Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nine stories from a CIS weekend:

  1. SFUBC 55, Saskitoba 17: Let's be on the up-and-up and focus on what this means for Simon Fraser, 27-17 winnes at home over Saskatchewan, and UBC, which won 28-0 at Manitoba.

    Saturday was an indicator that UBC's Ted Goveia and Simon Fraser's Dave Johnson are making progress on the talent-rich Left Coast, which has enough talent for two good CIS programs.

    Special teams was a common thread in both upset wins. The T-Birds got the game's only touchdown on a 98-yard punt return by Spencer Betts. Simon Fraser, meantime, outplayed the Huskies on specials, with Jeffrey Biles going 4-for-4 on the field goals and having a better net punting average than the green dogs' Connor Macdougall.

    That speaks how the coaches seem to have improved their overall depth; often, bad teams struggle in that third phase of the game since defensive starters have to double-up on their duties. who was also 0-for-3.
  2. Gee-Gee ennui: That old joke about a team looking like it was facing 24 guys -- 12 on the other team and the 12 on its own -- applies here. The No. 6 Gee-Gees, 22-19 over winless McMaster, will move up in next week's Top Ten only because Saskatchewan lost.

    It's understandable if Ottawa is feeling the weight of high expectations, or if they feel they can experiment with different schemes and lineups against lesser teams. They're good enough to get away with it much of the time.
  3. Waiting for Glavic: Saint Mary's dual-threat QB, Erik Glavic, was a late scratch,f orcing the Huskies to play three different QBs -- two of whom committed turnovers that were returned for Bishop's touchdowns. Saint Mary's, which might be the best team in the country, won nevertheless thanks to big days from Allister Blair (223 yards rushing) and Craig Leger (100).
  4. The T is for terrific: The Varsity Blues throttled York 58-7 and are now 2-1 for the first time since 1996.

    How long ago was that? For me, that was two degrees, 10 changes of address and a thick, lustrous head of hair ago. (Seriously, people would come over and ask to have their picture taken with it. Those were the days.)
  5. Queen's D is Sterling: Paraphrasing what Bob Horner said after hitting four home runs in one game against the Expos in 1986, "Today, Dee Sterling had a great season."

    Five-and-a-half sacks is a good year for an interior lineman. Sterling got that in one game in Queen's win against Laurier. It's unclear what the CIS record (mea culpa: when asked by someone, I dimly recalled that UBC's Scott McCuaig had six sacks in game last year, but that was wrong: He had six over two games. Whoops!)
  6. Somewhere, Peter Dalla Riva weeps: First Teyo Johnson caught that end-of-the-half Hail Mary touchdown for the Calgary Stampeders on Friday night, then two CIS teams did their part to revive the tight-end position.

    Simon Fraser's Miloš Živković, a 6-foot-5 H-back, caught a 77-yard game-tying touchdown for the Clan. Queen's 6-foot-6 inside receiver Scott Stinson had five catches for 111 yards, including a 48-yard score.
  7. No one's safe in Canada West: It's a four-way tie at 2-1 -- Calgary, UBC, Saskatchewan, and Simon Fraser.
  8. The Connell watch: McGill's Matt Connell had a 440-yard night on Friday in a 46-41 shootout loss to Concordia, which brings him to just more than 1,000 yards away from Ben Chapdelaine's career mark. He's got a good chance to get in over the next three weeks, although it's presumed he'd love to playing on a ranked team, like Josh Sacobie.

    The passing record:
    Ben Chapdelaine, McMaster 1997-2001: 9,974
    Matt Connell, McGill 8,927
    Josh Sacobie, Ottawa: 8,667
    Teale Orban, Regina: 8,132
  9. Later, Laurier: Come Tuesday, the Golden Hawks (1-2, and a couple plays from 0-3) will be unranked for the first time since 2003. Their place will likely be taken by Sherbrooke.
Canada West

Simon Fraser 27, Saskatchewan 17:
The Clan might have to make an annual game at B.C. Place a regular thing, since they pulled arguably their biggest win since becoming a CIS team in 2002 (yes, there was a championship in '03, but what accomplishment was it to win with team that been put together to play in the NAIA?).

