Saint Mary’s 0 at Dalhousie 3
Meghan Willox scored at 15:17, followed by Monica Diab at 22:50. Jenna Goobie scored the third and final goal for DAL at 79:22.


StFX 0 at Cape Breton 4
Chelsea Currie scored six minutes in. The next three goals weren’t scored until 64:00 by Allison Bell-Davies, Karolyne Blain at 86:00 and Blain’s second goal, the final for the Tigers, in the 89th minute.

UNB 0 at Moncton 1
The Aigles Bleues won 1-0 against the Varsity Reds. Alexandra Maltais scored the only goal at 31:25.


DAL 0 at UPEI 1
Sarah Stanley scored the only goal of the game for the Panthers at 35:50.

Acadia 3 at Memorial 1
Acadia scored the first three goals of the game with Meghan Earle scored at 7:06, followed by Michelle Pryde at 56:57 and Meghan Earle’s second goal – third of the game – at 67:08. Memorial didn’t score until 72:58 by Jamie Warren, and couldn’t get any more in the 3-1 loss.

Acadia 2 at Memorial 2

Mount Allison 0 at Moncton 2
It was a back and forth game with Kathleen Ross scoring at 16:31 for Acadia. There wasn’t another goal scored until DAL’s Jessie Noseworthy scored for Memorial at 46:00. Acadia’s Michelle Pryde scored at 69:01 and Memorial’s Jane Pope scored at 87:13, finishing with a 2-2 draw.

Saint Mary’s at UPEI:
The Panthers took a 1-0 win over the Huskies, the lone goal scored by Sarah Stanley.

Cape Breton at Mount Allison
The Capers dominated the Mounties, taking a 4-0 win in their final game of the weekend. Karolyne Blam scored at 18:23, followed by Tamara Brown at 34:13. The third goal of the first half was by Alyssa Armstrong. The fourth and final goal for the Capers was scored by Tamara Brown- her second of the game – at 52:33.
There's a common refrain in football. You're bound to hear it if you stay tuned to a broadcast for any longer than a half.

"This team needs to make a play."

It's usually uttered by a colour commentator when the momentum pendulum has swung decidedly to one side. Today, Sportsnet's Mike Morreale used it in just such a way. The Queen's Golden Gaels were on the proverbial ropes after a first half of missed opportunities, and — the logic followed — they needed a defining moment to turn the tide in their favour.

Well, the Gaels enjoyed several such plays in the second half of Saturday's marquee game against the Western Mustangs. What Queen's ultimately couldn't find in London were the other plays, the smaller ones, the ones that turn shifts of momentum into points, and points into results.

Will Zed could block a punt and shuttle the loose ball 45 yards for a touchdown, but the Gaels could not consistently pin the Mustangs deep on either kickoff or punt cover. Justin Baronaitis could penetrate and force a fumble from Will Finch to open the third quarter, but the Gaels could not claim the line of scrimmage. Dan Heslop could rip off an 87-yard play -- aided by a rare moment of atrocious Western tackling -- but Scott Macdonell couldn't keep his footing as he made his break in the end zone on third and goal.

It was that sort of game for the Gaels, whose unblemished record was hit with a typically-upsized result at the hands of the Mustangs.

Don't let the big numbers deceive you. This was a closer game than it appears in the boxscore. Queen's trailed Western by 16 points at the end of the first half, but certainly would have been better positioned had Jesse Andrews not fumbled on the Mustangs' five-yard line to erase the gains of a nearly six-minute opening drive. A miscue from the usually sure-handed Ryan Granberg gifted Western an interception which Preston Huggins dutifully turned into a touchdown with a 54-yard return in the second quarter.

But that theme — Western's efficiency in putting together two varied scoring drives versus Queen's' inability to play consistent football — carried into the second half, which the Mustangs more decidedly won.

The Gaels' defence made the adjustment it needed to as the teams opened the third quarter. Where Queen's had played a fairly conservative, zone-heavy style in the first half and been repeatedly burned by the precision of Will Finch and the recognition of his receivers, they moved to bring more pressure in the second.

Flooding the box paid immediate dividends, when Baronaitis broke protection and forced the fumble from Finch inside Western territory. McPhee and his offence were promptly stuffed on their ensuing drive, but salvaged three points when Dylan Walmsley produced one of his best field goal attempts of the season to hit from 46 yards. More importantly, the Queen's defence appeared to be onto something.

Greg Marshall, however, refused to be cornered. He answered the Gaels' pressure with an expertly-blocked hitch pass from Finch to Matt McDougall that picked up 14 yards and backed off the Queen's defenders. From there, it was back to the lethal mixture of standard rushing with Yannick Harou, option runs from Finch and a coverage-busting 31-yard reception by George Johnson. When Finch scampered for the touchdown on the goal-line, it was 30-10.

The Gaels brought themselves within 15 points of the Mustangs when Zed blocked Liram Hajrullahu's attempted punt and returned it 45 yards for the touchdown. They appeared set to close the gap even further on their final drive of the third quarter, when Heslop's 87-yard catch and run set them up on Western's five-yard line.

But after two inconsequential runs brought up third and goal, and Pat Sheahan elected to gamble, Scott Macdonell slipped in the end zone and McPhee's pass fell harmlessly to the turf. It was a gutsy call -- and the right one -- that ultimately failed in its execution.

