- The afternoon belonged to Ottawa's Brad Sinopoli and McMaster's Kyle Quinlan, who each ruined a homecoming. Quinlan led Mac to a 42-35 upset of Western, while Sinopoli helped shepherd the Gee-Gees to a 27-25 over Laurier in wet, windy Waterloo. The Golden Hawks lost momentum after a sick Sinopoli touchdown run just before the half that was followed by a long halftime break.
- Quinlan put Justin Dunk's words (you remember) into action, and he did it at the Mustangs' homecoming, no less, going 17-of-22 for 272 yards with three TD passes and three TD runs for the upstart Marauders.
Mac could have folded after Western twice drew within a TD in the fourth quarter, but Quinlan took them on a five-minute, 91-yard drive to seal the win with 2:37 left. How is that for resiliency, eh? That was not enough time for Western (491 yards from Michael Faulds, who also threw a costly interception and lost a fumble) to score two touchdowns.
- The Mustangs' best run-stuffer, DT Mike Van Praet, is feared to be out with a broken fibula. The other tackle, Chris Greaves, was also injured. Starters such as centre Andy Rady, wideout Zach Bull and sam linebacker Conor Elliott were each out, but every team has injuries this far into the season.
- Who does Calgary put forth as its Hec Crighton candidate, running back Matt Walter (188 yards rushing in a 50-26 win over UBC) or QB Erik Glavic (217 passing, 96 rushing)?
- The day's most tooth-and-nail game? Probably McGill's 21-19 win over Bishop's. Andrew Hamilton (19 rushes, 103 yards) might be the biggest game-changer in the country. Bishop's has played Laval twice and lost two other games by a total of seven points. They are the hard-luck 45.
- Guelph tailback Nick Fitzgibbon went down with an injury on his third carry in the Gryphons' 34-24 win over Waterloo. Anything about the No. 10 Gryphons having a pass rush is just a rumour (435 passing yards allowed).
- Concordia's Liam Mahoney is starting to figure out this receiving deal. Mahoney, who was a CIS rookie of the year as an option quarterback, had 13 catches for 242 yards in the Stingers' 34-22 win over Sherbrooke. It was the third-best receiving day in O-QIFC/QUFL history.
- Ottawa, McMaster, Guelph and Laurier are tied for third in the OUA at 3-2. The Gee-Gees host the Gryphons next week.
McMaster 42, No. 2 Western 35 — It is nice to see some parity in the OUA. Mac shot out to a 28-0 halftime lead and following a frenzied Western comeback, bled five minutes off the clock on a fourth-quarter TD drive to secure coach Stefan Ptaszek's biggest win since taking over the Marauders in 2006.
Yes, you could say switching to Kyle Quinlan now seems like a wise move for McMaster (3-2). The London native produced turnover-free football, while the Michael Faulds-led Mustangs had two lost fumbles and an interception. Honestly, words fail, since the result was that stunning.
Mac got big plays from its front seven — James Edwards forced a fumble that set up a TD — and its young d-backs, with Cody Lynch making a pick.
Western put up a major offensive in the second half, with Faulds passing for 491 yards (Nathan Riva had two TDs, giving him 12 this season), but that was pretty thin gruel. Western losing at home, that is not supposed to appen.
Editorial commentary is best left to those who followed the game live. Western likely should drop about three spots in the Top 10, down to No. 5. Calgary, Queen's and Montréal would be the next three. Saskatchewan did not show all that much on Friday.
(All told, Western has allowed six rushing TDs to quarterbacks the last two weeks. That is a first.)
No. 3 Calgary 50, UBC 26 — The Dinos got through no problem, scoring 23 consecutive points across the middle two quarters to make the analysis very easy. They were up 37-7 by the five-minute mark of the second half.
Calgary finishes with Manitoba, Regina and Alberta, making a 7-1 regular season very reachable for Blake Nill's boys. Some would suggest that after the egg Western laid, the Dinos might represent the country's best chance of a competitive Vanier Cup. It is a scary thought after last season's Uteck Bowl.
