The Rouge et Or's and Carabins' season series is essentially a university football take on a Champions League tie -- a two-game total-point series. Laval prevailed 22-19 at CEPSUM on Saturday, returning the favour for Montréal winning 24-21 on their field in September. That means, once they each finish 7-1, home-field advantage for the Dunsmore Cup (and Uteck Bowl, potentially) is going to go to the third tiebreaker: Si toujours à égalité, l'équipe ayant encaissé le plus petit total de points contre elle dans l'ensemble des matchs de la saison régulière. Fewest points conceded. Montréal has yieleded 67, 10 fewer than Laval with 77. The next tiebreaker, in the s
Nevertheless, what Maciocia opted for on third-and-one at Laval's 20-yard line with 20 seconds left all the more confusing. The Carabins left the offence in, and QB Samuel Caron was stopped cold on the line plunge by DT Marc-Andre Ouellet to essentially end the game.
The smart, if not totally stand-up play, would have been to line up in field goal formation, then have the kicker boot the ball through the end zone for a single. Lose by two, but definitively have the first tiebreaker. That was the point of taking the wind in the fourth quarter at the expense of kicking off in each half, right? To have the wind in case it came down to a kick? And then you don't kick?
The vote was getting too easy. Laval has the most recent win in the Battle of Quebec, so it should be No. 1. Western won by 51 and Calgary won by 57, but the Mustangs beat a better team, so there's your 3-4 slots. A three-spot drop by Regina seems justifiable.
- Laval Rouge et Or (5-1 RSEQ, prev. 2, host Bishop's on Sunday): QB Hugo Richard threw two interceptions against the Carabins, but Laval played well enough to win on the field they will likely return to in four weeks for the Dunsmore Cup.
- Montréal Carabins (5-1 RSEQ, prev. 1, host Laval): Running back Sean Thomas Erlington was limited to seven rushes for nine yards on Saturday. That's unheard-of for the Carabins feature back. The upshot is Caron, with little to no rushing phase, was an INT-free 27-of-38 for 304 yards.
- Western Mustangs (6-1 OUA, --, at Ottawa): Beat Laurier by 19 when they were both 4-0. Beat Ottawa by 51 when they were each 5-1. Now they have McMaster at home with both coming in 6-1.
Chris Merchant has found a rhythm with his receivers, and 6-foot-5 former Ottawa RedBlacks draft pick Jamal Kett has rejoined the receiving corps. Actually, he might have been the only Mustangs receiver who did not score during their 68-17 win in Ottawa.
- Calgary Dinos (5-1 CW, prev. 5, host Saskatchewan): Scoring 63 points against Manitoba gets everyone in attendance free frogurt. That's good. Quarterback Jimmy Underdahl is out for the season with a knee injury. That's bad. But they are back in the driver's seat to host the Hardy! That's good. The frogurt is cursed. That's bad.Underdahl with left knee injury probably bad. Non contact. Scramble play. Open field. Plant for cut back. Still down.— Jon (@jonathanwhudson) October 15, 2016So Dinos in playoffs but without Underdahl for season. After crushing Manitoba/Alberta they'll now have freshman QBs as starter/backup.— Jon (@jonathanwhudson) October 15, 2016@UCDinos starting QB,— Casey L Dulson (@Casey_Dulson) October 15, 2016
Jimmy Underdahl went down 2nite. Rookie and fmr @JACFootball Adam Sinagra replaces him.6/9,143 yards, 2TDs.
- Carleton Ravens (5-2 OUA, prev. 6, at Waterloo): Jayde Rowe is exactly 100 yards ahead of Western's Alex Taylor for the rushing title heading into Week 9. Taylor faces McMaster's OUA-leading rush defence, and Rowe is facing Waterloo. How long Carleton exposes Rowe to potential injury will be awfully interesting.
- McMaster Marauders (5-1 OUA, prev. 7, at Western): Should McMaster upset Western next week, they finish first by dint of owning the common-opponent point-differential tiebreaker against Laurier
The Marauders' and Golden Hawks' common foes: Carleton, Guelph, Queen's, Toronto, Waterloo, Western and York. Margin of victory is capped at 33 points. McMaster takes a 6-0 record and plus-163 differential into next week. Laurier is 6-1 and plus-102.
McMaster also comes out ahead in the three-way head-to-head with Carleton and Ottawa.
- Regina Rams (4-2 CW, prev. 4, host UBC on Friday): After weeks of surviving on the margins, the Rams lost 19-18 to heretofore winless Alberta despite a 200-yard edge. Three lost fumbles and three missed field goals, including a 52-yard try on the final play, will do that to a team.
The Golden Bears' Josh Taitinger gets our nod as man of the match, with a fumble recovery with 1:48 left that set up the winning field goal. Taitinger also made a goal-line tackle in the fourth quarter that led to Regina taking the 11-yard field goal to go ahead by two, instead of potentially going up by a converted touchdown.
The Rams' Daniel Scraper erred on two field goals in the first half. Regina took the points twice from Alberta's 10-yard line or closer, and also lost a fumble at the 10. Sometimes those are just the breaks. It probably shouldn't have come down to who would make a kick at the end, but Alberta's Brent Arthur hit the go-ahead kick with 18 seconds left, and Regina's Thomas Huber, couldn't connect from 52 at the buzzer.
Just like that, Regina went from having a shot at home-field advantage to needing to defeat UBC to retain second place.
- Laurier Golden Hawks (6-1 OUA, prev. 9, at Windsor): It was boom or bust on offence against Guelph, where Levondre Gordon had 12 rushes for 193 yards during the 27-25 win. Their defence made just enough plays to seal the win.
Laurier's playoff equation is simple. Defeat Windsor and they get a bye.
- Ottawa Gee-Gees (5-2 OUA, prev. 8, at Queen's): It was never really close against Western, as the scores by quarters attest: 14-0, 38-10, 48-10. The Gee-Gees got stuffed on third-and-one at their own 49 on their first possession and it went downhill apace.
- St. Francis Xavier X-Men (5-1 AUS, --, at Acadia): Just stay healthy for the Mitchell Bowl, X-Men. Kaion Julien-Grant had 230 receiving yards against Saint Mary's. The X-Men defence housed two interceptions, which was two more touchdowns than they permitted.
Unranked team of the week: Alberta (1-5 CW). Of course a D-lineman named Lucky Daniels would recover the fumble that set up the tide-turning touchdown. The Golden Bears defence spent almost 34 minutes on the field, but had the resolve to hold Noah Picton and Co. to one touchdown. Always nice to see a struggling team salvage something from its season. Alberta played better as the game went on, with QB Ben Kopczynski leading an 86-yard drive at the start of the fourth that probably took a toll on the Regina D.
No one is going winless in Canada West. Yay!
No one is going winless in Canada West. Yay!