From there, and with only a quarter with which to claw back, the deficit proved insurmountable for the Gaels. Harou and James Sifakis added touchdowns, as Western kept the foot on the gas pedal in true Marshall style to secure the 50-31 win and keep the perfect season alive.
This week's ballots from our staff (in order after the official listing: Neate Sager, myself, Kevin Garbuio, Jared Book, Andrew Bucholtz):

  1. Laval — 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st. Overall they had 21 of 30 first-place votes, the others going to Western. Jared says, "I had Western #1 last week but felt Laval's win over Montreal was enough to separate them from the pack. I'm not penalizing Montreal much (I had them ahead of Laval last week) for losing to a top team."
  2. Western — 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. It gives me no pleasure to put them No. 1, I assure you.
  3. Queen's — 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 3rd. Big game coming this weekend, obviously, but that one has the potential to be like a 20-point blowout.
  4. Montreal — 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 5th. Andrew Buch-ing the trend is more like it.
  5. Calgary — 5th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 4th. The separation between teams is getting more and more clear as the season goes on, as usually happens. Nobody out west has defeated the Dinos this year and with Alberta up next that's not about to change.
  6. Guelph — 6th, 6th, 5th, 6th, 7th. You can tell a lot about a CIS football follower by how close they think Mac and Guelph are in quality, and how certain that person appears to be about that belief.
  7. Saskatchewan — 7th, 8th, 7th, 7th, 6th. I never know where to put them.
  8. Bishop's — 8th, unranked, 9th, 8th, 8th. I said to Neate while kibbitzing over our ballots that the Gaiters have out-Guelphed Guelph this year, with two 1-point wins. The average voter who isn't me put them around 8th/9th.
  9. McMaster — unranked, 9th, 8th, unranked, unranked. Are still the owners of the toughest schedule so far in CIS football, definitely higher than Guelph (12th) and Queen's (16th) and Western (26th). This does not mean they are better (or even as good) as those teams, but it cannot be ignored either, no matter if they have three losses.
  10. Manitoba — unranked, unranked, unranked, unranked, 10th. Our No. 10 teams were (in the same order) Windsor, Acadia, Windsor, and McGill. I actually had Windsor 7th, since I am playing the long game apparently. The five of us, one-eighth of the voters, accounted for 40% of Windsor's support and 100% of McGill's.

StFX at Dalhousie
The DAL Tigers defeated the X-Women 3-0 in their game Saturday. Kristy McGregor-Bale scored the first goal at 23:39, Elise Bilodeau scored in the 73rd minute, and Joanna Blodgett scored the third and final goal at 85:18, sealing their victory.


Memorial at UNB
UNB took a 2-1 victory over the Seahawks in their Friday game. Memorial scored early with a goal at 3:57 by Maria Oliver, but Briana Ford connected twice for UNB at 39:50 and 47:23.


Memorial at Moncton
After losing 2-1 to UNB, the Seahawks came back to take a 1-0 victory over the Aigles Bleus. Jane Pope scored the only goal of the game at 64:19.

SMU at Cape Breton
It was a big loss for the Huskies: 9-0 at the hands of Capers. Two goals came in the first seven minutes, then Karolyn Blain scored the next three goals all before the half. Stacey Elliot scored in minute 55, followed six minutes later by Tiffany Johnson, 13 more by Allie MacIntyre, and finally Jessica Furtado in the 75th.

The Huskies have now allowed twice as many goals (24) as the next-highest team (MtA with 12).

Mount Allison at StFX
The Mounties and X-Women came out of their game with a 0-0 score, presumably to help keep the AUS scoring average down after that last game.

Dalhousie at Acadia
The Tigers scraped by with a 1-0 win against the Axewomen, with Victoria Parkinson scoring late into the game in minute 88.

Memorial at Mount Allison
The Seahawks took their second victory of the weekend against the Mount Allison Mounties, 2-1. The game was scoreless until 55:48 when Jana Gordon scored with an assist from Noelle Stanford. Mount Allison scored at 63:33 with a goal by Megan Entwistle, assisted by Cassie Suche. And then Memorial sealed their victory with a goal in minute 90 by Jane Pope.

Saint Mary’s at StFX
It was a 2-1 victory for the X-Women vs. the Huskies. StFX’s Brittany Parks scored less than two minutes into the game, a lead that would last less than 10 minutes until Kara Slawter tied the game at 11:38. The Huskies were almost able to keep it there until StFX’s Melanie Sunada scored the game-winning goal at 89:36.

UNB at Acadia
The final game of the weekend took place at Acadia where the Axewomen were able to take a 4-0 victory over the Varsity Reds. Meghan Earle scored at 26:00, followed by Kathleen Ross in minute 32, Alana Fairfax in the 60th, and Kathleen Ross.
Our latest update on the happenings in AUS men's soccer...


StFX at Dalhousie
The Tigers defeated the X-Men 2-0. DAL’s Bezick Evraire scored two seconds into the game, giving them a 1-0 lead, which they'd expand at 67:07 when Nathan Rogers scored the second. The game saw 25 fouls and six yellow cards.


Memorial at UNB
The Varsity Reds took a 2-0 victory over the Seahawks on Friday. Marcus Lees scored at 13:10, followed by a second and final goal scored by Diego Padhilha at 69:30.


Memorial at Moncton
Memorial took a second loss in the second game of their three-game weekend. It was a promising start for the Seahawks, with Stefan Slaney scoring first at 36:13, but they were unable to hold the lead and Moncton’s Kouame Ouattara scored at 82:38 and his teammate Amadou Fall scored in stoppage time, taking a 2-1 victory.

Saint Mary’s at Cape Breton
The SMU Huskies and CBU Capers tied 1-1 on Saturday. CBU’s Ian Greedy scored off a penalty shot in the 34th minute, Rodrigo Faria De Carvalho scored off a free-kick a minute later.

Dalhousie at Acadia
The Acadia Axemen took a 2-0 victory over the DAL Tigers. Erik Merchant scored 56 minutes into the game, and 11 minutes later teammate Matthew Berrigan scored, giving the Tigers their second victory.

Mount Allison at StFX
The Mounties took a 4-1 loss to the X-Men. Natneal Tecle scored nine minutes in for StFX and another goal wasn’t scored until the second half, 45:54, by Jordan Roberts. MtA’s Federico Mara scored at 63:44, but it would be their only goal.

James Fitzpatrick scored at 63:52, and Mitchell George scored StFX’s fourth and final goal in the 83rd minute.


Memorial at Mount Allison
The Seahawks and Mounties tied 2-2. Mount Allison’s Connor McCumber scored at 1:20, followed by Memorial’s Jordi Slaney scoring at 44:55 off a penalty kick. In the second half Stefan Slaney scored at 71:57 with a direct freekick, and ten minutes later Kevin Seely scored for Mount Allison with a looping shot over the goalie.

Saint Mary’s at StFX
StFX took a 1-0 victory over the SMU Huskies. Natneal Tecle scored the only goal of the game at 64:30.