UBC's playoff flame was pretty much extinguished.
Ottawa 27, No. 8 Laurier 25 — The just-the-facts, Ma'am is posted. Brad Sinopoli (341 yards passing, 94 rushing) and the Gee-Gees defence made the difference, with Ottawa stopping Laurier QB Evan Pawliuk at the goal line on a two-point convert with five seconds remaining.
Basically, Ottawa (3-2) probably takes the place of Laurier (3-2) in the Top 10, although McGill and McMaster could get some support. The Golden Hawks were in the red zone eight times and came away with only two TDs. At that rate, the cable company will cancel their coaches' subscription to the NFL Red Zone Channel.
Pawliuk not getting in on the two-pointer was a fitting coda to a frustrating afternoon. The young QB, who had run the option quite well, appeared to have the crease to dive in and take it to overtime, but hesitated just a beat and LB Trevor Seal, DE Youcef Lekadir and DB Chris Daly stopped him short. It looked like Pawliuk wanted to pitch the ball, but Ottawa covered the back and forced him to try the keeper.
Overall, Pawliuk had decent numbers, passing 29 times for 258 yards (but two INTs) in his second start, but Laurier supporters probably will be dissatisfied.
Ottawa had the ol' good-to-be-lucky, lucky-to-be-good mojo working. Its first two TDs were each set up by a fake kick. The first, a pass thrown by punter Matt Falvo which extended a 12-play, 91-yard drive, was designed. (Replays also seemed to show first-time starting tailback Brandan Gillanders fumbling on a goal-line play, but a quick whistle bailed out Ottawa and it scored on the next play.)
The second fake kick allowed the Gee-Gees to score a touchdown on third-and-28. Sinopoli dropped the snapback on a field goal, picked it up and zipped down the left sideline for the 30-yard touchdown. A conversion on third-and-28? That should happen never.
Laurier had six red-zone opps in the first half, but it was 14-14 at the break. One eyebrow-raising choice was to run a fake field goal in the first quarter on a third-and-2. As Rob Pettapiece reasoned on the liveblog, wouldn't the conventional offence stand a better chance at extending the drive? Speedster Dillon Heap (102 yards receiving, 128 on punt returns) was chased down by Ottawa's Mike Cornell to end the drive.
Ottawa took momentum after a super-extendo halftime break (thunderstorm activity related) and pretty much controlled the third quarter and early part of the fourth.
Cornell totally decleated Laurier wideout Shamawd Chambers on a running play in the third quarter. Chambers, who had only one catch while matching vs. Chayce Elliott (who had a fourth-quarter interception), ended up dropping a wide-open pass on the next Laurier drive.
By unofficial count, Heap would need about 210 yards over the final three games to set a CIS single-season record for returning punts.
No. 6 St. Francis Xavier 60, Acadia 7 — The X-Men's reward for a 50-plus point win is they get to play Acadia again next week. St. Francis Xavier scored 35 points in the third after being ahead 19-7 at half, so Gary Waterman presumably is an all-time motivator.
It is setting up well for St. FX. Its only remaining crossover is at home vs. Bishop's, which might be playing for pride after falling to 1-4.
Reilly Penner and Dylan Hollohan each had interception-return TDs for the X-Men, one of the three remaining unbeatens along with Laval and Queen's.
May someone, preferably located east of Edmundston, please explain again how Acadia would be a mid-pack team at worst in the OUA?
No. 10 Guelph 34, Waterloo 24 — Kind of a Pyrrhic victory for Guelph, which gave up 400-plus passing yards for the third time this season and had Fitzgibbon go down with an injury. They still have to face Ottawa on turf next week, too.
Fitzgibbon's injury left Josh McCreight to carry the weight and he rushed 15 times for 124 yards, including a 47-yard TD in the second half. Quarterback-of-the-future Chris Rossetti went most of the way at QB, passing 15 times for 160 yards (no TDs, no picks) and also rushing for 79.
Waterloo had a respectable showing, trailing only 17-14 at halftime and 27-22 through three quarters. Guelph put together a quick TD drive early in the fourth to re-open a two-possession lead, which pretty much was the game.
