Football: Week 9 digest


By gar, it's been a while since Guelph won a post-seeason game, prevailing 25-21 over McMaster on a Justin Dunk touchdown scramble with 33 seconds left. Up by three in the endgame, Mac coach Stefan Ptaszek elected to punt into the wind from his own 11-yard line rather than give up a safety and trust the defence to keep the Gryphons out of field-goal range for Rob Maver. It backfired with a 14-yard punt that set Guelph at the 25.

Reading in the Toronto Star that Mac had a crowd of 1,000 people for a home playoff game doesn't square with the image most people have of Hamilton . It generally is viewed as city that loves football and supports all the Marauders teams very well. Did they get spoiled rotten by that four-year Yates Cup repeat? The bottom line is that Stefan Ptaszek, whose career hasn't started well with successive quarter-final playoff losses at home, is a good coach and brings an outlook, especially on offence, that could give the Marauders a better shot at the Vanier Cup than they ever did in the Greg Marshall years.

(UPDATE: One of our commenters, GoldenGuy, posted average reported attendance for CIS schools over at McMaster was the lone OUA school whose figures weren't available.

Anyone who's familiar with Ottawa's apathy toward spectator sports will not be surprised to learn what unbeaten team had a smaller average crowd than the U of T.)

Thoughts on Western's quarter-final win over Queen's have been posted over at Out of Left Field, if you're into that sort thing. The Mustangs were full value for playing a very good road game, running 76 offensive plays to Queen's 52. The blocking back/tight end types such as Brad Barkauskas and Justin Henri did yeoman's work helping move the pile (Randy McAuley ran 38 times for 161 yards) and keeping Western in manageable down-and-distance. Matt Carapella, who was out injured during Western's 0-4 start, played very well, and the 'Stangs defence held on well enough.

It was just too easy for Mike Faulds, who threw 24 times for 253 yards with just one interception against a Gaels secondary that was gun-shy and backing off a step after some early, questionable pass interference flags. Not to take anything away from Western, but the officiating in this game had to be seen to be believed.

Saturday was the last game at the mike for the long-time Richardson Stadium P.A. announcer, Doug Jeffries, who's stepping aside after 27 seasons. The P.A. guy often just adds to the white noise, but Jeffries always rewarded you for paying attention. When he would intone, "Elsewhere in the OUA..." (or O-QIFC) to give out-of-town scores, you perked up to hear how he would say the scores -- taking pregnant pauses before giving the second total in a blowout, or putting the losing team first just as a tease.

One day last year, when U of T was playing Waterloo and there was a chance the Blues would end The Streak, he came on, "Elsewhere in the OUA... a final score.... the University of Toronto 25... Waterloo 28." He'll be missed.


Hands up, anyone who ever thought you'd see a Regina-Saskatchewan game where it was the Huskies who got outrushed by a factor of two and threw 47 passes. (Liars.) Regina had 24 points off turnovers in a 34-31 win, securing home field for a rematch in the Can West semi-final next Friday at Taylor Field.

It's entirely reasonable to believe coach Brian Towriss' Huskies will be a different team in the post-season, since they have done it so often through the years. Western already showed being turnover- and penalty-prone is not necessarily a permanent condition. The Huskies' Lawrence Nixon went the distance Saturday despite throwing four INTs. Does that mean he's the Huskies QB for next week no matter what?

The crazy notion that coach Blake Nill can take his Calgary Dinos to Winnipeg next week and beat out the Manitoba Bisons in the Canada West has proven harder to perish than the jingle from a Mini-Wheats commercial.

The Dinos, led by Anthony Woodson's 245 rushing yards (out of a total of 387), blew out UBC 41-23 to get the conference's final playoff berth. Six weeks ago, the young Dinos led the Bisons through three quarters on the road but was done in by a total lack of a passing game that couldn't help them keep the clock moving. (Calgary's defence was on the field for 81 plays that afternoon, including 58 rush attempts.)

Calgary's defence is maturing and has a pretty good co-ordinator in John Stevens, who having steered St. FX to the Vanier Cup as a head coach in 1996, knows something about winning as a playoff underdog. Manitoba is very good, but there's a nagging little voice saying don't be surprised if the Dinos win.


The role reversal of Bishop's (1-7 to 5-3) and McGill (4-4 to 0-8) is the only real change in the conference from 2006. It does get hard to talk about the Laval and other assorted attractions conference.

Small consolation for Sherbrooke, who missed the playoffs with a 4-4 record: Samuel Giguère overcame a 64-yard deficit to win the Quebec receiving title, finishing with 871 after a 138-yard day in a 28-10 win over McGill. It was a team effort for the Vert et Or, since their defence had to keep McGill's Erik Galas and Charles-Antoine Sinotte under 50 apiece. Save for a blowout loss at Laval, Giguère has pretty much been productive each week.


Yes, St. FX earning home field for the semi-final against Acadia comes a surprise. It's a step forward for the X-Men, who ran all over the Axemen in a 42-20 win. James Green had 259 yards along the ground while Jonathan Hood tore off a 101-yard punt-return TD.

Here's a stat that sums up Acadia's youth and lack of depth: Green was the third back this season to go over 200 yards against them. Hood's score was the third 100-plus-yard TD the Axemen have allowed this season. They're a snakebitten team.

Someone who was there would have to do justice to Saint Mary's 55-52 win over Mount Allison on Friday -- are they done scoring touchdowns yet? It was a nothing game in the standings, but sometimes those are the most fun. Kelly Hughes and the Mounties trailed 35-0, 45-15 and 52-31, but made a game of it, with Gary Ross scoring touchdowns of 104 and 89 yards, while two-way player Bradley Daye scored once on offence and once and D..

Saint Mary's Erik Glavic is the obvious pick as the Atlantic's Hec Crighton nominee, but has anyone seen anything like Ross' 600-600-600 season? He had more than 600 yards apiece as a receiver, punt and kickoff returner, averaged 19 yards a touch and had four return touchdowns. Great years by quarterbacks of 7-1 teams come and go... Ross' versatility might never be seen again.
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