It was a wild Week 1 of Canada West football action with one big upset, and one close call in that regard as the conference kicked off the 2011 season with a trio of games
Regina Rams 10
UBC Thunderbirds 21
It didn't take the number-six ranked Regina Rams long to suffer a serious blow to their Hardy Cup hopes thanks not to a loss to UBC, but rather the loss of their star quarterback and Hec Crighton hopeful Marc Mueller.
Mueller threw only one pass - a completion for 17-yards - before leaving the game with a shoulder injury after an eight-yard run. Just how long Mueller is out remains to be seen, but the loss could spell disaster for a Regina team that despite getting 192-yards from Adrian Charles in the loss to UBC can't win without their star behind centre.
A tip of the hat has to go to Mueller's counterpart on the UBC side Billy Greene who came out and threw for two touchdowns and 262 yards, but more importantly didn't cough up the ball for the T-Birds.
Both teams are on the road this coming week with UBC travelling to Calgary, and Regina driving up to Saskatoon to take on the Huskies.
Speaking of the Huskies, they hosted Alberta in their opener this past weekend and dismantled the Bears by not allowing an offensive touchdown for the visitors.
Edmonton product Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren got the start for the Huskies at QB and struggled at times going 15-of-22, but also threw a pair of interceptions. Gilbert-Knorren got the start over Trent Peterson, but Peterson drew into the game in the fourth quarter.
Saskatchewan's special teams were key to the win Friday night at Griffiths Stadium, with the Huskies racking up more than 200 yards on punt/kickoff returns than the Green and Gold, including a 62-yard Luke Thiel punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Alberta will be looking to move on from their disappointing opener this weekend against Manitoba at home.
The Bisons couldn't give a winning sendoff to University Stadium in their final home opener before moving into their new digs for next season, after squandering a 14 point lead heading into the fourth quarter to the number-four ranked Calgary Dinos.
18 unanswered points from the Dinos proved to be the Bisons undoing, with Chris Dobko's seven-yard TD reception from QB Eric Dzwilewski with only 22 seconds to go in the game sealing the deal for Calgary.
The Dinos high octane rushing attack was the difference in this one, with the three-headed ground attack of Steven Lumbala, Matt Walter and Dzwilewski combining for 242 yards on the ground. Lumbala was especially effective rushing 110 yards.
Despite a pass completion percentage of only 50, Manitoba QB Khaleal Williams threw for 302 yards hooking up with Anthony Coombs on a 90-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Manitoba was their worst own enemy on this day though in many respects, taking 14 penalties for 130 yards to help the Dinos offence wear down the Herd's defence.