Football: Digesting Week 8; Carabins go boom, Beemer Bowl lives up to the hype

News, notes and shallow, fairly obvious observations on one of the season’s crazier Saturdays, with the Nos. 1 and 5 and 6 teams each falling:
  • That was a hell of a jolt Sherbrooke gave No. 1 Montréal in the final minute of the first half.

    Up 13-7, the Carabins had a short field after a fumble, but Marc-Olivier Brouillette was picked off in the end zone. Hec Crighton candidate Pascal Fils ripped off a 29-yard run on the first play of the Sherby possession and four plays later, the Vert et Or took the lead. The second half was catered to them.

  • It might take a day or two to figure out all the potential OUA playoff scenarios with four teams tied for 5-2. Everyone in the QUFL has at least two wins, so it's a clusterfudge, but in a good way.

  • Ottawa QB Bradley Sinopoli is averaging 11.5 yards per rush on 45 attempts this season, which frankly, is ridiculous.

  • Determined, but not desperate sums up No. 4 Queen’s last-minute 27-26 win over No. 5 Western, where Blaise Morrison caught the game-winning TD with 13.5 seconds left. That's usually how Western plays those situations; actually Western did play it well, marching 88 yards in two minutes to go ahead with 1:16 left.

    Golden Gaels coach Pat Sheahan related his team runs a drill where the offence has 1:10 to score a game-winning touchdown, starting from their own 20. The clock read 1:08 when Dan Brannagan (435 yards, 2 TDs) and Queen’s started at its own 26.

  • Western coach Greg Marshall was sanguine despite his team's second loss and fans' fears about Michael Faulds' health. Marshall might not have a shred of doubt they could beat Queen's in a rematch, although it's not clear the teams will meet again.

  • Congratulations to Laurier's Dillon Heap, whose 820 punt return yards this season are a CIS record.

  • A kicker got called for unnecessary roughness, really.

  • Saint Mary's 39-23 win at McGill kept the AUS from getting blanked on the potential last interlock weekend for a while. The Huskies also host St. FX (which lost by three TDs at home to Bishop's) next week to decide home-field advantage for the Loney Bowl. Either iteration of the Huskies should be a Top 5 team come Tuesday.

  • Alberta topped Regina 33-22 (score only that close due to a window-dressing TD and two-point conversion). The classy reaction would be to not point out which Ontario voter was the only one to put the Golden Bears on his Top 10 ballot.

  • You couldn't imagine a crueller deus ex machina for Windsor coach Mike Morencie than having a missed field goal return TD wiped out by an illegal block in the end zone that gave McMaster a single and a 15-14 escape. An undisciplined penalty is a microcosm of what is wrong with the Lancers. It's painful for them, but that is the reality.

    A reader noted on a previous post the embattled Windsor coach's post-game interview "was up there with the Queen's-Western ending for most compelling moment this season ... He was also hugging all of his staff on tv as the game ended -- almost like it is a complete done deal that he's gone."

  • Queen's defensive end Shomari Williams ran down Western Da'shawn Thomas for an eight-yard loss at one point, by the way.

Sherbrooke 34, No. 1 Montreal 15 – The U de M post-mortem would include penalties (12 for 115 yards to Sherby's 5 for 28) and allowing Vert et Or's J.P. Shoiry to have such an efficient day, passing 24 times for 223 yards with four TDs and no interceptions. This is being written without having had benefit of watching the Radio-Canada broadcast, but Pascal Fils (24 rushes for 124) was largely contained, since two runs accounted for half his total.

Montréal (4-2), incidentally, punted on third-and-1 from its own 40 early in the third quarter. How does a team with a talent such as Rotrand Sené not try to keep possession and get momentum back? Sherbrooke scored on the ensuing drive and soon it was all over, but the crying.

No. 2 Laval 73, Mount Allison 7 – Pass.

