- Laval's Sébastian Lévesque outrushed Sherby's Pascal Fils 200-38 in the No. 1 Rouge et Or's 22-5 win at Sherbrooke. Which one is the QUFL's short-lister for the Hec Crighton again?
- Not a bad day to be a Kingstonian playing against Queen's: Laurier's 25-13 win over the Golden Gaels turned on Scott McCahill returning an interception 110 yards for a TD, while QB Evan Pawliuk passed 30 times for 273 yards.
Calgary should scoot up to No. 2 ahead of Queen's (and you may argue for Saskatchewan in the 3-hole) after piling up 47 points and 719 yards (470 passing by Erik Glavic) vs. Regina.
- The kooky QUFL has four teams tied for third at 3-4, thanks to Bishop's 21-16 upset of No. 4 Montréal. Get out your "Conn man" since the margin of victory came from a fake-field-goal TD pass from holder Olivier Mongeau to the kicker, Trevor Conn.
- Western's Michael Faulds finished with CIS records for passing yards in a season (3,033) and career (10,814) after putting up 550 vs. Toronto; see below. The Mustangs, though, had starting running backs Nathan Riva and Da'shawn Thomas get nicked-up during the game and lost a second down lineman for the season, losing end Scott Fournier to a torn biceps.
- You already know Guelph-Western and McMaster-Ottawa are the OUA quarter-final matchups for Oct. 31. Both road teams should have a reasonable chance. Laurier got the bye based on record vs. common opponents.
- The OUA could have five ranked teams come next week. There are just so many 3-4 teams in Canada West and the QUFL, plus St. FX (5-2) has been crunched by a combined 55 points the past two weeks.
Concordia 30, McGill 25 – Almost a rout, almost close: Stingers QB Robert MacKay's 494-yard passing day almost went for naught for the Stingers (3-4) since McGill scored three TDs in a row after falling behind 30-2.
Kyle Smith and Nathan Taylor each had big interceptions during Concordia's big first half and the McGill's Andrew Hamilton (four rushes for 11 yards) was rendered a non-factor, which might illustrate how the Redmen are still getting there vs. the Q's big boys, even those who started 0-4.
McGill likely ends up the odd team out since its final game is vs. Laval. Jonathan Collin has had a terrific rookie season and drove McGill to within 15 yards of a tying TD in the final minutes, before the Stingers held.
Concordia is at Bishop's next Saturday. There are all sorts of scenarios where three teams could be 4-4 and tied for second place.
Bishop's 21, No. 4 Montréal 16 – The Gaiters gave themselves a chance at the playoffs thanks to two big special teams plays, Conn's trick-play TD and a blocked punt that set up its third touchdown. Knocking Carabins QB Marc-Olivier Brouillette out of the game likely didn't hurt the Gaiters, since his backup tossed a fourth-quarter interception and threw wildly on a third-down pass late in the game. Jermaine Gabriel had that red-zone pick for the Gaiters.
Montréal, for the second week in a row, dug itself a huge hole (21-3 at halftime, and considering Bishop's missed a 37-yard field goal and a convert, it might have been worse). It's a hard team to figure. The Carabins had opportunities galore in the fourth quarter, starting possessions at the Gaiters' 23- and 43-yard line after a big Frank Bruno punt return and an apparent botched punt where the punter had to make a desperate run. They couldn't convert either chance into a TD. Good teams find a way in those situations.
Rotrand Sené was his usual bad self (21 rushes, 136 yards) for the Carabins.
No. 1 Laval 22, Sherbrooke 5 – It sounds like a meh game since there were four conceded safeties. Benoit Groulx was efficient, passing 25 times for 227 yards, while Lévesque was effective and the defence had big days from Dominique Noël and Samaël Lavaud. There's more concern with how Laval's rivals are playing than how Laval is playing.
No. 3 Calgary 47, Regina 29 – For the last time, Canadian football is not a power running game, unless it's really rainy and windy.
The Regina Leader-Post's game preview led off with how the Rams would have their hands full stopping Calgary tailback Matt Walter. Walter was held to 57 yards (202 less than he got in the first matchup) and the Dinos gained more than 700, with Erik Glavic putting up some crazy numbers (25-of-34 for 470 yards, plus 58 rushing) and Anthony Parker totalling more than 200 yards from scrimmage. The latter two are probably Calgary's Hec candidates.
Glavic's stats are simply sick, but you know, it has been almost three seasons since anyone from the OUA won.
Calgary (6-1) has been pretty creative with getting receivers involved as rushers; Parker had a team-high 79 on the ground and Nathan Coehoorn (102 receiving yards) also had a 19-yard run to set up a TD. The big question is whether that offence could produce at Saskatchewan's Griffiths Stadium in the playoffs, since the Dinos are headed there unless Regina springs an upset next week.
Laurier 25, No. 2 Queen's 13 – The result was reminiscent of Queen's win last season over Western where the 43-16 final flattered Queen's.