UNB at Acadia
The Varsity Reds and Axemen tied 1-1 on Sunday. UNB’s Oliver Jones scored their only goal 17 minutes into the game. The Reds kept the lead until minute 74 when Cochrane Noseworthy-Smith scored, tying the game.
Yes, I know it's prime CIS football and soccer season, but the AUS men's hockey teams started their preseason play this week and fans got their first looks at the new recruits.

But first, off the ice, we now have not one, but three separate AUS bids to host the 2015 & 2016 CIS University Cup tournaments. StFX and Saint Mary's earlier in the summer had announced a novel joint bid that would see all games played at the Halifax Metro Centre (a two hour drive from Antigonish) with the X-Men acting as the host team one year and the Huskies as host the other year. Then this week came news that Acadia was also bidding for the same years and they were also looking to host the games at the Metro Centre (an hour from Wolfville). So a win-win for Halifax. Then on Friday came the surprise news that UPEI was also putting in a bid to host the tournament at the rechristened Charlottetown civic centre - EastLink Centre. You get the feeling that the AUS really, really want to host the University Cup ... or four teams are looking for a route to the championship that doesn't involve getting past UNB on the ice.

Speaking of the anti-UNB crowd, this season will indeed see the implementation of the new roster caps in the AUS: 22 skaters and unlimited goalies. There is no injured reserve, so if I player suffers a season-ending injury, you're sh!t out of luck. The rosters have to be locked down opening night, so there may be several players, enrolled in classes and playing exhibition games now, who may not find out until October 18 whether they will make the official season roster or not. You also have to expect that many, or all, of the AUS coaches may want to keep one or two spots open for Christmas recruits as well - for those players who discover riding the buses, and benches, in the ECHL may not be worth forfeiting their Major Junior education packages and that they want to play in the AUS after all.

Oh, and that ongoing CIS investigation of the Dalhousie men's hockey program? Surprisingly, still not finished, despite the rumours of player payments outside of the acceptable Athletic Financial Awards have been pretty widely reported in Halifax. You would have thought the CIS would have dropped their report on some Friday in July or August, but now it looks like it will have to be released during this season, if ever.

Turning to the games on-ice,  Monday saw UNB travel to the Acadian Peninsula t the village of Cocagne to play Moncton. Les Aigles Bleus scored first, but the V-Reds took advantage of their special teams to notch two on the power play and a shorty for the 4-2 win.

On Thursday UPEI was in Fredericton to play the new-look Tommies. While they didn't win, new head coach Pat Powers had STU playing a structured system that kept them in the game against the speedy Panthers, despite the 2-1 loss. After the win UPEI hopped back on their bus and travelled overnight to Trois-Rivières, QC to play in the Patriotes Tournament.

Moncton also bused to Trois-Rivières, and they played Ottawa in the tourney's afternoon game Friday, losing 4-3 to the Gee-Gees. Friday evening UPEI took on host UQTR and managed a 4-3 OT win with Chris Desousa notching the winner, his second of the game. Saturday Ottawa was the winner again, 3-1 over UPEI, while in the evening match overtime was cruel to les Patriotes again as defenceman Simon Jodoin knocked in his own rebound for the 3-2 UdeM win.

In Fredericton UNB was hosting the OUA's Windsor Lancers in their first-ever visit to the Aitken University Centre for the V-Reds annual Fall Classic invitational. Friday night was a 5-0 UNB win, but the game was close for two periods with the score 2-0 going into the third period. Saturday saw the Lancers exhibit more jump, scoring early in both the first and second periods and chasing rookie UNB goalie Joel Vienneau before carrying a lead into the third. Despite extending their lead to 4-2, Windsor was not able to deal with the UNB push-back, and the V-Reds went on to score three unanswered goals for a 5-4 come from behind win.  Thomas Nesbitt made a strong case to stay on the right wing of UNB's first line with University Cup MVP Tyler Carroll and team captain Chris Culligan, scoring twice and adding four assists in the two games.

There was hockey in Nova Scotia as well, as the four Bluenose teams congregated for the weekend in Wolfville for the Don Wells Memorial tournament. In a bit of surprise Saturday afternoon, Dalhousie beat their Halifax Forum roommates Saint Mary's 5-3. In the evening game the host Axemen lost 3-1 to the X-Men. On Sunday afternoon in the tourney championship final Dal's Andrew Wigginton scored his third goal of the game in overtime for the 4-3 win over StFX. The evening consolation final ended in a rare 4-4 overtime tie between SMU and Acadia, as the decision was made to halt the game after first-year Huskies forward Cameron Wind was taken off in a stretcher after an incident on the ice.

This week sees UNB travel to Maine for a Wednesday afternoon game against the Portland Pirates, the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, at their practice facility in Saco. The V-Reds are back home Friday night to host the Carleton Ravens. Also on Friday, the Brock Badgers will be playing Saint Mary's, STU is playing StFX in New Glasgow, NS and Dal is at UPEI.

On Saturday Carleton stays in Fredericton to play the Tommies while Moncton will be in Berwick, NS to play Acadia.
Neither the Carabins nor the host Rouge et Or looked Vanier-worthy on Sunday. But they only had to beat each other.

Laval continued their run-heavy attack, gaining 200 on the ground and more yards rushing than passing, each for the third time in four games. It was enough to win, 16 to 9, in a weird but fun game in Quebec City.

The first half only occasionally resembled football. No offensive points were scored and neither team had a first down inside their opponent's 35.

Laval conceded a safety on their first drive, then Montreal conceded two of their own after being on the wrong end of some deep punts. (Both times they could have conceded the single on the return and moved out from their goalposts, saving themselves two points directly and even more points based on maintaining possession, but no matter.) Then Boris Bede, perfect on the year on field goals but not having attempted one longer than 29 yards, missed one from 37. Antoine Pruneau took it back all the way, 119 yards, on what was—easily—the only exciting play of the first 30 minutes. Montreal had a 9-4 lead at the half.

