Manitoba may have proved they were the real deal this weekend, but with a loss to UBC the Bisons couldn't take over second-place in the conference, while Calgary earned a win at home over Saskatchewan, and Regina threw everything but the kitchen sink at Alberta in an impressive win.
#9 UBC - 29
#10 Manitoba - 23
Manitoba's Khaleal Williams had a big day for the Bisons with 391 yards passing and a pair of TDs, but that performance was overshadowed by Canada West MVP frontrunner Billy Greene's day. Greene was phenomenal again for the T-Birds throwing for 306 yards including three TDs. The T-Birds starting pivot didn't throw any interceptions on the day, leaving him as the sole starter in the conference yet to have thrown an INT.
Jordan Grieve's 72-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter from Greene was the defining moment of the game, breaking a 20-20 deadlock.
UBC's 3-1 start is their first since 1999, a year that saw the T-Birds go 7-1 to finish first in the conference before losing to the defending Vanier Cup champion Saskatchewan Huskies in the Hardy Cup final. The T-Birds take on the Huskies next weekend in Saskatoon, while Manitoba heads to Regina to take on the Rams.
Speaking of Regina, what a day it was for the Queen City football crew Saturday in Edmonton. To say head coach Frank McCrystal threw a curveball at the Bears would be a massive understatement. QB Frankie Gray was expected to get the start for Regina, but instead the Rams fourth string QB heading into the season, second-year slotback Zach Oleynik got the start for Regina. What a day it would be for the former Balfour High School QB.
Oleynik wasted no time getting Regina on the board, coming out and engineering a TD drive on the Rams second possession to make it 7-0 Regina. That only foreshadowed what was to come, as Oleynik went on to toss three more TDs, while making only one mistake - an interception by Jason Hetherington in the second quarter - to lead Regina to a much needed win.
RB Adrian Charles was also big for Regina rushing for 165 yards and his first TD of the season. The Rams did a masterful job of keeping the Bears defence off balance using Oleynik, Gray - who only threw the ball three times, but rushed for 61 yards - Charles, and Kahlen Branning at the quarterback position with Charles and Branning both chalking up big runs after taking their turn under centre.
The loss essentially spells the end of Alberta's minimal playoff hopes, while Regina is now only one game back of both Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the race for fourth. Alberta heads to Calgary this week where they'll take on the undefeated Dinos.
#3 Calgary - 38
#7 Saskatchewan - 24
The Dinos now sit alone atop the conference thanks to their first win at home against the Huskies since 2000 - talk about an odd stat for a team that's won more than their fair share of Hardy Cups since Blake Nill took over as head coach.
If it weren't for some big plays on special teams - Nico Higgs blocked punt that led to a TD, and an on-side kick that was successfully recovered in the fourth - it wouldn't have been much of a contest. The Huskies only had 177 yards of total offence on the night, including only 90 yards passing.
Eric Dzwilewski went 20-for-28, and had a trio of TDs, but also had two interceptions. Those picks didn't matter, as yet again Calgary was sparked by their rushing attack. With Steven Lumbala's 107 yards the most of the Dinos four-headed running monster of Lumbala, Anthony Woodson, Matt Walter and Dzwilewski, Calgary flexed their muscles as the conference's best team.
That monster attack should have a field day next weekend against Alberta when the Bears head to McMahon Stadium sporting the conference's second-worst rush defence that allows an average of 242 yards per game.