Canada, Mexico to stage college football championships Saturday


Canada’s U Sports and Mexico’s private university CONADEIP league will stage their league championship games this weekend as North America’s college football postseason continues to roll on.

Mexico’s public university ONEFA championship was decided last Saturday as Pumas CU defeated UANL Auténticos Tigres 18-15. The win ended Auténticos Tigres bid to defend its 2016 title and advance to a second straight Tazón de Campeones (Champions of Champions Bowl) in December against the CONADEIP champion. Instead, its PUMAS that advances to the Mexico’s national championship game.

The CONADEIP championship game this Saturday will feature Borregos Toluca at Aztecas UDLAP in the third meeting between the two schools this season. UDLAP won the first two meetings by scores of 28-0 and 28-7 and is a heavy favorite to defend the CONADEIP title they won a year ago en route to winning the premier Champions of Champions Bowl in a 34-27 win over Auténticos Tigres – the team that was eliminated in the ONEFA title game last weekend.

That loss by Auténticos Tigres ended the possibility of a rematch in the national title game, and instead, if UDLAP advances, they’ll that Pumas CU team that won the ONEFA championship last Saturday. That will set up a rematch, too, however, as UDLAP and Pumas CU actually started the 2017 season against each other in a crossover game between the two leagues. UDLAP emerged with a 27-21 victory in that game which is still the only loss for Pumas during a 9-1 campaign so far.

In Canada’s U Sports title game, the Western Mustangs of Ontario University Athletics are ranked No. 1 in our U Sports 27 rankings, and they are the only undefeated team (11-0) remaining in Canada. They’ve won six Vanier Cup championship games, but none since beating the Saskatchewan Huskies in a 50-40 overtime shootout in 1994 at the SkyDome in Toronto.

Their opponent in the 2017 edition of the Vanier Cup is the Laval Rouge et Or of Quebec’s RSEQ league. Laval (10-1) enters the game ranked No. 2, and they are the defending national champions after beating the Calgary Dinos 31-26 a year ago at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario. This game will be played in the same location possibly giving Laval another advantage in terms of familiarity with the championship setting. There’s also the fact that the Rouge et Or have won nine championships with all of them coming since 1999 – five years after Western’s most recent championship.

One of Laval’s nine championships actually came against Western. In the 2008 Vanier Cup game, the Rouge et Or beat the Mustangs 44-21 in a game also played in Hamilton at the city’s old Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Laval’s success in 2017 has been built around a stingy defense that has held opponents to 15 or fewer points on seven different occasions (eight if you count a preseason contest against Carleton). That included three shutouts along the way. Their only loss was a 21-16 setback at Montreal back on September 9, but in the two teams’ next meeting, Laval registered one of those three shutouts in a 22-0 statement. The two teams then played for the RSEQ championship a couple of weeks ago, and Laval held on for a 25-22 win before taking down Calgary last week 35-23 to advance to the championship game.

The Rouge et Or offense has been consistent scoring at least 34 points in seven out of 11 games with a high of 50 against McGill back on September 1.

Western, on the other hand, has hung its hat on a truly prolific offense that has scored more than 50 in seven of its 11 games including all of the last five. In their last four games, in fact, the Mustangs have scored at least 63 points including outbursts of 75 and 81 the past two weeks.

The defense is stout, too. Only Guelph and Laurier managed to score more than 14 points against the Mustangs, but overall, this game has the feel of an offense (Western) vs. defense (Laval) contest that could be one of the Vanier Cup’s classic matchups.


 

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