It was fairly even at that point but didn't seem like it would be that way for very long. Even after the first quarter, the Rouge et Or had taken control of the game. Late in the third, Laval drove 55 yards almost to the Montreal end zone. But running back Pascal Lochard fumbled inside the 5 and Montreal recovered. Proving that you don't get to a 9-4 score after 43 minutes of football unless both teams are making mistakes, though, les Carabins gave it right back on a blocked punt. A quick TD followed, and Laval missed the two-point conversion.

We stayed at 10-9 for almost a full quarter more while the teams exchanged perfunctory punts. Carabins fans would say the refs gave Laval a gift by not calling a blatant pass interference on a deep pass with about four minutes left in the game; neutral observers would ... well, also say the refs gave Laval a gift. That eventually led to the Carabins' being pinned on their 2 and a broken play where Gabriel Cousineau sidearmed the ball right into a defender's arms.

Predictably, a touchdown followed that near-pick-six. Laval went for two again and missed again, likely thinking it was worth it to ice the game with a nine-point lead and 2:05 left. Others may think that the blue guys who have failed to register even one offensive point in the first 58 minutes might not get nine points in the last two, so you might as well force them to go for two on their touchdown, should they get one.

The Carabins' apparent game plan of "lots of long passes, then lots more" was not very effective. They completed only two passes longer than 20 yards. Many of their 19 incomplete passes were on long balls that landed out of bounds, or 10 yards away from the intended target, or on broken plays where Cousineau was merely desperate to avoid a sack. Or, for that matter, all three at once. He only connected with a receiver three times in the entire second quarter, all on the last drive of the half.

It wasn't the best game out of either side, though it was entertaining. Past Laval games have frequently featured one team at far from their best, the other team not needing to be at their best, and little to no entertainment at all. This was preferable.
This week's ballots from our staff (in order after the official listing: Neate Sager, myself, Andrew Bucholtz):

  1. Laval — You know them. The schedulers did us all a favour with Mac-Guelph on Saturday afternoon but Laval-Montreal on Sunday instead.
  2. Western — 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. You know them, too.
  3. Queen's — 3rd, 3rd, 3rd. The CIS Blog cabal (there is no cabal) will brook no dissent among its UFRC voters.
  4. Montreal — 4th, 4th, 5th. Case in point. This is obviously unacceptable. Pure Western bias from Bucholtz, who after all shares a first name with the Calgary QB. (What else do they share? We don't know. He won't say.)
  5. Calgary — 5th, 6th, 4th. Really, though, it's impossible to know where the Dinos stand vs. eastern teams this year. They are the best in their conference, but one does not need a vote to divine this.
  6. Guelph — 6th, 5th, 6th. Already have two wins by more than a touchdown in three games, after just 3 of 10 last year.
  7. Saskatchewan — 7th, 7th, 7th. We're out of the top six and have yet to see one of us go more than one spot off the voters' consensus. This often happens in these sorts of votes — the reason being, honestly, that nobody really knows what's going on.
  8. Manitoba — 10th, 10th, 8th. It's not quite right to call their game at Calgary this weekend a must-win. Even if they win it, they'd have to match the Dinos W for W the rest of the way to avoid going back there in the playoffs. They have to beat Calgary in November, not September.
  9. McMaster — 8th, 8th, unranked. Fun fact, by which I mean not all that fun and barely a fact: Mac's SRS after four games is +10.7, Guelph's +10.9. That doesn't mean UG homecoming will necessarily be that close but it would definitely make up for the nationally-televised pounding Mac absorbed from the powerful purple ponies at the juiced Joyce joint. (Sorry, I slipped into my Frid St. accent for a bit there.)
  10. Bishop's — unranked, unranked, 10th. Bucholtz ... buch ... book ... brook ... Sherbrooke. You can't make this stuff up. Andrew probably donated to pro-municipal amalgamation causes, too.
The Atlantic University Sport men’s soccer teams had a double-header weekend with teams travelling across the Maritimes, playing with the end-goal of reaching the top four spots in the conference. Let’s see how the men did …


Moncton at Saint Mary’s
Maxime Daigle scored the only goal of the game at 29:00 as Moncton won 1-0. He and two teammates were also carded in the second half.


Acadia at StFX
The Axemen took on the X-Men on Saturday, coming out of the game with a 1-0 loss. X-Man Mark Harpur scored an unassisted goal at 62:43, giving the men a 1-0 victory. It was a somewhat heated game as eight yellow cards were handed out, balanced at 4 for each team.

Dalhousie at Saint Mary’s
It was a 2-0 victory for Saint Mary’s with Thierno Diop scoring in the 24th minute and Danny Bachar in the 90th, solidifying their victory. Both SMU goal-scorers were also carded.

Adam Miller picked up the shutout in this one, a category in which he was second in the league last season, beat out for top spot the last game by UNB's Aaron McMurray.

Mount Allison at UNB
The V-Reds defeated the Mounties 3-0. Marcus Lees, one of UNB's rookies, scored two of the goals for the Reds at 13:09 off a penalty kick and 79:22 with an unassisted goal. The third was by Benjamin Law – the tenth of his career with the Reds – off a corner kick.

There were no goals scored in this game, and only one card to speak of: a yellow to UPEI's Eric Da Silva.


Acadia at Cape Breton
The Axemen were unable to secure a victory this time and lost 3-0. All three goals for the Capers were unassisted, with Mark Steward scoring in the 28th minute, followed four minutes later by Ian Greedy.

CBU didn’t score again until the 77th minute with Greedy's second of the game by. Acadia picked up two more yellow cards on the weekend, given to Cory Cadeau and Jereme Shabani.

Dalhousie at Mount Allison
It was a 2-1 victory for the Tigers after Nathan Rogers scored at 2:37 and Will Wright followed nine minutes later. Mount A looked to be making a comeback with Federico Mora’s goal at 13:27, but they were unable to put the ball in the back of the net again. Only one yellow card was given out during the game, to Rodgers in the 77th minute.

Moncton at UNB
The Aigles Bleus defeated the Reds 1-0 after Philippe DeGrave scored 38 seconds into the game, an early lead which they held for the rest of the game. DeGrave scored after Amadou Bamba brought the ball up the field and passed it to Christian Yapi, who in turn crossed an easy ball through the UNB defence allowing DeGrace to tap it into the corner of the net past McMurray.

