While the Marauders are getting prepared to host the Mt. Allison Mounties in the Mitchell Bowl, the rest of us are still trying to figure out exactly who they are.
The New Brunswick-based team are back-to-back Atlantic University Sport conference champions who have made huge improvements in the last two seasons, coming out of nowhere to win the AUS conference title last year after losing half of their games by huge margins in regular season play.
To give a sense of just how much they improved last year, in one of their matches against Acadia, they lost 40-9. The next time they faced the same team, they won 23-14.
Their inconsistent performance last year still managed to get them to the Uteck Bowl, where they put up a good fight against the Laval Rouge-et-Or, and lost 48-21. Laval then went on to win the Vanier Cup.
The Mounties came into this season better than ever, crushing all AUS competition and rising to be a feared opponent.
Acadia, having beat them 40-9 the season before, lost to the Mounties 33-5 this season. Their biggest win was against Saint Mary’s University, a team that they also lost to last year in an exhibition game. They managed to beat them with a score of 38-0. The team has undoubtedly found a system that has worked and they are sticking to it.
Mt. A has four main guys on offence who have made a huge difference, and they continue to be what separates them from the rest of the conference.
Brandon Leyh, the Mounties’ quarterback, has thrown for 1,539 yards, which has him ranked 19th overall in the CIS for passing. He led the AUS with 129 completions over the regular season. He also threw for an average of 192.4 yards per game, including ten touch- downs.
Chris Reid, their talented rookie running back, has scored 987 yards in rushing on 173 carries, which has him ranked second overall in the CIS. His 123.4 yards per game average is the third-best tally in the country.
Wide receiver Josh Blanchard is the standout receiver in the balanced offence. Blanchard’s 77.5 receiving yards per game has him ranked 15th overall in the CIS. He also has 50 receptions and scored five touchdowns.
Punter Kyle McLean is also someone to look out for, as he averaged around 32.4 yards per punt this season, including 20 punts from inside the 20-yard line. In a game that should be close and low-scoring, punting matters.
These four guys, along with six other Mounties were named as the AUS All-Stars.
The toughest team that the Mounties had to play in their conference this season were the St. FX X-Men. In the AUS Loney Bowl Championship, the Mounties beat them 29-7.
So who are the Mt. Allison Mounties? They are an undefeated team that has come a long way in the past two years, and they are a team that is very capable of winning the Mitchell Bowl this weekend.
Kick off for the game will be at 4 p.m. on Nov. 22 at Ron Joyce Stadium. The game will be shown on Sportsnet 360 – the first nationally broadcast game of the season.