Sunday, September 07, 2008

NINE STORIES FROM THE WEEKEND THAT WAS

  1. Ottawa wants opposing offences to go 0 for the rest of September.

    The Gee-Gees would never, ever cop to this, but their goal in the defensive meeting on Monday morning might be something along the lines of going of September without the first-team defence giving up a touchdown. That's how much Ottawa is cheesed off -- or should be cheesed off -- about losing the OUA last fall, and letting the opener get away down in London on Monday.

    That's not to say they will do it, especially since Windsor, whom they travel to on Sept. 27, seems to be improved, and Daryl Stephenson appears to be getting back to health. It's just that the Gee-Gees are good, and they have some frustration that can only be taken out on the stat crew.
  2. Canada West swears it has parity, not total parity, but something like parity.

    Someone forget to tell Saskatchewan, though -- the Huskies' 42-14 rout of Regina prevented what would have been a seven-way tie in Canada West (instead, merely five teams are tied at 1-1). The league might end up stacking up as a big three -- Saskatchewan, Calgary, Manitoba -- and a little four.

    The Huskies, whose new cornerback Grant Shaw had a hand in three takeaways (two INTs, forced fumble), look pretty solid. They'll probably be No. 2 in the polls next week.
  3. Calgary is gettin' there.

    The Dinos' 37-17 rout of Manitoba wasn't so shocking to those who have been paying attention (it led the Canadian Press round-up). Anthony Parker, who didn't play in the opening shutout loss vs. Saskatchewan, made a big difference (111 yards receiving, two TDs). Calgary doesn't have a tough schedule
  4. It must be almost boring to play linebacker for Western.

    It seemed like the Mustangs D-line, Vaughn Martin, Chris Greaves, et al., were either making every tackle, or making sure the second- and third-level defenders didn't have to scrape through blockers. The 'Stangs offensive and defensive lines are a far cry from what they were before Greg Marshall arrived in London.
  5. Saint Mary's is gonna be OK.

    It got a little tense in a 14-12 squeaker vs. Acadia, but considering the annual airlift of talented transfers the Huskies have seemingly every year, they'll be a different team by November.
  6. Justin Dunk can't please everyone.

    The Guelph pivot is flashy and pulled off some sick scrambles vs. Queen's, throwing for 449 yards and running for another 48 to keep his team in a shootout. The hell of it is, his team fell to 0-2, and Dunk could be deemed to have set a poor example by taking an objectionable conduct penalty in the third quarter, after he was pushed out of bounds short of the sticks on a second-and-long scramble.

    What was he supposed to do, though, about a defence that gave up more than 700 yards? Volunteer to go both ways?
  7. Matt Connell is one for the books.

    The McGill QB got the all-time completion record early vs. Sherbrooke. He finished 35-of-59 for 487 yards vs. Sherbrooke, meaning he's up to 642 completions for his career.

    The punchline, though, is that McGill's 17 points came via five field goals and a safety. They run a gimmick pass-first, run-maybe-later offence, but Connell must be good to keep on putting up numbers.

    (McGill dressed 31 first- or second-year players against Sherbrooke.)
  8. Welcome back, Akeem Foster.

    The 6-foot-5, 210-lb. Foster, an AUS rookie of the year in 2006 who didn't play last season, ended up making six catches for 124 yards and a TD to help St. FX hold off Mount Allison, 29-24
  9. Mac fans are making their ire four-letter clear.

    One of the dot-orgers dropped the F-bomb -- the one which starts with F, rhymes with lop -- in reference to third-year coach Stefan Ptaszek. Whether that's fair is open to debate, but McMaster is 0-2 for the first time since 1997 -- Greg Marshall's first season -- after a 30-17 loss to Waterloo.

    In other words, they lost to a team who lost to a team whom, you know ...

CANADA WEST

Calgary 37 Manitoba 17: It would a little dishonest to say too much, having had little time to get to know the Dinos and Bisons. It looks like Andrea Bonaventura's pick at the start of the second half really broke Manitoba's will.

Saskatchewan 42 Regina 14: The Huskies might have the best D in Canada West, between the likes of Shaw, Tyler Dueck and Jordy Burrows in the secondary and David Rybinski and Lyndon Boychuk in the front-seven. It's clear sailing until the Manitoba game on Oct. 11 -- plenty of time to work the kinks out of the ground game.

UBC 27 Alberta 9: Having the bye week so early in the schedule worked out for the T-Birds. Among other reasons, it apparently allowed freshman WR Spencer Betts, from Surrey Holy Cross (always have to plug one of Bucholtz's boys), more time to get up to speed. He had an 82-yard grab, and the T-Birds made their contribution toward Can West parity — five teams are tied for second at 1-1.

QUEBEC

Laval 17 Montréal 6:
Man, they should make the game tape available to insomniacs. Benoit Groulx threw 34 times for 288 yards, but Laval's running backs averaged just 3.8 yards vs. a tough Carabins defence.

Montréal looks like its offensive struggles haven't gone away -- they had only one offensive play longer than 20 yards. Granted, part of that is Laval's defence.

Sherbrooke 45 McGill 17: Scores like this are going to par for McGill games this season. As the Sea Captain from The Simpsons would put, "Yar, they just don't play defence or run the ball at all."

Concordia 30, Bishop's 15: From the look of it, Stingers QB Liam Mahoney was the best offensive performer on the field, while the Stingers were able to keep Jamall Lee in check.

Bishop's has Saint Mary's coming in next week. The Gaiters can ill-afford to go to 0-2, but Saint Mary's would ideally like to have a great road trip — it's good to get used to travelling well in a season when the AUS champs will head to Ontario for the Mitchell Bowl in mid-November.

ONTARIO

Western 31, Laurier 20:
Western is scary.

