Football, Digesting Week 6: Down goes Western! Sinopoli, Quinlan lead takedowns of OUA heavies

  • 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.
Top 10

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!
"Jim-my All-in!"
"That seems to be all you can say!"
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.

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?

Canada West

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.
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  1. I'm sad. The only thing that makes me remotely happy is ND's comeback and the fact that Mo'Town's Tigers are tanking (God I hate the old English 'D').

    My spite keeps me warm.

  2. Mac is an average team (that d-line is pitiful); the fact UWO lost to them strongly suggests we are in for U of C- (read: 59-10) style blowout in the national semi-finals.

    Keep your heads in the sand, guys, this is a one-team league.

  3. But Washington wears purple and has a 'W' on its helmets, shouldn't you like them, then?

  4. I like Washington after they fired Ty Willingham!

    Seriously, Mac is not a top-10 team. I can't possibly imagine UWO putting up a good fight vs. Laval in London this November.

  5. It's October 3. Things might change, although losing MVP (Mike Van Praet) hurts. He's a man-mountain in the middle of the Mustangs D-line.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. NBC tells me I must love the Irish, so I do.

    Here's my take on the upset in London. The Mustang defense has struggled all year against scrambling QBs. Sinopoli, Dunk, and Whatshisname from Mac all challenged the Stangs to make sound choices and good tackles. Western's defenders of the faith weren't able to do either for about 60%-70% of the game. The LFP reported that Defensive Coordinator Gleason was livid with his team. Judging from his quotes it sounded like they not only failed to execute the fundamentals but they freelanced beyond their schemes as well. The final score is probably a pretty fair result for the performance.

    If you can't stop the run you had better be able to at least get pressure on the QB. Western could do neither this Saturday. The Mac QB kept the sticks moving with his scrambling, just like Sinopoli and Dunk were able to do. The loss of Van Praet was/will be huge in that the Stangs are quite undersized on the line. Cleaves also limped off at the end of the game. The Stangs were ineffective with those two in the game, they will struggle for the rest of the season without one or both of them.

    The second half not-quite comeback looked very much like the second half of last year's Vanier Cup. As gifted a man as Faulds is he tends to ignore the runningbacks in the flats far too often. Faulds ignored Riva and Thomas, their most dynamic after-catch weapons, in the first half and that was an oversight that finally came back to bite the Stangs.

    The second half was amazing entertainment though. When people think about the best of Canadian football the second half was that and more. With nothing to lose Faulds threw and threw and threw. I've found that Thomas hasn't been as involved in the last two games as his start indicated he would be. I initially thought that the natural turf in Guelph was what hampered him that day but after todays performance, and lack of dynamicism (Is that even a word?), I think he may be injured, or sulking.

    All in all, it was a crappy day in the rain and I got a speeding ticket on the way home, sweet. The only good thing about this game was that it was in early October and not November. Hopefully, the Fall-boner of the season will still wear tricolours.

  8. What is the back story behind Glavic turning up in Calgary anyways? Is he in grad-school or was last year's injury time a way of getting past the sit-out season.

  9. You could say York and Toronto finally showed some offensive capability.
    Or you could say two skunks only smell good when they are around each other.

  10. Well, that is just catty.

    @Superfun happy slide: The injury time was Glavic's sit-out period. I'll double-check with Calgary.

  11. Western has had 2 games in a row where they have given up a lot of points. Today they lose at home to a team not ranked in the top 10. Do they deserve to be in the top 10 anymore? (thinking back to SMU's loss to a good X team in a close one in X's stadium SMU dropped from 4 to 10 and Saskatchewan's loss to a good Alberta team they dropped by 6 so then I think UWO should at lest drop to 9 or 10?

  12. My rankings this week

    1 - Laval - Even if they were to loose to Montreal they would still be #1
    2 - Calgary - Glavic is playing great as long as his knee holds up
    3 - St FX - Played better teams the Queen's deserve to be ranked above them
    4 - Queen's - Next week against "The Stangs" will be a test they have had a pretty soft schedule to date.
    5 - Saint Mary's - Lots of talent but need to play 60 minutes.
    6 - Montreal - Two losses to Laval is not a bad thing, this is a good team!
    7 - if they lose to Queen's next week they are out of my "Top 10"
    8 - Saskatchewan - Up and down, will the real Huskies please show themselves?
    9 - Guelph - Finding ways to win, I like that!
    10 - Alberta - The have beat some good teams!

  13. Sorry 7 is Western

  14. How serious is the injury to Fitzgibbon, is it season ending?

  15. Laurier had pretty decent attendance until the half, when the delay caused a huge exodus of purple-clad fans onto University Avenue. Not to blame them, of course--thunderstorms had started--and the hundreds of fans who left are still more than the total attendance at Waterloo's games.

  16. I heard that both Acadia and SMU have been crippled by a serious bout of the flu for the last couple of weeks and that their teams have been playing sick?

  17. That weather in Waterloo and London yesterday made me thankful, as a fan, for the big roof over the stands at Frank Clair Stadium.

  18. St. FX has not played tougher teams than Queen's.

    You can throw out the gimme games (for Queen's, that's York and Windsor, for X, that's Acadia).

    X only beat Mount Allison by 6.

    X has quality wins over Saint Mary's and Concordia (which had a close game vs. Sherbrooke, which lost in pre-season to Ottawa, which later lost at home to you guessed it, Queen's).

    Queen's has beat McMaster (which beat Western) and Ottawa (which beat Laurier) without the services of Dan Brannagan and it beat Guelph (which almost beat Western) without the services of Alex Daprato and Shomari Williams.