No. 4 Queen’s 27, No. 5 Western 26 – It actually did live up to the hype. What else can you say about a game where the two most prolific passers in OUA (soon CIS history) combined for more than 800 passing yards and each ran a near-perfect victory drive? The only problem for Western and Michael Faulds, who threw for 391 yards on a bad ankle, is there was 1:16 left when they took the lead on a 10-yard run by Nathan Riva on their patented pitchout. That was too much time.

Gaels coach Pat Sheahan made a wise call to use a timeout before Western scored, conserving time for his offence. Those were some of the thin threads for Queen's. There was also a drive-extending facemask penalty that led to a Gaels touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Western might have come away feeling it left points in the field, between Faulds missing a wide-open Riva on a wheel route in the second quarter (it was a sure TD) and settling for a 16-yard field goal in the third after a curious call to run up the middle on second-and-goal from the Queen's 9.

Very little separates these two teams, tell you that much. Brannagan faced more pressure than he had all season, especially when Western left guard Matt Norman did double duty at defensive tackle. Will linebacker Conor Elliott also had at least three batdowns at the line of scrimmage. Queen's can probably expect to see every defence it faces the rest of the season try to swat down the 6-foot Brannagan's throws, since he gets the ball out quickly, is usually in the pocket and his receivers usually get open.

The Mustangs (5-2) weren't in any prevent defence on the final drive. They had six, seven defenders up at the line, but Brannagan got the ball out. He noted afterward the play to Morrison was open earlier in the game, but he was unable to get the pass off properly. They went back to it at the right time.

The major question is Faulds' health. He limped out for a play in the fourth quarter after making a pitchout on an option (a curious play call by Western, and Queen's was on to it). You won't know for sure until next week vs. U of T.

Bishop's 33, No. 6 St. Francis Xavier 12 – The Gaiters (2-4) scored two touchdowns in a 40-second span of the second quarter to open a 20-point lead and St. FX never recovered. Bishop's QB Jesse Andrews only passed or rushed 22 times, but had 276 yards total offence, so he was Mr. Efficient.

Elie Ngoyi had a huge fumble recovery which set up the second of those two quick Gaiters TDs. On the X side, it's a fair to wonder how its running game issues came back to haunt it; James Green was below five yards per carry again and the X-Men were minus-16 in rushing attempts.

No. 7 Saskatchewan 31, Manitoba 11Huskies Football Outsider notes the Green Dogs have increasingly come out ahead along the line of scrimmage. Manitoba didn't give up much easily (3.7 yards per rush, 7.0 per pass for the Huskies), but Saskatchewan won going away.

From the stat sheet, it seemed like gang green, particularly the front seven with ends Zach Hart and Joel Seutter, tackles Stephen Kovach and David Rybinski, the linebacking trio of Lyndon Boychuk, Peter Thiel and Taylor Wallace, just took over the game for the Huskies.

Jeff Hassler, who's shown a lot of flash this season, also had a turning-point 86-yard kickoff return to the Bisons' 16, setting up the TD which put Saskatchewan ahead 13-7 at halftime, never to trail again. That was the play where Bisons kicker Scott Dixon got a unnecessary roughness penalty for a horse collar tackle, moving the ball to the 1.

One change this season in amateur football is that a major foul inside the 25-yard line is marched off in full, rather than half the distance to the goal line. Under the old application, Saskatchewan would have got the ball at the eight-yard line and might not have scored a major (although if you can't score after starting inside the 10, you're officially the Tennessee Titans).

The Bisons were also turned back on third-and-1 from the nine-yard line late in the first half. It was the right call, philosophically speaking.

No. 8 Saint Mary's 39, McGill 23 – There were almost as many penalty yards (275) as offence by either team (286 for Saint Mary's, 272 for the Redmen, with Andrew Hamilton rushing 21 times for 96 yards, first time he's been kept in double digits this season). The Huskies defence got three interceptions.

No. 9 Ottawa 54, York 31 – Someone owes Rob Pettapiece a peace offering in liquid form. Rob set the line at Ottawa by 25 points and they only won by 23.

Honestly, the final margin might reflect how Ottawa is much more literal about using the regular season to experiment and find their best team for the playoffs. It's almost like hockey, where the regular season is treated as exhibition. It worked last fall. The OUA doesn't give extra credit for an unbeaten or one-loss regular season.