That game turned when Alex Daprato returned a goal-line interception 96 yards and the Golden Gaels blew it open with two quick touchdowns. This one had a 14-point swing when Scott McCahill took an interception back 110 yards, turning a potential 11-11 tie into an 18-4 lead. Laurier was not going to give that back with the way its defence played, with safety Courtney Stephen (who might one of the OUA's best defenders, even though he's only second-year), Mitchell Bosch and Giancarlo Ranpanaro having big games.
Queen's spotted its top two tailbacks, Marty Gordon and Jimmy Therrien, which made a difference every time the Gaels were in a second-and-5 situation. That influenced how it played the game and how much Laurier was able to sell out to stop Brannagan, who ended up 25-for-45 for 289 yards and three interceptions. Another concern Queen's has to address before its Nov. 7 semi-final is that the 6-foot Brannagan had seven passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, making it 11 in two weeks.
Laurier will be Top 10 after its seventh consecutive season with at least a 6-2 regular-season record. Evan Pawliuk has done a lot of growing up since mopping up vs. Western Sept. 12, but he's still very inexperienced. That defence gives it a shot in a semi-final vs. Western.
The Golden Hawks' Mike Montoya won the conference rushing title with 847 yards. The crazy part is between Ottawa's Jordan Wilson-Ross, Western's Nathan Riva, Guelph's Nick Fitzgibbon and McMaster's Joey Nemet-Jordan Kozina platoon, he might have trouble getting an all-star selection.
No. 10 McMaster 32, Guelph 29 – The Gryphons' late comeback ensured both teams complied with the OUA rule their matchups must always be decided by three points or less.
Andrew ran the liveblog and can better figure out what it means that Guelph, which had a four-touchdown day from Nick Fitzgibbon, pared down the final margin after falling behind 29-7. The Gryphons go into the playoffs as 3-5 team – coach Kyle Walters said on the conference call he's "not sure a 3-5 team should be in the playoffs" – and gave up a ton of yards to McMaster. (Kyle Quinlan passed 23 times for 313 yards, while Joey Nemet and Jordan Kozina each had 100-yard games.)
Justin Dunk is such a wild card for Guelph and Western is very thin on the defensive line. At the same time, on second-half performance you'd say Western decides the issue early next week.
No. 6 Western 55, U of T 0 – As noted, Western lost Fournier, who joined linemate Mike Van Praet on the out-for-the-season list. It's a shame, since Fournier was having a terrific season and played his best games vs. Guelph and Queen's. Western only had six D-linemen dressed vs. Queen's, so it was already thin in the front four.
Riva and Da'shawn Thomas also have some bumps and bruises. There is a rule of thumb playing the extra playoff game doesn't hurt a team too much, since three of the last four Yates Cup participants did not have a bye.
No. 8 Ottawa 24, Windsor 9 – Mostly, it was waiting for Brad Sinopoli to do something awesometacular in between calling out what play Windsor was running from the 20th row.
Sinopoli (12-of-26 for 188 yards, 105 rushing) and his receivers had about six clear drops on a typically chilly Eastern Ontario fall day. He did break two long touchdown runs, 30 and 27 yards, where it was clear he was gone as soon he crossed the line of scrimmage. Sinopoli finishes the regular season averaging 11.8 yards per rush; good luck finding out the last time that happened. Ottawa did what it does, play good enough not to mess up its chances for the following week.
Windsor (2-6) gave a honest effort in what should be the final game of Mike Morencie's coaching tenure. Safety Daryl Townsend and cornerback Shea Pierre were tested often and hung in there.
At the same time, there are little elements that show why Windsor needs change. There were the four possessions inside the Ottawa 40 or better thanks to field-position changers from the defence (a Townsend interception and a sack-forced fumble) and special teams (a blocked punt and a 49-yard Townsend kick return), none of which led to touchdowns. They were playing a backup QB, but still, no plays longer than 15 yards? One of the assistant coaches was also wearing his cap backwards on the sideline in the second half. It all looks sloppy.
Another vignette was in the second quarter. Ottawa took over at its own 46 after a Chris Daly interception. Anyone who's seen a little football knows the first play after a turnover is usually prime opportunity to throw a long bomb, since the defence is getting its bearings. Sinopoli runs a little play-action and hits Steven Hughes (five receptions, 121 yards) running straight down the middle of the field for 60 yards, setting up a TD on the next play. You could have seen it coming from Maniwaki.
Waterloo 52, York 3 – The Warriors finish on a winning streak after Matt "Dinger" Socholotiuk accounted for 302 rushing-receiving yards and four touchdowns to cap off a superb rookie season.
A tip of the cap is due Waterloo's Sean Cowie, who was a productive receiver across five seasons but never got a sniff of the playoffs.
Acadia 28, Mount Allison 11 – The Mounties' Gary Ross managed 199 all-purpose yards and scored his team's only touchdown. He should be the AUS MVP, or at least get a special award as the player who's done the most with the least talent around him.