- 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 11 – Huskies 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.
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.