McGill 29, Sherbrooke 11 — The Redmen putting one in the win column for the first time since 2006 has to lead the round-up, doesn't it? (Notes on Saskatchewan and Simon Fraser's wins are below the jump, you just have to click through, please.)
The most refreshing part is that coach Sonny Wolfe's Redmen played straightforward football, actually averaging more yards per rush (6.5) than per pass (5.2). Andrew Hamilton (20 rushes for 177 yards) and Taylor Kuprowski (101 rushing-receiving yards) were huge, while QB Jonathan Collin accounted for all three TDs with a pair of one-yard plunges and a scoring pass to Thomas Fortin.
Sherbrooke's Pascal Fils, whom some would say is the Q's best runner, had a 191-yard night go for naught (and what was up with his team failing to pick up a second-and-short early in the game). The Vert et Or were below 200 yards passing for the second week in a row, and an interception on a pass thrown by Charles Croisetière, a slotback, ended up leading to a game-sealing touchdown for the Redmen.
It's funny how the football gods smile on teams who play aggressively, even if it doesn't work out initially. Case in point: In the second quarter, up by 10, Wolfe elected to gamble on third-and-2 rather than try a 39-yard field goal. It failed after Sherbrooke defensive end Jonathan L'Esperance made a stop and, in fact, the Vert et Or scored their only TD on the ensuing drive.
In the third quarter, Sherbrooke had third-and-3 on the McGill 38 and elected to punt directionally rather than try a field goal or go for a first down. McGill wound up taking a safety, but its defence forced a two-and-out and a punt on the ensuing Sherbrooke drive. The Redmen offence, powered by Hamilton, then had its longest drive of the night, 83 yards, to ended their lead to 19-11. Obviously, to chalk that up to karma is far-fetched, but it was nice to see.
Sherbrooke left some points on the field. It had a pooch punt from McGill's 33 (that close, you either have to be gambling or let the kicker try the three-pointer) go for a single and William Dion also missed a 34-yard field goal. All told, six trips inside the Redmen 40 netted only 11 points.
One game is not a great indicator of how far back McGill is, but it does play Bishop's (twice) and Mount Allison the next three weeks. The next W might not be too far off.
- No. 3 Saskatchewan 10, Regina 9 — A broader concern for the Huskies is that they have dodged some bullets in winning two one-point games at home to start the season, plus they're drawn pretty far down on the depth chart at running back. However, people only ask how you won after they ask if you won, right? Needless to say, their bye week is right on time.
Huskies QB Laurence Nixon pulled one out late for the second Friday night in a row, completing 6-of-8 passes on a 75-yard victory drive that he capped with a five-yard TD pass to Shayne Dueck with 1:12 remaining. (Saskatchewan's Perri Scarcelli then missed a 45-yard field goal and Saskatchewan took a safety before time ran out.)
Regina kept the Huskies to about 250 yards offence in the first 57 minutes. It's almost like you could write that it would have been a dream come true if Scarcelli had got off a 44-yard punt out of bounds late in the game. Instead, his boot went 46 yards. Saskatchewan gained field position (the trade-off being that they didn't have the option of kicking a field goal) and that's the rest of the story.
The Rams should get some more Top 10 support this week after a near-win on the road.
- No. 9 Simon Fraser 41, Manitoba 7 — Actual stats from an actual team which actually won the Vanier Cup 22 months ago: Sixty-nine yards net offence and more giveaways (six) than first downs (five). Simon Fraser has a very solid defence, but being below 100 yards offence is pathetic under any circumstance. Manitoba is 0-2 for the first time since 1998. Honestly, after seeing the stats and the Little Man on Campus write-up, it's a wonder the Clan only won by 34 points.
Simon Fraser TCB'd pretty well, building a 26-0 halftime lead and striking a good balance on offence (248 rushing, 252 pashing). Wideout Victor Marshall (163 yards on eight catches, two touchdowns) was the offensive star and return specialist extraordinaire Jeff Thompson also had 185 yards in kickoff and punt return yards.
Howard Tsumura posted a profile of Thompson prior to the game.
The Clan should get to 3-0 vs. Alberta next week before it has to run a Calgary-Saskatchewan-Regina gauntlet.