Regina 17, Manitoba 12 (Rams advance to playoffs): The Bisons were an enigma all year so it's fitting that their season would end it in a confusing fashion.
It was an eight-point game with 11 minutes left when the Bisons, starting from their own four-yard line after Perri Scarcelli boomed a kickoff deep into the end zone, embarked on a drive that was longer than a cattle call. Thing is, that 17-play, 91-yard drive that took up 8 1/2 minutes and only got them three points, meaning they used an awful lot of time and still needed a touchdown to win.
It was third-and-3 at the 15 and the season's on the line. Granted, under the McCrystal law that was imposed recently, it's a criminal offence to a question a coaching decision. However, Regina's defence had been on the field for more than eight minutes, why not go for it?
As it turned out, after forcing a punt, Manitoba took over 82 yards from the end zone with 87 seconds left. They got as far as the 31 -- in field goal range, but they needed a touchdown -- before turning the ball over on downs. Just saying.
Regina was better in the red zone, plain and simple. They completed two touchdown drives, both on one-yard sneaks by Teale Orban. The Bisons also had QB Nathan Friesen, who relieved an injured John Makie, fumble at the end of a 16-yard run at the Rams 20 late in the third quarter, costing them points. Friesen had decent numbers, so that obviously hurt.
Stan Van Sichem forced that fumble for the Rams and also was in on the tackle on Manitoba's penultimate play of the game, a second-and-2 where Matt Henry was stuffed short of the first down. Manitoba receiver Terry Firr had one catch for five years in his final game. Regina's got the lucky horseshoe -- if not for UBC's braincramp, they would be 4-4.
No. 5 Saskatchewan 28, UBC 3 (Huskies clinch first place): A pretty open-and-shut win for the U of S, who finish 6-2. QB Laurence Nixon threw 24 times for 236 yards and none of the Huskies' six scoring drives went more than 55 yards; UBC got inside the 35-yard line once all night. Odds are, it will end up being a Calgary-Saskatchewan Canada West final in two weeks.
No. 6 Saint Mary's 49, St. FX 7: What's more absurd -- that there are five teams better than SMU, or to have thought there was a chance they might not get out of the conference?
Saint Mary's averaged 11.6 yards per rush and 5.6 per pass. They might have scored more if they'd thrown less!