(Belated) Week 4 Notes: Ascending Atlantic, Agony of Defeat and (Still) Winless Western

Random observations from the weekend...


Less than bullish on the Bisons: Manitoba reportedly tried to keep it even-keel after beating the Huskies. After all everyone remembers how it went down last year. Factor in the Huskies' four missed field goals and the U of M taking 11 penalties for 108 yards and it seems like Saskatchewan would stand an excellent chance in a Hardy Cup rematch.


The AUFC wins back some credibility: Turns out writing in our SMU preview that "the best thing Saint Mary's can do this season is be competitive in the interlock vs. Concordia" was the understatement of the year. The Huskies took the Stingers to overtime in Montreal last season, so in hindsight the a Saint Mary's win should not have come as a big shock, but to see the Huskies run off 31 straight points and give up no interceptions or sacks, that's an eye-opener.

Acadia, meantime, went into Montreal and pulled out a 45-44 win over McGill. James Michener kicked the winning field goal for the Axemen, but the endgame was straight out of Edgar Allan Poe for the Redmen. Their QB Matt Connell had a conference-record 536 yards passing, authored two late drives to put his team ahead, then watched as the defence couldn't stop Acadia and Keith Lockwood from getting in field goal range.

In the famous Harvard-Yale tie in 1968 (Harvard scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds for an upset, inspiring the iconic "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29" headline), Yale's two offensive stars, Brian Dowling and Calvin Hill, reportedly asked the coaches to put them in on defence when Harvard was rallying. A fan can only wonder if Connell thought abot doing so, but he'd already been the passer or ballcarrier on 65 of McGill's 74 plays and handled the punting chores. Laval QB Benoît Groulx would seldom be asked to handle that kind of workload.

Anyone know why the Redmen didn't go for a two-point convert after scoring to go up by one with 43 seconds left?

Lacking PEPS: The Rouge et Or have averaged 15,758 fans after two home games. That's great for anyone else but raises eyebrows for a program that's regularly packed 18,000 fans into PEPS Stadium. Is this as a case of killing the golden goose? The Rouge et Or being head and shoulders above most of their foes might be keeping people from coming out.


Blowout weekend: Four of five OUA games had a spread of 30 points or more, so there's not much to say about the games in Central Canada. (The Queen's-Windsor post is over at Out of Left Field.) Time was, a ranked Laurier team could play a ranked Waterloo team and both teams would actually get in the end zone.

Fun factoid: Queen's running back Mike Giffin (or as one august broadsheet called him, Mike Griffin) has nine touchdowns -- as many as the entire Western Mustangs team.

If he can't do it, nobody can: A commenter at Out of Left Field notes that the Ottawa Gee-Gees might have lost their best D-lineman, end Dan Kennedy, for the season. Kennedy didn't play in the Gee-Gees' romp over winless York.

In praise of going down swinging: Western coach Greg Marshall, now 0-4 after a 31-17 home loss to Guelph gets a slow clap for trying to make something happen by going for it on third-and-1 at his team's 39-yard line early in the third quarter. Someone on the Mustangs had to make something happen with Guelph ahead by seven. Teams should go for it on third-and-short (or fourth-and-short) more often. The 'Stangs, however, got stuffed and Guelph's Nick FitzGibbon broke a 38-yard touchdown run to ice the game.

The Mustangs have 383 more yards of offence than they have allowed. Bad luck or bad chemistry?

Players of the week: McGill's Connell on offence (honourable mention to FitzGibbon, who scored four touchdowns and had 173 rushing-receiving yards). On defence, it's Regina's Steve Wilson, with Mount Allison's Gary Ross taking the special teams nod after racking up 194 yards and his second punt return for a touchdown in a win over St. FX.

Top 10's movers and shakers (or, reading minds): Manitoba and Saskatchewan trade places at Nos. 2 and 4, since the Ottawa Gee-Gees are hampered from moving up from No. 3 by a soft early schedule. Saint Mary's and Queen's scoot up to 6-7, Concordia falls to No. 8 and Montreal's drop out of the Top 10 buys Waterloo another week in the rankings, with Bishop's or Regina as the newbies. (Personal preference is for the Gaiters, who are only a couple plays from a 3-0 start.)

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to neatesager@yahoo.ca.
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