Three yellow cards were handed to UdeM, including Amandou Fall, Mehyar Zekaroui and Christian Yapi. One went to UNB’s Victor Karosan.

With the win, Moncton remains the only undefeated team in AUS play, and one of two teams to allow just one goal in their first four games.

The X-Men came out strong and took a 3-0 victory over the UPEI Panthers. Although a 0-0 game through the first 35 minutes, Ryan Aashlee kicked it into the back of UPEI’s net at 35:11 with an assist from Randy Ribiero. Another goal wasn’t scored until 62:55 by Michael Tait and then near the end of the game Pieter Heerschop picked up the final StFX goal.
Here are our ballots (in order after the official listing: Neate Sager, myself, Kevin Garbuio):

  1. Laval — Take a guess.
  2. Queen’s — 3rd, 3rd, 4th. This set of votes along with the next one are minimally amusing...
  3. Western — 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. We seem to like the Mustangs more. Are we overreacting to one game?
  4. Montreal — 4th, 4th, 3rd. Beat a top 10 team! Well, sort of.
  5. Calgary — 5th, 6th, 6th. A consensus of sorts begins to emerge among our staff. Actually have a lower point differential than Manitoba, for what that's worth.
  6. Saskatchewan — 6th, 7th, 5th. Quite close to losing that game Saturday but still a talented team as Kevin observed.
  7. Guelph — 7th, 5th, 7th. Probably would have moved up if they had played (and won) this past week, in the middle of the slight OUA shakeup.
  8. Manitoba — 8th, 9th, 9th. Are we going to get any dissension here? Come on, fellow voters!
  9. McMaster — 9th, 8th, 9th. Is Jared's middle name "Prescient"? They're one spot ahead of an AUS team now. "Remember Dad, all glory is fleeting."
  10. Saint Mary's — unranked by all of us. I put Windsor 10th as a pure hunch.
Kevin Garbuio looks at this week's exciting Saskatchewan/Manitoba game.

While most of CIS football deals with a parity issue, Canada West has proved to be the most competitive conference so far. The CanWest game of the week featured a potential Hardy Bowl matchup with the Saskatchewan Huskies visiting the Manitoba Bisons and edging out a 36-34 victory at the state of the art Investors Group Field.

Both teams are interesting on paper this year, especially at QB. Drew Burko might be the best pure passer in the CIS and he is only in his second year while Manitoba has a great playmaker in former CJFL star Jordan Yantz. When young quarterbacks play, it is normal to see the players look to hit checkdowns and pass up deep throws. These two are not afraid to air it out and both showed that they can be elite.

What was most impressive was how they each used the entire field. Yantz showed his ability to hit the 12- to 15-yard seam and took advantage of a banged-up Mark Ingram in the Huskie secondary. The heralded rookie showed his composure leading the Bisons back from being down 12 to give them the lead. He finished the game 25-for-41 passing with a cool 377 yards passing for 2 TDs, and also chipped in with 53 on the ground. Not bad for only his second CIS game. His 66-yard bomb to Anthony Coombs late in the 4th was particularly impressive.

Nonetheless, the story of this game offensively had to be Drew Burko.

Burko over the first two games seems to be building a nice case for the conference’s Hec Crighton candidacy. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns. HIs ability to make quick reads but still trust his arm to stretch the field was what stood out. He was only sacked twice and while the offensive line certainly deserves its fair share of the credit for keeping their passer clean, Burko does not hold the ball long and makes great decisions. Sometimes players rely too much on their intangibles and that hubris can lead to mistakes. Burko, again, makes quick correct decisions, that at the very least, keep his team in games.

Last year, Burko and Kit Hillis were a top tandem in CanWest football but fifth-year wideout Mitch Stevens has been his go to especially when it comes to dialing up touchdowns. Stevens already has four touchdowns this season and scored a 68 yarder in this game.

Both teams had their fair share of success passing the ball but the running backs both chipped in with positive games. Shane Buchanan finished with 100 yards on the ground for the Huskies along with a 46-yard TD. That score came off a beautifully executed draw play, a play the Huskies executed later for a 21-yard gain. On the other side, Coombs (Shaw's Jim Mullin Hec favourite) had another standout performance with 85 yards rushing and 117 receiving.

The game certainly had its drama at the end with Manitoba up one. Saskatchewan was stopped on the one-yard line and turned the ball over on downs with only 1:08 remaining on the clock. Manitoba wisely ran the ball on the first play but then on 2nd down decided to pass, which was incomplete. This forced a punt from the Bison 1. With only 18 seconds remaining on the clock, Denton Kolodzinski, already 4 for 4, capped his day with a 40-yard field goal to send the Huskies home with the narrow win. 

These teams face each other again in Saskatoon on October 18th.
HAMILTON, Ont. — Those who thought the Marauders were better than they showed in their Week 2 loss to Queen's are probably reconsidering that theory after Week 3.

McMaster dropped their second game in a row to a OUA rival, and this one wasn't even close to being close. "Western 58, McMaster 15" is what remained on the scoreboard at the end, but it felt like it was always that lopsided for most of the second half.

Early on, though, it was nearly, almost, kind of close. Counting total offence from scrimmage as well as kick and punt returns, the yardage was 348 to 333 for Mac at halftime, despite the 31-9 deficit. But it was clear that the game was getting away from the home side even before they went down 17-6 or 24-6 or by whatever multiple-touchdown lead you want to use.

QB Will Finch faced some pressure from the Mac blitz in the first, and nearly none at all after that — the biggest anchors weighing down their passing plays were dropped and/or slightly overthrown balls. Finch didn't have a problem finding his targets against a young Mac secondary, notably the electric George Johnson (9 catches, 224 yards, 2 TDs). Once the 'Stangs squared that small problem away, it was difficult to stop them; Finch would end up passing for more than 15 adjusted net yards per attempt, nearly three times that of his counterpart Marshall Ferguson. (My notebook is full of "not covered well by Mac.")

