BURLINGTON - The OUA Marquee Matchup of the Week returns with a pair of cross-town rivals facing off in the 48th annual Red & Blue Bowl. The York Lions (0-3) will host the Toronto Varsity Blues (1-3) at Alumni Field in search for their first win of the season. However, it is more than just another league game for these two teams. This game signifies the supremacy for the city of Toronto. The winner will claim the Argo Cup, which has been won by the Varsity Blues for four consecutive since their meeting in 2012 when the Lions last edged the Blues.
The Varsity Blues and the Lions have gone head-to-head in 47 previous encounters, with the record standing at 30-17 in favour of the Blues. The last time these two met was in last year's Red & Blue Bowl where Toronto came out victorious by a score of 45-18 on home turf.
The York Lions have had a slow start to the season but are showing promising signs to turn their performance around. Having suffered two tough losses against Western and Waterloo, the Lions had a good showing against the Gee-Gees but fell just short of a victory. The Lions are coming into the Red & Blue Bowl having used their bye week to recoup and prepare for the rivalry game against Toronto. After having suffered several injuries, the Lions will see the return of some key players to their lineup.
Toronto, standing with a record of 1-3 are looking for their second win of the season this weekend. Having suffered a loss against the Laurier Golden Hawks in the season opener, the Blues beat the Windsor Lancers by a score of 19-12. However, as they faced two tough teams in Waterloo and Guelph, the Blues came up short in both matchups. They will be looking to return to their winning ways as they contend for the Argo Cup on the 23rd.
The Lions will look to use their running game to punish the Varsity Blues. Third-year rusher Jesse Amankwaa, the OUA rookie of the year in 2015, is coming off a tremendous showing against the Gee-Gees in which he amassed 159 yards on 23 carries and added another 22 yards and a touchdown on two receptions. Fellow rusher Kayden Johnson set a Red & Blue Bowl record last year with 32 carries and, along with Amankwaa, represents a strong ground attack.
Quarterback Brett Hunchak is ranked seventh in the OUA with 224 yards per game and has thrown a pair of touchdowns on the season, both against Ottawa.
On the other hand, the Varsity Blues side will look to exploit the Lions in the air. They will be utilizing two quarterbacks in Connor Ennis and Clay Sequeira. The dynamic duo will be looking to find receivers Nick Stadnyk, Will Corby and Jaykwon Thompson. Second-year receiver Nick Stadnyk leads the team in receptions with 14 total, amounting to 178 yards. Supporting him will be the pair of first-year receivers, both with eight receptions with Corby covering 142 yards and Thompson 102.
Both teams will be looking to use their scoring threats in the air and on the ground to be crowned Argo Cup champions for the 2017 installment.
Kick-off is at 1:00 pm at York University's Alumni Field. If you cannot attend, be sure to tune into OUA.tv for this Marquee Matchup and all other action from around the league.