Having defeated the Acadia Axemen in the Semifinal, the Mount Allison Mounties advanced to the 2016 Loney Bowl. Since the St. Francis Xavier X-Men clinched first place in the AUS conference, they host the final in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This matchup marks the third consecutive meeting of the two teams in the Loney Bowl.
2016 Loney Bowl Preview: St. Francis Xavier X-Men Host Mount Allison Mounties
The X-Men enter the 2016 Loney Bowl undefeated against AUS teams this season. The team’s sole loss in their 7-1 campaign came at the hands of RSEQ‘s Concordia Stingers. A Loney Bowl win would see the X-Men complete a season sweep of all AUS teams for their second consecutive title. Entering the playoffs, the Mount Allison Mounties held a record of 3-5. After an 0-3 start to the season, Mount Allison’s season turned around in a homecoming victory over Acadia in week four. Despite this comeback to qualify for the Loney Bowl, the Mounties are 0-2 against the X-Men this season. This record includes a 65-17 blowout in week eight.
Due to the X-Men’s impressive record, both against the Mounties and the AUS as a whole, they enter the Loney Bowl as heavy favourites. That is not to say that Mount Allison doesn’t have a chance. Although their record against St. F.X. suggests poor performance, the Mounties are undefeated in 2016 against the Axemen. Seeing as the Axemen are the team that gave the X-Men the strongest competition in the AUS despite a losing record and semifinal loss, such a record bodes well for Mount Allison. Regardless of either team’s regular season records and preparation, the Mount Allison Mounties enter the 2016 Loney Bowl as the undisputed underdogs against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.
Keys to the Game
Home Crowd — By clinching the division, the St. Francis Xavier X-Men host the Loney Bowl in their home of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Although it will be the third consecutive final between the Mounties and X-Men, it is the first of this streak to take place in St. F.X’s own Oland Stadium. Winning the title at home after an away title in 2015 is extra motivation for the already strong X-Men to perform. The fan presence for the defending champions will be significant. As the Mounties had some of their key victories in front of enthusiastic home crowds, they know the effect this can have on a team’s performance.
Defence — The Mount Allison Mounties have a strong offensive presence. Due to quarterback Jakob Loucks‘ knack for rushing in for touchdowns, they have many key offensive elements that got them to the finals. However, the X-Men boast the strongest offence with Tivon Cook and Jordan Socholotiuk. They lead the division in passing and rushing yards, respectively. Due to their strong defensive presence, Acadia managed to keep scores close against the X-Men. As a result, they provide the best blueprint for how the Mounties should approach St. F.X. Mount Allison must keep the score low, as it is their best shot at edging ahead for the win.
Proving Grounds — Despite early season struggles, the Mounties have proven themselves worthy of championship contention. With their losing record against the X-Men, they have the most to prove. Being an underdog as the away team is a daunting task, as the X-Men have been the goliath of the AUS throughout the season. Even with their comeback to the finals, Mount Allison has a lot to prove. Therefore, if the Mounties manage to claim the 2016 Loney Bowl, it could be the U Sports comeback story of the year.
2016 Loney Bowl
The 2016 Loney Bowl will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12th at 2:00pm AST. The game will be hosted by St. F.X at their Oland Stadium. Fans can watch the Loney Bowl live on AUStv.