Ottawa should finish 6-2. Bradley Sinopoli, for the second week in a row, had a better average rushing (nine for 137 yards and three TDs) than passing (he threw 34 times for 266 yards).

York put up numbers thanks to getting two 50-yard-plus plays, one each from their super rookies, Jacob Appiah (11 rushes for 124 yards) and Johnny Peyton (105 on four catches).

No. 10 McMaster 15, Windsor 14 – Covered above somewhat, this game saw a rare early lead for the Lancers, but five minutes later Mac took over. Certainly a bizarre day for Windsor: it's not every game you out-pass a ranked team but end up behind 2-to-1 on total offence; and, to add injury to defeat, Sam Malian was knocked out in the second quarter after completing eight short passes for 75 yards. 164 yards on 23 carries for Joey Nemet and 116 on 16 for Jordan Kozina constituted the majority of the 370 rushing yards for the Marauders.

Mike Morencie will coach his final game in Ottawa, just like Frank Tindall in 1975. The similarities kind of end there, other than both presiding over teams which try to pass yellow off as as gold.

Canada West

Alberta 33, Regina 22
– The beauty of this is the Golden Bears and Rams each have No. 4 Calgary and No. 7 Saskatchewan over the final two weeks, so no one is going to get into the playoffs through the back door. Manitoba (2-4) still has the two B.C. teams left to play, although the tougher of two, Simon Fraser (3-4), has to come to Winnipeg.

Golden Bears running back Matthew Jarvis stepped in and gained 72 of his game-high 99 rushing yards on a 11-play scoring drive in the third quarter. That opened a two-score lead for Alberta, which never looked back.

Simon Fraser 30, UBC 1 – The Clan started Caleb Clark at quarterback and nearly half his 204 yards came on a 91-yard scoring pass to Spencer Watts. Mark Deslauriers, part of the Clan's brother act in the defensive backfield, also had an 80-yard pick six. Those TDs made it 14-0 and it was like The Sopranos -- over.


Concordia 39, Acadia 5
– The boxscore is pretty self-explanatory. The Stingers (2-4) aren't out of it yet.


Laurier 21, Guelph 14
– Don't you look smart, taking the under. Scott McCahill's end-zone interception in the final minutes helped the puzzling but still pretty decent Golden Hawks stay in the race a home playoff game.

Guelph's a confusing team, eh?

Laurier hosts Queen's in the final week. It's a nothing game for Queen's short of making sure Brannagan gets the CIS passing record.

Waterloo 30, U of T 7 – Running back Matt Socholotiuk, who's had a solid rookie campaign for the Warriors, had 167 rushing-receiving yards and two TDs.
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  1. To adhere to established policy, what four OUA team will be in the Top 10?

    Seriously, only Western and Queen's deserve to be there. Bishop's, Concordia and Sherbrooke would have their way with any other OUA teams...not even close.

  2. Hard to say that when Ottawa beat Sherbrooke in Exhibition. Starters on Starters Ottawa had a very clear advantage.

  3. It's heresy, I know, but Western might not even be a top-10 team. Sure, they'll get voted as 6th or whatever, but there are 10, maybe 11 teams I would argue are better-suited for a top 10 vote.

  4. I agree with the 1st post that only Western and Queen's belong in the Top 10 (I too expect to see the usual OUA bias and 4 teams) I disagree with the 2nd post as exhibition games don't count for squat. Here is how I see the rankings

    1 Laval
    2 Calgary
    3 Queens
    4 Montreal
    5 SMU
    6 Saskatchewan
    7 Western
    8 Sherbrooke
    9 X
    10 Alberta

  5. What exactly has SMU done this season? What in their body of work justifies a Top-10 ranking?

  6. Everyone has been putting down SMU all season. They beat Sherbrooke and McGill and have been battling both injuries and sickness and always find a way to win. If that is the case I ask the same questions regarding Western who has lost two games and one to a MAC team who had a tough game against Toronto last weekend and Windsor this weekend.