Safety Matt Carapella, who had a big INT tonight one play after teammate Ryan Tremblay lost a fumble, is also the clubhouse leader for the Presidents' Trophy nomination. Western is playing so well that it will be a challenge to keep their fine edge against a couple of second-tier foes these next two weeks. Michael Faulds (14-of-22, 262 yards, no picks) was a model of economy and efficiency -- not spraying the ball all over the place, but hitting the big gainer when needed. That's very much in keeping with Greg Marshall's system, which can beat any team in Canada, as long as it's from Ontario.

Laurier, with first-time starting QB Luke Thompson replacing injured Ian Noble, looked every bit as fresh out of the box as their spanking-new uniforms. These are not your big brother's Golden Hawks. Laurier is very young on the offensive and defensive lines (McMaster is the only other problem that's probably taken a bigger hit from the elimination of the OAC year in Ontario, thanks again, Mike Harris). Western took the running game away from them and forced the Hawks to play another team's game. How often do you see Laurier put up 40 passes in a game? Not too often.

Queen's 41, Guelph 30: Paraphrasing David Letterman, this is actual e-mail from someone who was actually there:

"Mike Giffin is the real deal. Mike Giffin is a tailback. Mike Giffin is not a fullback. Hell, Mike Giffin is not human. Hamilton is nuts. That is all. Post it."

Crank up the cliché-o-matic: "Any time you have Dan Brannagan throw for 400 yards and Mike Giffin run for 200, it's a good game."

Vince De Civita, the Gaels left guard, had a great day opening holes for Giffin, who ended rushing for 214 yards, along with his 78-yard TD catch with 5 1/2 minutes to go that put the game in a lockbox. Chris Ioannides, well, Queen's fans knew he could play, but he was the unlikeliest receiver in the country to have a 100-yard game on Saturday. He also did force Guelph to respect the short outside pass, opening up the deep middle for Brannagan, who might have had a 500-yard game if not for some first-half drops.

The red zone remains an issue for the Gryphons. Justin Dunk threw for 449 yards (and rushed for another 48), but got picked off in the end zone by Jimmy Allin in the first half when Guelph had a chance to really set Queen's back. The young Guelph receivers, including Jedd Gardner (nine rec., 144 yards) had a solid day on an afternoon when Queen's was missing starting corner Jay Oduwole. Allin ended up shifting from halfback to corner, which helped a little with keeping Gardner in check.

As strange as it sounds, Queen's linebacker T.J. Leeper was an unsung hero in a game that had more than 1,350 yards in offence. He had a sack and another momentum-swinging tackle in the backfield. In the third quarter, right after Queen's had gone ahead 16-10, he helped force a drop by Nick Fitzgibbon on a first-down pass. Queen's scored again on the next drive to take control of the game. (Fitzgibbon was Avon Cobourne-like, with 111 yards rushing and 116 receiving.)

Ottawa 71, York 3: The scary part? Ottawa gets McMaster next weekend on the University Rush game.

Anything you say about York could be construed as piling on. Mike McLean has a lot of work to do, and since competitive teams in the GTA is in everyone's best interests, let's wish him well

Josh Sacobie did broke the OUA record for career touchdown passes in the first quarter. He's now at 67, meaning he would need 20 in the remaining six games to match Chris Flynn's all-time record. That's going to be tough.

Waterloo 30, McMaster 17: It's clear now why it was so hard to slot that No. 6 seed in the OUA, since Waterloo's not that bad, while Mac seems to be having trouble sustaining much offence and Windsor is waiting for a tougher test.

Good on Waterloo for bouncing back after what went down on Monday and christening Warrior Field with a victory.

Windsor 38, U of T 14: First, the Daryl Stephenson update — he had 123 yards today (not counting a 10-yard TD catch), putting him 115 away from surpassing Dominic Zagari's all-time record.

Sam Malian has seven TD passes in two games, putting him five ahead of Windsor's total from last season. The Lancers host an 0-2 Guelph team that might very well feel its record should be reversed, so next week will tell us much about Windsor's improvement.

ATLANTIC

St. FX 29, Mount Allison 24: Every conference has the one team who can beat anybody and lose to anybody; the jury's out on which "men" fit that billing down East -- X or Acadia.

Astonishingly true Mount A fact: A quarterback, wide receiver and the punter accounted for almost all of their rushing yardage. Gary Ross (12 catches for 186 yards, 273 combined yards) was superb for Mount A, which didn't show that it's much for than him and Kelly Hughes.

Saint Mary's 14, Acadia 12: Not everyone thought the Huskies were impervious to their AUS foes, even without Erik Glavic, who still hasn't been cleared to play. For at least one night, it was true, bearing in mind not much stock should be put in a first game.

At least that's the hope from a SMU perspective -- they managed only 103 yards passing. Ted Abraham started for SMU but was replaced by newcomer Nathan Beeler, who managed to get the Huskies in the end zone.

Co-ordinator Dan Laramee's defence played just well enough in the second half, and dodged a bullet when Acadia's James Michener missed a 35-yard field goal attempt in the final minute.

2 comments:

  1. Particularly tough for Sacobie to break Flynn's record when they do not play him in the first quarter of the Western game and for the entire second half of the York game. If they had of, he might have had Sinopli's four TD passes to add to his total.
    It is an indication that breaking personal records is not what is on the collective mind of the Gee Gees.

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  2. They run a gimmick pass-first, run-maybe-later offence, but Connell must be good to keep on putting up numbers.

    I've only seen an exhibition game, but it seems to me that any quarterback can complete two-yard passes in the flats. Is Connell impressive in ways other than "total number of completions"? Hard to tell with the receivers he has, I guess. Not many WRs can turn a five-yard pass into a four-yard gain, but they all seem to play for McGill.

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