As each CIS football team is officially eliminated from playoff contention, we'll reflect on what they did this year and compare their results to our expectations.
Next up: McGill, eliminated after yesterday's loss to Montreal.
Per-game stats (as of time of elimination)
Points for: 13
Points against: 29.7
Passing yards: 249
Rushing yards: 82.6
Passing yards against: 279.9
Rushing yards against: 105.3
Looking back at our preview questions:
Q: CAN QB Jonathan Collin recover from last year’s season-ending knee injury?
A: No, he couldn’t. Collin had to have additional surgery on his knee shortly before the start of the season to repair lingering nerve damage — as if it wasn’t enough to come back from a torn ACL, LCL, and hamstring, he was also left with a condition called “foot drop” which hampers one’s ability to properly flex the foot and ankle. He managed to play in the second half of games against Laval and Bishop’s, but completed only 11 total passes.
Without Collin, McGill has alternated between 18-year-old Dallon Kuprowski and senior Ryne Bondy. They’ve combined to throw 3 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. (The good news is that Kuprowski looked mobile and talented — but we’ll talk about that next year.)
Q: WILL the Redmen be able to improve upon their 3.5 yards-per-carry average from last season?
A: McGill has averaged 4.2 YPC, but a slightly improved running game matters little when trying to come from behind. While the McGill coaches prefer RB Sean Murphy (3.6 YPC), Taylor Kuprowski (6.4 YPC) has been the better running back this season. Kuprowski is also a better receiver and blocker in the backfield.
Neither McGill running back has scored a touchdown so far this season.
Q: WHO will emerge from the largely unknown receiving core to replace WR Charles-Antoine Sinotte?
A: No single, impact receiver. While the passing yardage totals for McGill aren’t bad, they’ve been inflated by garbage time receptions. Fifth-year Bobby Mikelberg (372 yards, 2 TDs) emerged as a solid possession receiver, and Tristan Baldini (381 yards) has been a competent deep threat. However, neither can compare to the duo of Sinotte and Justene Edwards from a season ago.
While the preseason questions focused on the offence, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The McGill defence has allowed more yards per game than any other team in the conference, and has only one interception this season. Special teams have been disastrous despite a good punter (Tomas Silva) and a great kicker (Austin Anderson) — in the last two weeks Concordia’s Kris Robertson racked up a league record 214 punt return yards, and then Montreal blocked two punts and a field goal. But most of all, a team can't often win when it scores an average of 13 points per game.