  7. Other then beat Western what is Queen's body of work? Beating up on the 3-5 of the worst teams in the CIS does not make a team great I don't care what their record is. When the playoffs come we will see Laval vs either Queen's or Western and we will see the true OUA as they will get beat badly, but I will wager a bet that says if Calgary plays Saint Mary's this will be a great game as Smu knows how to turn it up come playoff time!

  8. You forgot to mention the impact on the McGill SMU game of 3 Andrew Hamilton fumbles and 3 interceptions.

  9. The exciting thing in the Q is that all 6 teams are in contention for a playoff spot with only 2 games left... That makes for an interesting season for all QUFL followers!

  10. Deux: The same can be said for the top 2 teams in each division (Calgary/Sask, SMU/St o X, Laval/Montreal, Queen's/Western) I think maybe on any given day...... The one thing both Laval and Saint Mary's seem to have is they can raise their games to another level come playoff time (just look at the last 10 years what they have both accomplished). If their teams stay injury free I would not be surprised to see these 2 teams in yet another VC!

  11. Rob set the line at Ottawa by 25 points and they only won by 23.

    Yes, I enjoy when people disagree with or question the goodness of a line I've set, because that usually means I'm on the right track.

  12. Is there any doubt that the whole country stands and takes notice when the Gaels and Mustangs meet? That folks (I’m taking to Canada West, AUS and Quebec fans in particular here) is what great football is all about. When the rest of the nation’s programs can produce that type of hype, emotion, and performance then maybe their complaints will matter or resonate beyond the shadows. Until then the rest of the country should take a few notes.

    It should be noted that the Score did another great job in promoting and presenting this historic match-up. However, it was likely fortunate that Sager, the critically acclaimed one, attended the game and therefore was unable to hear the Score’s Tim McCalif drop the ole “the Queens” slander on occasion. Still, unlike Hockey Night in Canada, I just can’t get enough of that type of misogynist humour. I know I shouldn’t get a giggle of it but I do. Additionally, speaking of atrocities, the Score’s microphones caught the “F*** Western” chant emanating from the stands. As an outraged citizen, and noted tight ass, I want all those who participated in the lurid hate-speech to be suspended and ridiculed. Seriously, what if some poor naïve high schooler and his parents heard that potty-mouthed act? I suppose society’s collapse is just around the corner; Nero was probably fiddling away among the bagpipes.

    If Queens can beat Mac they will assure Western a home field semi. That may be just enough to propel the wounded Stangs back to another Yates final and with Faulds at the pivot we all know how those games usually turn out.

    Happy Slide

  13. Impact on McGill SMU game, I'm not sure how a SMU kicking McGill's ass on their home field has any impact on anything? I read over and over that McGill is the 3rd best team in The Q and they were going to win with ease over SMU, well that sure did'ent happen!

  14. Superfan: You live in Ontario and to you The Gaels and Mustang game was big (and it was) but do you not think that the Laval vs Montreal game or Sask vs Calgary game or SMU vs X games are not just as big to the fans in those areas? I have been to games all across Canada and I will tell you attending games in either Sask, Laval or SMU stadium are as good as it gets! I have yet to see anything to compare to it in the OUA!

    I always find that listening to Duane Ford promote the OUA every chance he gets annoying as hell. What happened to the "we leave our bias at the door when we anounce" rule?

  15. I'm getting a little fatigued regarding the talk that the only thing Queen's has done is beat Western because their schedule is soft. They have manhandled every team except Guelph (Week 1 Game - rust) and Western (the only team that can really rival them). They played the schedule they were given and have dominated. 2 games they won without their star quarterback who is the engine behind the machine. If 7-0 against every team they have played thus far isn't good enough, then you are essentially complaining about a lack of inter-conference play. Give the Gaels the respect they deserve, because they've shown themselves to be the class of the province.

  16. Queen's did beat MAC by 1 point. So your saying without Dan Brannigan they can't win? Sounds like Western if their QB goes down. I don't care who comes from the OUA and if Anthony Calvillo is the QB they will lose to Laval and you can take that to the bank!