    I do not know X's personnel well enough to know if it was fully staffed when it only beat Mount A by 6. Beating Concordia at Concordia was a quality win, but how can anyone really say St. FX's sked is so much tougher?

  19. Seger, I have to disagree with you on this one. York, Windsor (and Toronto) are in my opinion the 3 worst teams in the CIS! No one should judge a "pre-season game" and count that as a win in any football league. McMaster played a great game yesterday (or did Western just have an off game?) Quebec is still the class of the CIS and if you put Concordia in the OUA do you think they would still have that loosing record? You are right thought X has a quality win over Saint Mary's which in my eyes puts them above Queen's s they have not had to face anyone like SMU as of yet!

  20. So what you are saying, basically, is penalize Queen's unduly for agreeing to the schedule that every other team accepted? That is bizarre.

    Queen's has won 13 consecutive regular-season games dating back to the start of 2008. They have Western, Laurier, Ottawa (twice), McMaster (twice) and Guelph (twice). They actually missed Windsor in the rotation last season and miss Toronto this season, so their schedule is about as decent as it can get in the two-tiered OUA (and I am on record saying I dislike the OUA).

    True, X, a sub-.500 club last season, has beaten Saint Mary's. That was one game. Have you ever heard the term, "small sample size?" It was also a season opener, when unpredictable results are most prone to happen. If X beats SMU in Halifax in a couple weeks, we will sing a different tune, of course. You have seen those teams play, you can better say if there's a chance that happens.

    Western handled Saint Mary's in the Mitchell Bowl and that same Western team lost by 27 to Queen's in the regular season. Western is 1-3 vs. Queen's since Greg Marshall returned in 2006. It is totally hypothetical, but Queen's probably would have stacked up decently vs. Saint Mary's, too.

    Not to be rude about it, but why I am responding to an anonymous commenter who could not be bothered to spell a person's name correctly? S-A-G-E-R, s'il vous plait.

  21. Sorry SAGER my spelling mistake not meant as a slam.

  22. No worries, it was not taken as a slam. I can be sensitive.

    It's funny. People have no problem with my first name. My last name, though, I have had Sagar, Seger, Sagert, Zager, Segar, Sage, Seager, Saeger, Sagger, Sagher, Sagerr, Szgar and Sanger. A teacher in high school called me "Saget" for an entire semester, which was annoying since this was when Bob Saget was doing Full House, rather than the voice-overs on How I Met Your Mother.

    Of course, my sister once got a baseball trophy where the 'S' in our name was replaced with an 'F.' True story.

  23. *LOL* Was the trophy replaced? I went to school with a girl with the same last name.

    Are you watching the Laval & Montreal game right now on TSN2?

  24. You know what, I think we kept the trophy just for the laughs. My sibling went on to win a lot of trophies, besides.

    Rogers has not made TSN2 available to me, so I am in the dark, alas. Plus my Kingston Frontenacs are on the radio!

  25. If you can tear yourself away from the Fronts, you can watch the game online - this link should work. I don't have TSN2, but that won't stop me from watching Rotrand Sené avoid every tackle and Marc-Olivier Brouillette throw every deep pass 10 yards over everyone's heads.

  26. Laval, down by three scores with only about 3 and 1/2 minutes remaining in the game, chooses to punt the ball away on 3rd and 6. That, by definition, is a gutless call. It made it look like Laval just didn't want to appear to fail any more than they already had to that point. That's a prime example of why the point differential is a lousy way to rank teams and define standings.

    The country can moan about Western all it wants but Marshall's Mustangs never GIVE UP'; they just run out of time.

    Go Stangs Go

  27. I have stated time and time again that The Q is the strongest division and I think today proved it. That being said there are about 5 other teams that I feel could win over either Montreal or Laval (Calgary, Saint Mary's, SoFX, Western, Queens) the rest are a level below these teams (Laurier, Saskatchewan being the best of that group) might pull off an upset but when push comes to shove the cream will rise to the top! I called a Laval & Saint Mary's VC and I will stay with that prediction! Good Luck to all the teams in the CIS you've have made this season great!

  28. Given the upsets this week with Western and Laurier, there is a good chance there will be a tie for 1st or 2nd in the OUA (depending on how Queen's two final games turn out). Does anyone know what the tie-breaker rule is? The rulebook .pdf on the CIS website doesn't explain any rulings under the tie-breaker subheading.

  29. Head-to-head record in a two-way tie. If it's three teams, point differential in the games between those teams.

    There was a three-way tie for second in 2006 between Laurier, Windsor and McMaster, if I am not mistaken.

  30. @anonymous- Fitzy's injury is not at all season-ending. He actually came back in the fourth quarter but was used mainly at the wideout spot for a few plays. He must of got a stinger but all signs point to you seeing #5 on the field next week in Ottawa.

  31. Western game certainly entertaining although painful in first half for this Western shill. Marshall tends to like a bit of adversity and this was a good game to see it. McMaster certainly the hungrier team, and it showed. They executed much better than several games ago against Gaels at Richardson Stadium and seemed to play a better team game than game at RJ in Hamilton against Golden Hawks of Laurier.

    OUA is as "open" as I have seen it for several years after 5 games. Difference between first and sixth place teams marginal at best. Gaels know that the best first game to "blow" in season is not a playoff game. Look forward to traveling back to Richardson(after last year Queens'/Western Homecoming game including mandatory trip down Aberdeen St.) for game on the 17th of October against Western. It is quite likely that neither of these teams that will finish in the one and two hole, will see anything that resemble Yates this year.

    Just a thought or two.....