And even when Mac gained yards in the first quarter, they did themselves in more than Western stopped them. On the first drive their own penalties erased 46 yards of gains, and they settled for a not-so-coincidental 44-yard field goal. The second drive didn't actually happen; the punt returner, rookie Danny Vandervoort, couldn't secure the ball and gave it up to Western on the Mac 21. The third drive was a 2-and-out, gaining only 23 net yards on the punt. It was that kind of day.

It's hard to argue against Western as the class of the division and perhaps the non-Laval CIS at this point. They have a much more aesthetically-pleasing offence than in 2012 (which isn't saying much, granted) and handled Mac far easier than Queen's did last week. Finch's accuracy is the envy of many quarterbacks in the country, as there were more than a few instances today where no coverage would have resulted in an incomplete. His offensive line gave him more than enough time, neutralizing whatever pressure Mac sent when they blitzed, and letting Finch find the holes in the Joey Cupido and Mike Daly-less coverage when they didn't. In one of the more surprising stats of the day, Ferguson was sacked only once on nearly 50 passing plays — not the total you'd expect from a Mustang defensive line that got through the depleted Mac o-line seemingly at will. And after two games in which they did not really succeed with deep passes, Ferguson and his receivers didn't connect on anything longer than 31 yards, often being swarmed by three Western defenders immediately after a short completion.

(It should also be noted that typically, in these sorts of games, the winning team eases up a bit, but Finch was still in when it was 40-15 and still there at 47-15 midway through the fourth, a quarter in which the Mustangs scored nearly a third of their points.)

Put it this way: scheduling aside, the fewest number of points the Mustangs have scored is 50. The most allowed, 15. At the very least, they're now able to focus their "hated rival" energy solely on Queen's in Week 6, with fellow 519-er Laurier looking worse by the day.

As for McMaster, a 1-2 start isn't the end of the season, with as many as four guaranteed wins left on the schedule. But any playoff success will have to go through one of these teams to whom they've already lost, and likely both of them.
With our final AUS preview here is Kevin Garbuio once again.

Last year: 3-5 season, 4-6 overall, -1.2 SRS
Extra AUS opponent: Acadia
Interlock opponent: Montreal

The Huskies were doomed to fail last year. Perry Marchese was put into a horrible situation that only got worse as the season started. To refresh everyone's memory, SMU fired Steve Sumarah for reasons many of us did not understand, they didn’t have a contingency plan, and that created some huge problems. One was losing blue-chip QB Jesse Mills to Carleton (of course, coached by Sumarah) and another was not being able to recruit. The Huskies struggled to fill out a roster and at times only had 60 serviceable bodies.

The Huskies were given a death blow when quarterback Jack Creighton was severely injured when scrambling for a first down in week one; with no serviceable backup, the Saint Mary’s offence was unable to produce.

This year should have a different look. For one, they were able to have a full recruiting season, but more importantly they have depth at the QB position. Western transfer Ben Rossong looks to be the starter but will be challenged by returning senior Jack Creighton. They also have an explosive tailback with Melvin Abankwah who overtook Jahmeek Taylor as the primary weapon last year. There is a lot to be optimistic about in Halifax this year offensively. Marchese looks like he is trying to establish a run-first identity this season and with capable passers they will actually be able to keep teams honest.

Defensively the Huskies are strong. Their new defensive co-ordinator Marcello Simmons should continue the SMU tradition of having strong D. The Huskies lost Neil King and Kyle Norris to the CFL which leaves two big holes to fill, but they still return nine starters including DE Rob Jubenville and All-Canadian Kayin Marchand-Wright.

I want to say the Huskies need to be able to pass the ball to be successful but I have seen this program win without being able to throw so I’ll end with this: If the Huskies can have an above-replacement-level player at quarterback they could be have home field advantage heading into the playoffs. Their week one match up vs. Acadia on Friday night is a definite must-win as they face Montreal on the road in week two and would most likely be facing an 0-2 start otherwise.
Last year: 7-1 season, 8-2 overall, +2.1 SRS
Extra AUS opponent: SMU
Interlock opponent: Laval

Evan Brown is getting some much-needed experience this coming season as he steps in for former Axemen quarterback Kyle Graves.

Acadia lost a valuable player in Graves, who received the AUS MVP and Loney Bowl Player of the Game, was a Hec Crighton nominee, and signed (albeit briefly) with the Alouettes.

However, anticipate Brown to step in and easily fill the gap. Brown was recruited from CEGEP in 2008 and is in his fifth year of eligibility. Although he has a small arm it is deceiving to opposing teams as it leads him to quick passes, which can work out but not if they face a lot of 2nd-and-long situations.

Defensively, Acadia lost their defensive MVP, Ed McNally, and though their three-time All Canadian DB Cam Wade will be returning to the team, they won't have their DB coach Sean Hall, who left for Carleton.

Although Acadia is taking a hit with the losses of McNally, Graves, and receiver Mike Squires, they are bringing in a fresh, strong line-up. Head coach Jeff Cummings was able to sign players and talent from across the country: receiver and return specialist Kory Morgan (Ottawa), offensive lineman Bauer Negrych (Onapin, Ont.) and defensive back Brandon Jennings (St. Albert, Alta.) represent some of the non-Maritime talent, while some local recruits include QB Kris Brine, DB Josh Sampson, OL Brennan Turner, and REC Andray Brady.

The top recruit to look out for this season will be Shaquille Cezont-Holmes. The 2012 All-New England Team quarterback is joining the Axemen as a receiver after averaging 27.1 yards per return with seven returns of 190 yards, and 21 touchdowns in a single season for Hebron Academy in Maine.
A comment on last week's post said that the Top 10 doesn't really matter, as "Laval will go 9-0 and win their four playoff games to win the Vanier Cup."

I'm happy to report that this is not true: the Quebec schedule is only eight games this year.

...okay, yes, that's still right.

Here are our ballots (in order after the official listing: Neate Sager, myself, Kevin Garbuio, Jared Book). Your official Top 10 is here.

