a four-way tie for first place and, with five wins in their first six games, have already secured their best record since a 6-2 campaign in 2009. Guelph is riding a four-game winning streak over Laurier, including a 30-19 decision in 2015.
UBC (3-2) at Saskatchewan (2-3) (Friday)
Reigning Vanier Cup champion UBC has exploded on offence in its last two games with 115 combined points, which is more than eight CIS teams have scored all season. While the No. 10-ranked Thunderbirds have won back-to-back games for the first time this fall, Saskatchewan has lost three straight following a 2-0 start. The T-Birds prevailed 41-36 last season in the hostile environment of Griffiths Stadium, where the Huskies have drawn 7,735 and 7,938 fans for their first two home dates of the campaign.
McGill (2-3) at Bishop’s (1-4) (Friday)
McGill easily won the first meeting of the season between the two old rivals, 43-9 on Sept. 16. In order to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Redmen likely need another victory over the Gaiters Friday night in Lennoxville, as their last two conference games are scheduled on the road against a tough Concordia team and at home versus top-ranked Montreal. Despite its 2-3 record, McGill ranks third in the country on defence with 330.0 yards allowed per contest.
Laval (4-1) at Montreal (5-0) (Saturday)
It’s No. 1 versus No. 2 Saturday afternoon in Montreal, in one of the most-anticipated matchups of the season. For the first time in program history, the top-ranked Carabins are riding a three-game winning streak against Laval, including a 24-21 season-opening win in Quebec City on Sept. 3. The last six meetings between the RSEQ archrivals have been decided by six points or less, including the last two Dunsmore Cup finals, both won by the Carabins. If they want to put an end to their recent struggles against Montreal, the Rouge et Or will have to solve a defensive unit that ranks first in the nation in points and yards allowed per game (9.0 / 241.8).
Western (5-1) at Ottawa (5-1) (Saturday)
In the other Top 10 battle of the weekend, the No. 9 Gee-Gees hope to beat the No. 3 Mustangs for the first time since a 20-19 home win on Sept. 6, 2010. Fireworks are expected in the nation’s capital as Ottawa and Western are ranked 1-2 in the country in total offence with 578.3 and 568.8 yards per game, respectively. The Gee-Gees are also first in passing (416.8 – tied with Regina), while the Mustangs are second in rushing (276.0) and No. 1 in scoring (51.0). Another thing the two teams have in common: their only loss of the season came against Carleton.
Mount Allison (1-4) at Acadia (1-4) (Saturday)
The fourth and final CIS Football Game of the Week on City TV for 2016 kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. Atlantic Time (1 p.m. ET) at Raymond Field in Wolfville, N.S. The result could go a long way in deciding the final playoff berth in the AUS conference. Mount Allison won the first head-to-head meeting 20-12 on Oct. 1, but the Mounties are 0-2 against second-place Saint Mary’s while Acadia is 1-0 against the Huskies.
Regina (4-1) at Alberta (0-5) (Saturday)
At first glance, this contest sure looks like a mismatch. However, while No. 4-ranked Regina is riding a four-game winning streak, the Rams have not exactly crushed their opponents as all their wins have come by 10 points or less. Led by the Picton cousins, Regina is tied for first in the country in passing (416.8 yards per game), while Alberta and star running back Ed Ilnicki counter with the nation’s fifth-best ground attack (191.0).
McMaster (5-1) at York (2-4) (Saturday)
Eighth-ranked McMaster has won 18 straight overall against York since a 43-21 road loss on Sept. 27, 1997. Interestingly enough, the Lions average 67 more yards per game on offence than the Marauders so far this season (465.7 vs. 398.7). It’s another story on defence however as McMaster ranks second in the country in points allowed per game (11.0) while York ranks 25th in points (44.7) and last in yards allowed (632.7).
StFX (4-1) at Saint Mary’s (2-3) (Saturday)
Reigning conference champion StFX has been rolling over AUS competition so far this season. The X-Men, whose lone loss came against Concordia in interlock play, have won all their games against conference opponents by 15 points or more, including a 37-17 decision in their first meeting with Saint Mary’s on Oct. 1. Fifth-year quarterback Tivon Cook is making a case for AUS MVP honours with 310.0 passing yards per game, including a 304-yard, five-touchdown performance against the Huskies two weeks ago.
Concordia (3-2) at Sherbrooke (2-3) (Saturday)
Concordia has a golden opportunity to take a stranglehold on third place in Quebec on Saturday. Following their meeting with Sherbrooke, the Stingers will have games remaining against 2-3 McGill and 1-4 Bishop’s, while the Vert & Or wrap up league play against the top two teams in the country, Montreal and Laval. However, despite a tough start to the season, Sherbrooke proved it could still compete with the best in its last contest before the Thanksgiving break, pushing top-ranked Montreal to the limit before dropping a heartbreaking 27-20 decision.
Windsor (2-4) at Queen’s (2-4) (Saturday)
One of many must-win games across CIS this weekend. Windsor and Queen’s currently sit in the sixth and final OUA playoff spot, along with Guelph and York. Despite their identical 2-4 records, the Gaels have only been outscored by an average of 27.2 to 23.3 in their first six outings, while the Lancers have been outscored 47.8 to 25.0 on average.
Waterloo (0-6) at Toronto (1-6) (Saturday)
Both teams are out of playoff contention. The Varsity Blues will be the first team across the country to close out its regular season on Saturday. While Waterloo hopes to avoid a second straight 0-8 season, Toronto hopes to avoid finishing 1-7 for the first time since 2009.
WEEK 8 SCHEDULE (all times local)
NOTE: Click HERE for the complete 2016 regular season schedule & results
11:00 Guelph (2-4) at No. 7 Laurier (5-1) (Rogers TV Waterloo & OUA.TV)
19:00 McGill (2-3) at Bishop’s (1-4) (GaitersTV)
19:00 No. 10 UBC (3-2) at Saskatchewan (2-3) (CanadaWest.TV)
19:00 Manitoba (2-3) at No. 5 Calgary (4-1) (Shaw TV/Access & CanadaWest.TV)
13:00 No. 8 McMaster (5-1) at York (2-4) (OUA.TV)
13:00 Waterloo (0-6) at Toronto (1-6) (OUA.TV)
13:00 Windsor (2-4) at Queen’s (2-4) (TVCogeco & OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 3 Western (5-1) at No. 9 Ottawa (5-1) (OUA.TV)
13:00 No. 4 Regina (4-1) at Alberta (0-5) (CanadaWest.TV)
14:00 Mount Allison (1-4) at Acadia (1-4) (City TV & AUStv.ca)
14:00 StFX (4-1) at Saint Mary’s (2-3) (Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 & AUStv.ca)
14:00 No. 2 Laval (4-1) at No. 1 Montreal (5-0) (TVA Sports)
16:00 Concordia (3-2) at Sherbrooke (2-3)
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Off: 905-508-3000 ext. 241