Anthony Deslauriers, Nick Shuster and linebackers Brian Ridgway and Christion Folk each made INTs for Simon Fraser. Aeron Kawakami also had four pass breakups.

The View From The Stands took care of the post-mortem from a Huskie perspective. Seriously, who would have anticipated a Brian Towriss team losing a game where it had a running back, Tyler O'Gorman, go for almost 200 yards?

The final 30 minutes was practically an intervention for the Huskies. They have to show that they're capable of taking off that foam cowboy hat and playing football.

UBC 28, Manitoba 0: Call the Elias Sports Bureau -- has a team ever scored 28 points without benefit of an offensive touchdown? The T-Birds scored on a punt return and seven field goals. Unreal.

It's the first time in a while that Manitoba has lost back-to-back. It's a good thing they'll be getting a new stadium, since Brian Dobie has probably peeled a lot of paint off the walls trying to fire up his flatlining team. Manitoba has a lot

Calgary 17, Alberta 11: The Dinos' Brett Ferguson picked the wrong week to make three interceptions, including one that he returned 52 yards for the lone Dinos touchdown, because Sterling probably has a lock on defensive player of the week honours.

Take away a 69-yard scamper and Calgary's Matt Walter was held to just four yards per rush. Calgary will be a lot easier to assess after its trip to Simon Fraser next week.

Ontario

Ottawa 22, McMaster 19:
The weather played hell with forging any kind of precise passing attack, so both teams should get some benefit of the doubt.

Josh Sacobie (19-of-32, 288 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) was good enough in a game that didn't demand better of him. Ivan Birungi (seven catches, 123 yards) now has four TDs in three games; he's eight away from tying Andy Fantuz' career mark of 41.

Mac is 0-3, but Kevin Fantham showed enough that Stefan Ptaszek might have stick with him. Rookie Matthew Peressini also had a nice night (66 yards on five receptions). The Marauders still can't run the ball or avoid penalties (15 flags for 169 yards). They would have to underdogs vs. Guelph on Saturday.

Fans of karma no doubt noticed that Mac's Kurt Morrison was beaten for a touchdown pass in the third quarter almost immediately after he was flagged for a late hit out of bounds on Sacobie.
Guelph 34, Windsor 8: It's not really fair to judge teams on bad-weather games. Guelph ended up with more than 370 yards rushing, with Nick Fitzgibbon going for 175 and Justin Dunk adding 120.

Guelph kicker Rob Maver had a terrific night kicking in the rain -- 48.5 punting average, 2-of-2 on field goals. Just for good measure, he also had a first-down run on a fake punt where he juked two Lancers, causing them to crash into each other like bowling pins.

Queen's 41, Laurier 7: One cisfootball.org commenter is already trying to stick the needle by suggesting Queen's should be ranked No. 1 after a game where it outgained Laurier 643-123. It was in jest, right? Let's not succumb to Patriots fan-style hyperbole.

Andrew Bucholtz, who actually attends games before blogging on them (fancy that), has this game covered off at both Out of Left Field and Sporting Madness. The only point left to make is that from a Queen's point of view, one obvious comparison is a 45-0 rout of Waterloo last October. In hindsight, that was a lopsided game that instilled a false sense of security (and Queen's paid for it two weeks later), but the Gaels believe they're older and wiser in '08.

Laurier, which has lost two straight for the first time since Gary Jeffries took over in 2003, is patchwork along the O-line, so this one was a write-off. Some of the kids had their moments: Frosh wideout Shamawd Chambers hauled in a 42-yard scoring pass from soph QB Luke Thompson. Freshman LB Mitchell Bosch also made an interception where he won a battle for the ball. Ian Noble started at quarterback but got the quick hook.

Queen's cornerback Jay Oduwole started after being scratched last week, but came out again. (His backup just came up with an INT.)

U of T 58 York 7: Far be it to begrudge Toronto for piling it on, since they probably feel they had it done to them a few times. Can someone please shed some light on York's plight? So far they've been outscored 169-17.

Western 49 Waterloo 3: It looks like The Score should have a matchup of 4-0 teams on Sept. 27 when the Mustangs face Queen's. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked.

