Football: Top 10, Week 4 results

Your quick recap of the games played by the top 10 teams, who went 6-0 this week against non-top-10 teams and 8-2 overall.

  1. Laval (4-0): W 12-4 vs. McGill. My rankings had them as about 45-point favourites going into this game, and I guess they did not cover.

  2. Western (4-0): W 34-28 at Laurier. First time the Mustangs have had a game in doubt this year. The WLU offence and punter apparently had 4:30 reservations at Morty's, because how else do you explain their second-last drive? With less than three minutes to play, they failed to convert a 2nd and 1, then punted (for a grand total of 15 yards!) on 3rd and 2.

  3. Calgary (4-0): W 38-24 vs. Saskatchewan. It was 36-10 as late as halfway through the fourth. Just a consistently good effort from Calgary. Gain eight yards per play and you'll often score enough to win, even if you lose the turnover battle (3 to 2 for the Huskies). Steven Lumbala rushed for 107 on 9, including a 45-yard TD; Eric Dzwilewski (20/28, 255) connected with Chris Dobko 11 times for 11 yards per catch.

  4. Montreal (3-1 for now): W 36-22 at Bishop's. They were down 10-7, but then the last minute of the first half happened: 36-yard punt return, 10-yard Rotrand Sene TD, fumble on a kick return, 26-yard pass, 9-yard TD pass. 20-10. The Gaiters later conceded a safety; Chris Lund (and I) would like a word with them.

  5. Sherbrooke (3-1): W 33-26 at Concordia in what was likely the game of the week. (Jared said 32-25. Slacker.)

  6. McMaster (3-1): W 37-13 at Guelph. Five turnovers in the first half alone! How did they win this? You know, other than holding Guelph to 37 yards rushing. Of note: rookie linebacker Aram Eisho led the team with 8.5 tackles, more than he had in the first three games combined.

  7. Saskatchewan (2-2): L 38-24 at Calgary. Only 10 completed passes. There have been better games. They have a rematch against the Dinos on Oct. 14 though. The Huskies started their too-little, too-late, non-comeback with a six-yard TD run by Garrett Bolen, only his third carry of the year, but around here we call that 2/15ths of a Steven Lumbala.

  8. Saint Mary's (2-1 for now): W 60-6 vs. Mount Allison (in Moncton). I think it's adorable that Neate chose the Mounties to win this one.

  9. UBC (3-1): W 29-23 vs. Manitoba. Perhaps the most efficient offence in CIS — though let's give them another shot at Calgary, and maybe a bowl game, before we coronate them as such.

  10. Manitoba (2-2): L 29-23 at UBC. Four out of six teams ranked in Canada West, and three of six in the Laval conference? Oh well. This No. 10 team will drop out, be replaced by Windsor or Acadia, who will probably lose next week and drop out, then be replaced by...

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  1. Although I am reluctant to stick up for Laurier, the decision to punt near the end of the game is pretty consistent with the way that three-down football is managed; particularly at the end of the game.

    Granted, Laurier's punting game was lacking in the second half, making the decision to give up possession questionable. Still, Western was held to a two-and-out and Laurier had the ball back with around 50 seconds left; the last gasp long bomb still a viable option if not for the interception. From a fans perspective: Laurier looked big and stout on the D-line, as evidence to Western's inability to run at complete will. Also, Shane Kelly is really coming along; his big arm could be a significant factor later in the season, as he continues to grow into the Canadian game.

    The Hawks played well and displayed many of the attributes that had them ranked at the beginning of the season. Although I flinch at the notion, this Laurier squad looks very much like the 07 Stangs. In a league that sends 4-4 teams to the playoffs, the Hawks are far from dead.

  2. Hey Rob,
    I'm curious as to why giving up the safety is an awful idea. Is there some statistical evidence for it that shows it's a bad idea?

    I always thought it was a good idea since, if you were to punt it, the other team would likely already be in field goal position anyway (or 10-15 yards outside of it). Maybe that shows very little faith in punters in the CIS game, but in fairness, most of them aren't very good.

  3. Agree with SHS that Laurier played well and lost. On final drive, Shane Kelly plain overthrew open receiver- at 6 point deficit the game with 50 seconds and Laurier at their own 30 or so. Kelly was dangerous in the pocket at almost all times and threw the ball with authority- the 4 INT's still speak for themselves however. His dropback style more reassuring than scrambly style of his Western counterpart who I think has some trouble getting the ball over lineman arms.

    This was a game I pencilled in from the beginning of the season to attend and in previous missive this past week predicted a close score if not an upset by Golden Hawks. Laurier outplayed Western in special teams, a draw on defense and if you take away a TD INT pick(you can't really) Laurier in many respects outplayed Western on offense.

    My Western Mustangs need to learn from this game. Three fourth and ones stopped yesterday was reminiscent of 2006 playoff game at Laurier with Greg Marshall as OC(Larry Haylor's last game as HC) when Western stopped at least 3 times with short yardage situations in Laurier half with 2 of these in FG range. Largely shutting down Western running game(Tyler Varga did get about 90 yards with two TD's, Riva somewhat effective as well as Marshall and others rushing) will serve as a blueprint for other upper echelon teams to beat Western in the future unless Mustangs make offensive adjustments.

    Western needs to improve it's passing game with Donnie Marshall not at his best right now, and some receivers that were just not getting open- at least half of the incompletions were in very tight coverage- kudos to Laurier DB's as well.

    One of these two teams probably will make it to Yates Cup and if Laurier gets in at the fifth or sixth positions, we will possibly see them in an earlier playoff round against Western. It is somewhat conceivable that they could both play for Yates, but I am sure Mac, Ottawa, Windsor and the surging Gaels will have something to say about that.

  4. @Dan: It's true that the worse your punters are, the better the conceded safety is as an option relative to punting. For Bishop's, their net punt average (punt distance minus return distance, not counting the Mount A game) is 26 yards. So punting from the 15 means, on average, Montreal ball at the Bishop's 41. Two points is worth about 30 yards of field position, so to make the safety worth it, Montreal would have to return the kickoff no closer than their own 39. Given that Bishop's averaged only 28 yards on net kickoffs, that means we'd expect the Carabins to start from their own 47, eight yards closer than our breakeven point.

    So it's not a terrible decision -- and Montreal in fact returned the kick only to their 27 ... I guess it worked in that case.