  1. Laval — Pass.
  2. Queen’s — 2nd by all of us except Jared who had them 3rd. I knew I had them too low before they beat McMaster, and while they looked good in that game, they also kind of had no business winning it and I didn't move Mac down a lot as a result (nor did I move Queen's up because of it).
  3. Montreal — 4th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd. Got some credit for beating up on Concordia. I kept them at 5 under the assumption that they should be doing that to Concordia.
  4. Western — 5th, 6th, 5th, 5th. Other times I would suggest that the Western-friendly (or Western-alumni) contingent of voters had their hand in this, with the Mustangs very close to being in third, but this is a good team. Can we please ensure their game on Saturday doesn't take 3 and a half hours? No? Fine.
  5. Calgary — 6th, 4th, 4th, 4th. Closer than they probably would have liked against UBC. We're fairly sure they're the best in the West but not really up to national standards.
  6. McMaster — 3rd, 3rd, 7th, unranked. Jared forgot Mac on his ballot this week and reports he is suitably embarrassed by that. It wouldn't have changed the outcome of the top 10 list anyway. The only way this No. 6 ranking will look silly at the end is if they win the OUA, or come close in the Yates Cup and the OUA champ is competitive or better in the bowl games.
  7. Guelph — 8th, 7th, 6th, unranked. Kevin put Guelph above Mac, warning us not to sleep on the Gryphs.
  8. Saskatchewan — 7th, 9th, 8th, 9th. Back to a near-consensus opinion. The Huskies moved up a spot from last week in the overall rankings, though I dropped them four spots mostly because they got shuffled down, not because of anything they did themselves.
  9. Manitoba — 10th, 8th, 10th, 6th. Scoring 65 is impressive. Allowing 41 (to Alberta) is not.
  10. Bishop's — 9th, unranked, unranked, 8th. Wouldn't be on here if Sherbrooke got another two points. Ah, the instability of the 10 spot.
Continuing with our AUS previews, here's Kevin Garbuio on St. F-X.

Last year: 1-7 (ignoring forfeitures), -27.2 SRS
Extra AUS opponent: Mount Allison
Interlock opponent: Concordia

I have been the biggest supporter of X over the past few years, writing about their athleticism and how they are a team on the rise, and year after year they make me look like a liar.

A big reason, or the biggest reason, has been their coaching which has been horrible. Defensively, they didn't align properly and were put into positions to fail. People can’t blame the players when the scheme is flawed. The linebackers lined up too close to the line of scrimmage which made them unable to defend the toss; also, they never adjusted to the fullback which left them outmanned at the point of attack on most run plays.

The X-Men hope to rectify this problem by bringing in Bob Mullen, the former Golden Gael coach. If Mullen can stabilize the defence and align his players correctly, X should see significant improvement.

On offence, they promoted former Acadia offensive coordinator Josh Lambert. Lambert has a few players to work with, one of which is receiver Devon Bailey. The fourth year wideout is poised to have a big year and is seen as a top prospect entering this year's CFL draft and is probably Lambert’s best prospect since Matt Carter and Ivan Birungi during his Air Acadia days. Beside Bailey are Jordan Catterall and Randy Roseway, two of the most explosive players in the AUS. At tailback they have Ashton Dickson who had six rushing touchdowns last year, one off the conference lead.

The big question mark for X is at quarterback. Last year Clay Masikewich struggled at times and was not the player they anticipated him being. Masikewich is now in his fifth year and with former prospect Tivon Cook entering his second year on the team it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cook getting the bulk of the snaps if the veteran fails early. (Also of note: Cook took over the OC job from Lambert this summer for the Huronia Stallions of the OFC.)

I have been almost a fanboy over the past few years when it comes to X. They have produced elite level talent like the Muamba brothers and Akeem Foster but when it comes to wins and losses there has been less success. Head coach Gary Waterman is now entering his fifth year and hasn't delivered. In his first year he lost in the Loney Bowl on a missed field goal in the closing moments. Since then the team has struggled immensely, being outscored 37-15 on average. This could be Waterman’s final year if the team fails to make the finals.

If X can put it together they have a shot of making it to the Loney Bowl, but then again, I did have them as Loney-bound last year so who knows with this squad.
Our AUS previews begin today. First up, Kevin Garbuio looks at Mount A.

Last year: 3-5 season, 3-6 overall, -25.3 SRS
Extra AUS opponent: St. F-X
Interlock opponent: McGill

Mount Allison returns plenty of starters on both sides of the ball and that certainly is a reason for optimism. The Mounties should be excited about this season due to their soft schedule. While Acadia and Saint Mary's potentially will start the season 0-2, there is a legitimate reason to believe the Mounties will be 2-0 going into week three. They have played X extremely tough the last few seasons and face a beat up McGill team in week 2. The magic number for making the playoffs in the AUS is usually three wins so a 2-0 start will obviously help.

The Mounties return 11 starters on offence, the most impressive of which is standout tailback Jordan Botel who averaged 110 yards per game last year. If the Mounties hope to be successful in 2013, Botel needs to be equal to what he was in his rookie season (he was a rookie in the CIS but due to his time in the CJFL he was not eligible for any rookie of the year awards). Starting QB Brandon Leyh needs to step up his production this year; he had 878 yards passing with only three touchdowns. While he had just three interceptions he needs to be able to produce points.

On defence the team returns nine starters. Jacob LeBlanc, the defensive tackle, has really emerged as the face of the program since the graduation of Gary Ross. The team needs to be stronger this year on defence especially against the stronger opponents if they hope to be successful. Mount Allison had issues in coverage last year. Donovan Saunders will have to translate his athleticism from returner to defensive back.

The issue for the Mounties is that they don’t have the athleticism to keep up with the top teams in the conference. Head coach Kelly Jeffrey is one of the most innovative coaches in the conference and always manages to get his skill players the ball, but can only do so much. Even with a large number of returning players it would be stretch to think the Mounties would be in the Loney Bowl but stranger things have happened. At the very least a winning season could stick it to those who think the program should fold.
KINGSTON, Ont. — Not a bad return home for Marshall Ferguson. The guy following The Guy at McMaster threw five touchdowns through the air on Monday. The slightly problematic part for McMaster was that two went to Yellow Guy Yann Dika-Balotoken, whose pair of pick-sixes helped the No. 2 Queen's Golden Gaels eke by 31-24 to snap the Marauders' 19-game OUA win streak.

