City bragging rights are on the line on Saturday, Sept. 13, as the York University Lions football team heads downtown to take on the University of Toronto (U of T) Varsity Blues in the 45th Red & Blue Bowl at Varsity Centre.
The Lions and Blues will both be looking for their first wins of the season in week three. York has had a challenging start to its season with losses to the University of Ottawa and Western University, which are both currently ranked among the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Top 10 (the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees are ranked No. 8 and the Western University Mustangs No. 3). Toronto, meanwhile, was defeated by Laurier and No. 7 Guelph.
The Varsity Blues hold 27-17-0 head-to-head record over their uptown counterparts since the first meeting in 1970. The Lions won the last Argo Cup to be handed out at Varsity Centre in 2012, by a score of 36-24, and U of T defeated the Lions 56-35 in the most recent matchup last year at York Stadium.
The Lions will benefit from the return of starting quarterback Nikko Stamatis, who made his first career start in Ottawa in week one but missed last week with an injury. He played only the first half against the Gee-Gees, going 8-of-17 for 90 yards.
On defence, the Lions have been led by fourth-year linebacker/defensive end Hussein Hazime, who is ranked second in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league in tackles (18) and third in sacks (three).
For the Blues, fourth-year quarterback Simon Nassar currently ranks fifth in the province, averaging 266 yards per game. Second-year receiver Llevi Noel leads the OUA with 18 catches, sitting second with 285 yards after week two.
Corey Williams tops Toronto’s defence with 12.5 tackles in the first two contests.
Saturday’s game is the second of four road games for the Lions this season. They will also play Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., in week six and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., in week eight.