By the way, there is no media bias in Southern Ontario. So what if Tim Micallef, during the Ottawa-Mac telecast, said, "The Ottawa Gee-Gees, hoping to keep pace with the 3-0 Western Mustangs," omitting any mention of the other 3-0 OUA team?

(It's all good, Tim. We kid, because we love.)

Atlantic-Quebec

Saint Mary's 35 Bishop's 27:
Imagine how good Saint Mary's running game would be with an able-bodied Erik Glavic. They totalled 372 yards along the ground and for all you time-of-possession fans, controlled the bal for 36:12.

Bishop's (0-2), thanks to two defensive TDs, cut a 20-point deficit to two after a TD with 2:38 left. On the two-point convert attempt that would have tied the game, Jeff Zelinski, the transfer from Regina, broke up the pass. Justin Palardy kicked his third and fourth field goals to seal the win.

Sherbrooke 23 Mount Allison 22: The Vert et Or's tailback tandem of Pascal Fils (14 carries for 143 yards) and Joseph Mroué, who had a 97-yard kick-return TD, bailed them out on Saturday.

Sherbrooke was under 4.5 yards per pass, which usually means a loss (judging from the punting stats, the wind was a big factor).

Jared Collett, from GTA powerhouse Huron Heights in Newmarket, had a game-high 107 yards on five catches. Has Mount A found a No. 2 receiver to complement Gary Ross?

Montreal 33 St. FX 9: About exactly what was expected.

Laval 47 Acadia 1: Rouge et Or QBs Benoit Groulx and Cesar-Roberto Sanchez combined for a completion percentage of more than 90 per cent, which says a lot about the different between the AUS and QUFL.

Concordia 46 McGill 41: There is no way to put lipstick on this pig, at least in the eyes of Stingers fans on cisfootball.org.

McGill came within a few plays of winning for the first time since 2006 before Devon Mitchell's TD run with 13 seconds left helped the Stingers avert disaster. On the bright side for Concordia, they are 2-0 heading into their home-and-home series vs. Laval, with the first leg in Montreal next week. Laval didn't look too great in its opener, either.

QB Liam Mahoney also had 322 yards total offence and led two scoring drives in the final five minutes, which might serve him well somewhere down in the line in a score-or-else situation vs. a better team. He will be in the first Hec Watch list -- 20 players who could emerge as candidates.

It's sometimes best not to do too much analysis of a game that clearly got away from the defensive co-ordinators (1,107 yards' offence). Concordia knows it has to tighten up its secondary. Their players know McGill, which has now lost 11 straight, might very well deserved a better fate, especially considering coach Sonny Wolfe dressed 35 underclassmen. McGill would be a young team even in CEGEP.

Big games in Week 5:
  • Atlantic: Acadia at St. FX (who's second-best in the AUS?)
  • Canada West: Regina at UBC (The Rams can ill-afford another loss, and if they've had two weeks to straighten up and fly right; UBC must avoid a letdown)
  • Ontario: McMaster at Guelph (University Rush game; Gryphons need this one to get in the hunt for the No. 4 playoff seed; Mac needs this one, period)
  • Quebec: Laval and Concordia (front end of a home-and-home) Montreal at Sherbrooke (possible semi-final preview)


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4 comments:

  1. Guelph is on The Score for a second time next week, which is a reason they will not show them this week. Also, I imagine the OUA wants to show the official opening day of their latest new stadium.

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  2. Finally, those Left Coast teams are doing something. SFU = Surprisingly Formidable University? That's pretty awesome that they beat the Huskies in the first-ever CFL/CIS doubleheader (and the Lions beat the Riders last night too, so I was very happy)...

    Also, that UBC game's ridiculous. 28 points on seven field goals and a punt return? The T-Birds shutting out the defending Vanier champs on the road? Has the world gone mad?

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  3. York had 25 first-year players on the field, four of whom had never played football.

    McLean is starting from Ground Zero.

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  4. Damn. That's all I can say. One of the dot-orgers said they were basically running about a 3-play offence vs. U of T — fullback run, outside run to the tailback, rollout pass.

    Meantime, McGill played 22 freshmen (granted, don't know how many were CEGEP-ers) vs. Concordia and had the lead with a minute left.

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