The result makes determining who rules the OUA problematic, but that judgement isn't due for another 10 weeks. Queen's scarcely resembled a second-ranked team, as it nearly gave up a 21-point lead in a flashback to last November's Meltdown at Moo U vs. Guelph in the semifinal. Matt Webster came up with Queen's sixth takeaway by picking off a deep ball to end McMaster's penultimate drive with 60 seconds left.

"Gritty and amazing are probably the two words that just come to my mind," Queen's defensive tackle John Miniaci said moments after Mac's last-ditch bid to re-enact the River City Relay fell about 30 yards short. "It wasn't pretty but we'll definitely take it. It was a sweet feeling, finally coming out on top against these guys. That being said, we have to take it with a grain of salt. We have a lot of work to do. The defence came to play. Yann scored two touchdowns. He put the game on his back right there."

The result was right in line with critical Week 2 games each team played during their Vanier Cup years. The Marauders' most recent regular-season loss was in Week 2 of 2011 at Western before they ran the table. In '09, Queen's defence also had to singlehandedly pull out an 8-7 win over the Marauders.

"It's been a while since we've beat them and that was actually our mindset going in," said Dika-Balotoken. "We can't let those guys control the OUA any more. We have to take a stand and that's exactly what we did. We were able to capitalize on those two plays."

McMaster outgained Queen's 495-217 for the day and had 33:11 in possession time, with Ferguson going 36-of-57 for 446 with three TDs and three picks. Sensational rookie receiver Daniel Vandervoort (172 yards on seven catches, including a 73-yard TD) nearly outgained the entire Gaels offence. Thirteen penalties for 140 yards to seven flags for 35 against Queen's helped paint a picture of a game that Mac probably lost more than Queen's won. It took itself out of field-goal range with three consecutive flags in the final minute of the first half. In the fourth, following a sack and forced fumble on Queen's QB Billy McPhee (14-of-29, 114 yards), it took a penalty for interference on a loose ball.

"Odd game," said McMaster coach Stefan Ptaszek, whose team hung in despite losing fifth-year left tackle Matt Sewell to a left knee injury on his team's fifth offensive snap. "Our kids, I thought, played their hearts out from start to finish. I was happy with the energy. We got beat. We got to be better.

"We went offside and we pushed off on a receiver that we had an interception on [extending a Queen's drive in the first half]. We made mistakes while we were making great plays. The [McPhee] fumble, we pushed the guy while we were chasing the ball and that's an automatic first down. That's kind of the afternoon the Marauders were having. It was a little uphill and against the wind at times.

"This is a team that hasn't had to deal with a lot of adversity lately," Ptaszek added. "Certainly, down 21 in the fourth, they did well to bring it back. If Benny O'Connor breaks one more tackle [on the last play of the game], it could be a circus."

For Mac, it might not have been a bad game in the long run. Speaking of long runs, how about Dika-Balotoken's two interception-return touchdowns. Down 14-7 early in the third, Mac was in the red zone when Josh Vandeweerd's attempt at a diving catch led to the ball hopping up like the family cat to Dika-Balotoken, who took it 99 yards to open a two-TD spread. The second came when Mac was backed up into second-and-long by a holding penalty early in the fourth. Ferguson, under a heavy rush, scrambled right and tried to channel Kyle Quinlan. Dika-Balotoken, with deep coverage duty, high-pointed the ball and flew down the sideline to put Queen's up 31-10.

"The first one was a surprise, but easy to catch," Dika-Balotoken said. "It was bouncing around and I was there. I owe the second one to the D-line. They had extreme pressure."

"First one was fluky," said Ferguson, a Kingston native, said. "Second one was just trying to make a safe play while out of the pocket, trying to make a safe throw high and way [toward the sideline]. I didn't see that high safety flying down and he made a great play. Third one [Webster's with 1:00 left] was me trying to make a play. It was crunch time and we were letting it fly. I don't feel bad about it."

So what to make of it? Queen's survived to get to 2-0 despite a foundering offence. It was rather kismet that its only offensive touchdown came when Doug Corby fell on Jesse Andrews' goal-line fumble in the second, capping an 88-yard drive rather awkwardly. Queen's, which is going backfield by committee with Andrews, former 1,000-yard man Ryan Granberg and Savannah State transfer Daniel Heslop, couldn't chew clock in the fourth quarter. It did take four minutes off in the fourth quarter, but it needed Corby's 51-yard kickoff return as a stake.

At the same time, it was a Week 2 game in muggy conditions.

"I was happy to get it, but I have to be honest, I would have liked to have done it more convincingly," Queen's coach Pat Sheahan said. "It didn't unravel but it felt like our guys were hanging on. I think the last two series, [slotback] Justin Chapdelaine went out and played corner. That's something he hasn't done since W.J. Mouat high school in Abbotsford, B.C., but he didn't bat an eye to do it. We had guys who were tired. [Defensive all-stars Sam] Sabourin and [Andrew] Lue had to come out of the game.

Queen's did beat a team who is still quality. It also got a leg up for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but it will need more offence to get by Austin Kennedy and Windsor on Saturday. Meantime, Mac showed it might not have dropped that far.

"Mac still has their key pieces in place," Miniaci said. "Kyle Quinlan was a major X factor for them. But they have a phenomenal coaching staff and even though they have new guys in, particularly on their offensive line, those are still third-year guys. It's still an older team, not true freshmen and rookies.

"As for us, what it comes down is you can still play like you're last in the league, At times we didn't play true to our ranking and it showed. Against a good team like this they will make you pay for it, as they did in certain situations today."

If nothing else, it could be a very good prologue for a rematch in November. Ptaszek said it was "real special" that Marshall Ferguson, a great understudy to Quinlan in 2011-12, authored a near comeback.

"A good character effort is what I'll take away from this," Ferguson said after his teammates got a warm round of applause from McMaster supporters as they left the field. "Queen's is super talented across the board. Any team at the top of the OUA is going to be like that. To see our guys fight back, that will mean something down to road.

"Nobody expects to go undefeated. You don't work to go 8-0. You work to go 1-0 every week."
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home