OUA football: Carleton and Western play masterfully, McMaster treats Guelph to a 2-4

Striking power was the story of the day, as Carleton and Western each had pull-away wins in rivalry games.

In front of a Panda Game crowd of 23,329, Carleton defeated Ottawa 43-23. By halftime, when the margin was still eight points, it was evident the Ravens' collective experience and individual talent in the passing phase was going to win the day. Sure enough, Carleton coach Steve Sumarah indulged a taste for the jugular after stalling early in the third. Botteur extraordinaire Mike Domagala flipped a shovel pass to Wilson Birch on a fake punt for a 33-yard gain into the red zone. That set up Nate Behar's second TD catch to stretch the lead to 28-13.

And, of course, Ottawa only ended up with 23 points. Gee-Gees QB Derek Wendel and his receivers were held in check by Carleton's secondary, with cornerback Nathaniel Hamlin delivering an all-star effort. The lack of finish led to the implosion early in the fourth. Normally automatic Lewis Ward was wide left on a 37-yard field goal try. Tunde Adeleke reeled off a 120-yard return touchdown, which, remarkably, is the second time in his career he has housed a missed field goal in the Panda Game.

Western handled Laurier 45-26. It was a seven-point game in the third. George Johnson, the fifth-year receiver, broke off a 54-yard reception. Western only got a field goal out of that, but that was the start of the familiar pattern, where Western starts scoring and over. They scored consecutive touchdowns and were soon ahead by 24.

With McMaster dropping Guelph to 2-4, there are four one-loss teams and five others in contact with the playoff pack heading into Turkey Week. Here's a look at what everyone is looking entering the first full week of October:

1. Western (5-1). Remaining: bye, @Ottawa, McMaster 

Officially rolling, as they go into their bye week riding a 360-yard passing effort from Chris Merchant against a premier OUA defence. (Premier OUA defence? Stop laughing, RSEQ.) 

Defensive lineman Rupert Butcher was injured on Saturday. Western could use a two-gap lineman in November.

t-2. Laurier (4-1). Remaining: @Toronto, Guelph, @Windsor

It probably doesn't feel this way to Laurier at this writing, but they are in a very good spot. They can still finish 7-1. Coach Michael Faulds' team also doesn't have McMaster or Ottawa, the other one-loss teams, which means playoff spots could come down to point differential against common opponents.

The Golden Hawks defence kept Western in check, relatively. That meant that Alex Taylor only had 142 rushing-receiving yards and two TDs.

t-2. Ottawa (4-1). Remaining: York, Western, @Queen's 

The denouement (that means unraveling) for Ottawa was in the third quarter. After that Behar TD, Ottawa took over at their own seven-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff. On second-and-10 play, there was a lot of hand-fighting between Hamlin and fifth-year wideout Mitch Baines. Ultimately, the penalty flag was picked up. Ottawa conceded a safety, costing it time where it could have been scoring points with that mind.

Carleton won the day thoroughly. The point is not that the picked-up flag altered the game; just Ottawa didn't have a response after that call was reversed.

The Gee-Gees were 1-for-5 at scoring touchdowns on irruptions within the Ravens' 35-yard line. Meantime, the Ravens were 4-for-6.

t-2. McMaster (4-1). Remaining: Queen's, @York, @Western

McMaster's ceiling remains 6-2. The reg-season finale at Western will likely have playoff implications for each. Western will have to play it out.

So there will be no cashing in against a team which has sealed first, but there was plenty of Kash in Guelph's backfield on Saturday. All-star D-lineman Mike Kashak had five tackles for loss, and the Marauders limited Guelph to 310 yards during their 27-15 victory. Greg Knox's gang is playing some D.

McMaster (+8) has the tiebreaker advantage over Ottawa (+2) and Carleton (-10), should they all end up either 5-3 or 6-2. However, I believe Carleton would have it over Ottawa, since they won the head-to-head matchup.

5. Carleton (4-2). Remaining: Windsor, bye, @Waterloo

Very impressive in dispatching Ottawa. The Gee-Gees rarely contained Behar (12 recepions for 138 yards). Jayde Rowe tallied 27 rushes for 130 yards without a run of greater than 12.

All four of Carleton's regular receivers bring a distinct quality. It is worth noting that Dexter Brown, who's excellent after the catch and also gives Adeleke a breather on returns, took a big legal hit from Ottawa DB Thomas Carrier in the third quarter.

t-6. Queen's (2-3). Remaining: @McMaster, Windsor, Ottawa 

Legit playoff team, or are they just collecting W's against weaker teams? Queen's has defeated Toronto, which has only defeated York, and rolled against Waterloo.

Waterloo scored in the end zone two times, which is even nicer than having two knives. The TDs came from Tyler Ternowski and Dion Pellerin.

t-6. York (2-3). Remaining: @Ottawa, McMaster, @Guelph 

They have post-Panda Game Ottawa, so there is that. York is in tough. I know of a certain play-by-player who is eager to see Brett Hunchak chuck a football.

t-6. Windsor (2-3). Remaining: @Carleton, @Queen's, Laurier

Logically, they need to win two of three. It's possible there could be some dog-pile of 3-5 teams between Guelph, Queen's and Windsor. That is predicated on Windsor winning at Queen's on Oct. 15, which would give them the head-to-head edge on two traditional playoff teams.

9. Guelph (2-4). Remaining: bye, @Laurier, York

Not only are they 2-4, but No. 1 WR A'dre Fraser went down in the course of the loss to McMaster. That's worse than your frozen yogurt containing potassium benzoate.

Guelph could do the conference convener a friggin' favour by winning out to finish 4-4. They are up against it, though.
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