Football: Some thoughts on the East-West Bowl

The aforementioned sixth-annual East-West Bowl provided some quality May afternoon viewing for aficionados of CIS football. The East overcame their string of five straight losses to pull out a 25-12 victory, although the game was much closer than that: at the end, the Eastern team had only racked up 10 more yards than the Western squad. The East was able to turn their possessions into points, though, and led for most of the game.

Several players turned in stellar performances. Queen's quarterback Dan Brannagan had a good game for the East, including a highlight-reel 50-yard bomb to star Mount Allison receiver Gary Ross. Brannagan also threw several other excellent long passes that his receivers couldn't quite pull in, and had an impressive outing overall. As colour commentator Don Edwards noted, "He has got a cannon for an arm."

On the ground, BLG Award nominee Jamall Lee, the Bishop's running back, had several good rushes for the East, and Acadia kicker James Michener (no word on if he's related to the author) had a stellar day, nailing all three of his field-goal attempts and consistently producing effective punts.

For the West, Guelph quarterback Justin Dunk had a good day, completing six of his ten passes for 66 yards. McMaster's Matt Giordano and Saskatchewan's Travis Gorski were constant threats at receiver, along with Manitoba's Simon Blaszczak, a 6-foot-5 star who made some of the day's best catches over the middle, including a great touchdown grab off a pass from Laurier's Ian Noble.

Overall, it was a strong game that should whet the appetites of CIS football fans for more to come in the fall. Some great talent has moved on to the CFL, but this game showed that there are still plenty of good players left to compete at the university level next season.

Update: 2:41 AM, May 11: There seems to be some inaccuracy in Justin Dunk's numbers. The TV/web commentators said at the end of the game he was 6 for 8 for 74 yards, which is the information I used as I didn't have access to a box score (which still doesn't seem to be posted anywhere). A source informs me that the box score sent out to various media outlets has him listed as passing for 66 yards. This could be another OUA/CIS statistics mixup, or it could just be that the announcers were given the wrong numbers. Also, the aforementioned lack of scoresheet data meant that I didn't have statistical data on the day's best performers, so I generally went with the impressions I had. Players who had good days who I didn't mention earlier include Mac's own Kevin D’Hollander, the West's top receiver with six catches for 67 yards, and Saskatchewan's Tyler O'Gorman, the top Western rusher with 52 yards on 10 carries. Lee, Brannagan, Gary Ross and McGill's Anthony Lukca all had strong performances for the East.

One more update, May 11, 3:38 PM: I just received a copy of the official box score, and it seems the TV commentators not only stated the wrong yardage for Dunk, but also gave a wrong number of attempts. According to the box score, he was 6 for 10, not the six for eight stat they gave (which I posted earlier). Still not a bad day, but nowhere near as impressive as the 6 for 8 for 74 yards they mentioned originally (which I promptly wrote about). Laurier's Ian Noble had a better day for the West, completing 7 of 11 passes for 89 yards.

- Mark Masters has a good article for the CanWest papers here.
- The CIS recap provided by McMaster Sports Information is here.
- The CP story is here.

Update the third, May 12, 2008, 8:55 P.M.

Some more information on the stats mixup has come in... apparently, Cable 14 in Hamilton (who I thought did a great job on both the local feed and the webcast, by the way: it was nice to see this game televised for the first time) used their own statisticians due to a lack of Internet access in the stadium, which would have allowed the broadcast crew access to the official stats. A Thus, blame shouldn't be cast on the OUA/CIS or the McMaster officials keeping stats: they went with their own official set of stats, and the TV guys went with their own unofficial set. It's interesting that Dunk's stats are so different, though: perhaps he was misidentified on some pass attempts by one of the groups? That wouldn't be hard to do with three different quarterbacks all seeing frequent playing time. Anyways, to summarize: original stats posted were unofficial. Justin Dunk's official stats as kept by the CIS: 6 for 10 for 66 yards. Hope that clears things up.
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