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The Sport Information Resource Centre
TORONTO (U SPORTS) – Western quarterback Chris Merchant and linebacker Fraser Sopik, along with Laval defensive lineman Marc-Antoine Bellefroid are the U SPORTS Football Players of the Week, for the period ending November 19, 2017.
In a game that featured an impressive Western offence early and often, it was quarterback Chris Merchant who continued to stand out. Merchant, a kinesiology student, helped Western advance to the Vanier Cup with an 81-3 win over Acadia on Saturday in the Uteck Bowl. The Calgary, Alta., native was named Uteck Bowl MVP after completing 10 of 11 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He was also a contributor to the Mustangs’ ground game, registering 54 yards on only six carries with two majors. 
Fraser Sopik led the purple and white defence in the win, totalling eight tackles including two for a loss. Sopik continued his torrid play from the regular season and, most recently, the Yates Cup, to hold their AUS opposition to just three points on the day. Not only did Sopik prove to be a headache for Acadia on the scoreboard, but also on the stat sheet, as the OUA All-Star helped limit the Axemen to just 181 yards in the air and 33 yards rushing.
Marc-Antoine Bellefroid came up with a key fumble in the Rouge et Or’s Mitchell Bowl victory over Calgary. With Laval holding a slim 20-18 lead to start the fourth quarter, the third-year defensive lineman forced Calgary’s Deane Leonard to fumble the punt return, leading to a Gabriel Ouellet 42-yard touchdown that helped Laval advance to Saturday’s Vanier Cup against the Mustangs.  
Offensive nominees:
OUA: Chris Merchant, quarterback, Western (winner)
RSEQ: Hugo Richard, quarterback, Laval
Defensive nominees:
OUA: Fraser Sopik, linebacker, Western (winner)
RSEQ: Mathieu Betts, defensive end, Laval
Special teams nominees:
OUA: Mike Sananes, defensive back, Western
RSEQ: Marc-Antoine Bellefroid, defensive lineman, Laval (winner)
– Player bios provided by U SPORTS member conferences
Kickoff for the 53rd ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup between the undefeated Western Mustangs (11-0) and the defending national champion Laval Rouge et Or (10-1) is set for 1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific at Tim Hortons Field, which hosts the event for the second straight year.
Television coverage on Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet ONE and TVA Sports gets underway with pre-game shows at 12:30 p.m. The broadcast is also available online through Sportsnet NOW and and on the radio at AM900 CHML in Hamilton. 
For all the information on the 53rd Vanier Cup, visit Tickets are available at, starting at $25.
About Football Reporters of Canada
Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) represents journalists and broadcasters in every region of the country covering U SPORTS Football. Since 1958, Football Reporters of Canada has been an organization of media members who have covered the Canadian Football League, serving to select the league’s outstanding players, coach-of-the-year and all-star teams through voting conducted by its members. In 2009, the FRC amalgamated with the University Football Reporters of Canada (UFRC) to give the organization greater scope in its affiliation with amateur and university football. FRC also works with the CFL and U SPORTS to establish guidelines and working conditions for the men and women who report on the game. Selected members of FRC also help to choose builders, players and media members for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
U SPORTS is the national brand for university sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit
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