No. 4 Queen's 42, Windsor 13 — It was a one-score game in the third quarter before Queen's pulled away thanks in part to Jimmy Allin's fourth return touchdown this season, a 50-yard punt return. The crazy part? Windsor had a no-yards penalty on that play.
Remember the Who Shot Mr. Burns? episode of The Simpsons? It's kind of like that with OUA special teams coaches.
"Hi everybody!Queen's QB Dan Brannagan rolled to 401 yards, giving him 1,503 on the season. Queen's had a punt blocked for the second time this season, with Windsor receiver Jordan Brescacin returning it 32 yards for a touchdown. That's a concern for the Golden Gaels. On the plus side, the Golden Gaels defence made it 16 quarters without surrendering a touchdown.
"That seems to be all you can say!"
It was good to see Windsor (2-3), which saw Kamar Anglin rush 19 times for 136 yards, play with some pride. It does not make any less hilarious the Windsor Star ("(Windsor coach Mike) Morencie said he'll lean on the defence to lead the way in hopes of getting an upset win today.") Do some reporters even bother to check the scores after they write their advance stories?
Manitoba 20, Alberta 13 — The Bisons (2-2) held the Golden Bears without an offensive touchdown to keep in the Canada West playoff race, where five teams are battling for the three slots in behind Calgary or Saskatchewan.
Matt Henry rushed 20 times for 122 yards for Manitoba, who put the game away on a Jeremy Botelho TD catch.
Alberta's defence was better than its offence, going by the numbers. A last-minute blocked punt gave the Golden Bears their only TD. Manitoba's Jim Jeavons recovered the ensuing onside kick to end the game.
McGill 21, Bishop's 19 — The winning and losing plays are never so obvious, but Redmen kicker Austin Anderson was 4-for-4 on field goals and his Gaiters counterpart, Josh Maveety, was 0-for-3 as Bishop's remains one of the country's hard-luck teams.
The Gaiters (1-4) had the ball for 9:06 in the final quarter and lost. They drove to the five-yard line with less than four minutes to go and came away with one point after a pass interference call and a sack pushed them back 20 yards.
Along with the three misses, Bishop's also had a punt that netted four yards, giving McGill a short field for its first TD.
The Redmen aren't overly flashy (Jonathan Collin passed 48 times for 243 yards, a 5.1 average), but they did nothing to lose the game.
Tim Cronk, who was the blocking back for Jamall Lee the past few years, had a 37-yard TD catch for the Gaiters. It was a good day then for at least one Gaiter from a Kingston high school (Cronk went to Holy Cross; Maveety went to its rival, Regiopolis Notre Dame).
Concordia 34, Sherbrooke 22 — The Stingers got off the schneid thanks to the ex-quarterback, Liam Mahoney, whose 242-yard day included 25- and 33-yard grabs on the clinching drive in the fourth quarter, after the Vert et Or had pulled within a touchdown of the lead.
Sherbrooke must have been shell-shocked early, getting down 17-0 on two early TD passes by Robert MacKay (350 yards passing) and 24-8 at halftime. They made a game of it before Mahoney finished them off.
Concordia d-lineman David Deku had a huge fourth-quarter sack that took the Vert et Or out of scoring range on a late drive.
The Stingers are only a game out of a playoff berth, as crazy as it sounds.
U of T 45, York 27 — The Varsity Blues (1-4) finally moved QB Jansen Shrubb from the bullpen to the starting rotation and he threw for 322 yards to help his team roll to a 31-0 lead. The upshot is both of the GTA teams at least showed they have some offensive talent. Drew Meerveld had a big afternoon for U of T; the Toronto Sun will have a story in Sunday's edition about the converted basketball player.
York's impressive wideout, Johnny Peyton, caught three TD passes. Jason Marshall took a punt to the house. It was his second special teams TD this season, which might not even get him a second-team all-star nod in the OUA with the way Queen's Allin and Laurier's Heap are running 'em back.