  17. I didn't say they can't win without Brannagan. They did it twice in reality so it would be pretty moronic to suggest that. Also, Laval will be travelling to the OUA winner this year, so two things. 1) They will be coming to Ontario. 2) I remember hearing that prior to a particular game against Montreal. Laval is a very good team, but you play the game for a reason. You can take THAT to the bank.

  18. Funny how I always hear how Saint Mary's has not played anyone so why should they get ranked in the Top 10? Nobody holds back on slamming them and even though their season will end with 2 games against St X, Sherbrooke and McGill (tougher schedule then Queen's) yet when Queen's plays soft teams to hear the OUA fans you would think Queen's is playing Laval every game? Can some explain that one cause I would love to hear the difference?

  19. The fact remains that the Gaels-Stangs contest means more to Ontario, and therefore the country, because of the two storied institutions; unlike the boarderline community colleges that make up the rest of the non-OUA CIS. The only reason anyone heard about the Laval-Montreal tilt is because TSN put it on its secondary channel for future broadcast testing purposes. The fact that Laval operates a rouge program that flaunts itself against the ideals of Canadian academics is just one reason why it matter to so few. The atmosphere at SMU is special, too bad no one beyond Halifax cares. Has anyone ever heard someone lament that they wish they has been accepted or attended The University of Saskabush? Need I say more? Sure, why not.

    The facts are the facts, Ontario university sport captures the identity and idealism of what sport and academics is supposed to mean. The abomination programs in Quebec, Canada-West, and the AUS mean very little to the overwhelming majority of the media. I'm not really stating anything that isn't commonly recognized by those unblinded by their biases or school colours. That's just the way it is. Don't be annoyed with me, I'm just expressing the sentiment.

  20. Ottawa beat Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke.
    Sure it was only an exhibition but a win is a win.
    Also, X got its ass handed to it by Bishop's so why do they rate top 10?

  21. Superfan I can tell you first hand the Gaels-Stangs game did not mean anything to anyone outside of Ontario, your dreaming if you think it did! Someone will win the Yates Cup and then get beat from a team in the other divisions and that is the only thing that is "commonly recognized" by CIS fans across Canada!

    Exhibition games do not mean anything and if you played or coach ball you would be well aware of that! Teams play these games to see the depth of their teams,

  22. I'm sure nobody in Saskatchewan is lamenting about going to "Farmer U" in Guelph either *LOL*

  23. I agree with the last post by 'anonymous'. A win is a win. Ottawa did not play their best football this week but I think they are still a force in the OUA. They often lack consistency and take way too many bad penalties (obviously) but they can compete with anyone in the OUA. It will be interesting to see what happens in the playoffs.

  24. If exhibition games meant anything they would be keeping track in the Win/Loss area! It means nothing except to test out players (usually rookies or second year players) to see how they have advanced or what they can show nothing more then that! Only an OUA fan would count that as a win!

  25. Only an idiot would think Bishop's could beat Queen's or western.

  26. Not sure where above it say's "Bishop's can beat Queen's or Western" but I don't think they can. I do how ever believe that Sherbrooke and McGill can give them a game? I also believe Laval, Montreal, Calgary, Saint Mary's and Saskatchewan can too!

  27. No dominant team in the OUA this year. Queen's has won by the skin of their teeth against A list teams(read winning records to date) on three occasions. Western either can't hold a lead(or spots the other team an extra 12-24 by half time). Mac, Laurier,Guelph seem to dumb down to their oppositon and make likely fodder look good. Dark horse at this point could be Ottawa who seem to get better each week.

    As an OUA flunkie(LOL) I see no team in OUA at present being able to compete at least defensively with either the Q or Can West. I was picking an AUS team to hopefully get near home advantage for Vanier but can't see a team like X-men progressing if they can't beat a mid level Q team .

  28. I'm going to ask everyone, gently, to stop proving this theory right, and anyone who doesn't understand why I'm bringing this up and thinks they're being funny instead of annoying is welcome to a complete refund on all content purchased from Thank you.