Football: Calgary and Western make statements with decisive road wins, Regina drops 50 on the Huskies; Guelph guts out win

A bold Calgary statement on a cold Friday night. The No. 2-ranked Dinos, on the margin of 21 unanswered in the third quarter, won 31-17 on the road against No. 6 UBC, which could help them cadge a few more first-place votes from idle Montréal. The Dinos received five in last week's poll, and had one two weeks ago.

Here's what I submitted.
Other, greater minds of more refined taste are fortunately on hand to balance out the ballot.

As often happens on UFC cards, the preliminaries were better than the main bout in Ontario. Western is in the driver's seat for home-field advantage through to the Yates Cup. The other games involving teams which received votes this week beggar bullet-pointing.
  • Western was in control throughout against Laurier during a 29-13 road win. That likely leaves the 4-5-6-7 spots unchanged, since the form held for all four teams.
  • The OUA was pushed toward parity thanks to two frantic finishes by teams who had the short end of the scheduling stick.
  • Carleton outlasted Ottawa 33-30 in double overtime in the Panda Game, making it four in a row in the rivalry game, with three decided on the final snap of the ball. The finish was controversial; to say the least.
  • Guelph, behind young QB Theo Landers, defeated Waterloo 53-49 and put itself deeper in the Top 10 mix. Talk about about a tale of two halves. The Gryphons had three first downs and 64 yards in the first 30 minutes. Then they scored 41 across the final 30 minutes. The Gryphons have two overtime losses against teams with winning records and lost quarterback James Roberts during their other defeat. That's enough to warrant a look at No. 9 or 10, if mostly due to a lack of other lead-pipe locks.
  • Saint Mary's continues to leave it to the last minute. A 50-yard touchdown by Lerone Robinson from Kaleb Scott in the final 20 seconds vaulted the eastern Huskies to a homecoming-spoiling 22-21 road win against St. Francis Xavier. 
  • Sayonara, Concordia. The Stingers lost 30-13 at home to Sherbrooke ... losing to a heretofore winless team seems to be happening a lot lately.
Regina will be sticking around for another week after beating Saskatchewan by a junior high school basketball score, 50-40, with Noah Picton doing Noah Picton things. While it was a big fireworks display in the Paris of the Prairies, what it says about the calibre of the teams depends on how much of one or both flavours of green Kool-Aid the observer has consumed since August.

  1. Montréal (4-0 RSEQ, bye week) — The Carabins are not in action this weekend. Then again, neither were the Alouettes, hi-yoooo! (The Calgary Stampeders routed Montreal 59-11 on Friday.)

    As for bye weeks, Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks!

  2. Calgary (5-0 Canada West, 31-17 road win against at No. 6 UBC) — The Dinos are No. 1 as far as Eastern bastard is concerned, especially since they essentially have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on lock, barring several misfortunes.

    The Dinos got their first big night out of Richard Sindani, the receiver who previously starred at Regina and had a look-see from the CFL Stampeders in the pre-season. Sindani (four receptions, 63 yards) was Calgary's third option in the passinig phase, but he made the chunk-yardage catches that set up back-to-back Dinos touchdowns when they surged ahead in the third quarter.

    By the way, you might think you are cool, but you'll never be "Michael Klukas flipping the ball after catching a touchdown on a corner route" cool.
  3. Laval (3-1 RSEQ, 34-0 home win against McGill) — Sus As the calendar flips to October, there is an impetus for Laval to make a big statement by routing McGill by about a bajillion points. But do we really need to see it? It's Laval. They'll have a huge say in how it plays out in the last three weeks of the season. Laval D-halfbacks Kevin McGee and Gabriel Ouellet sat out one-game suspensions after delivering hits to the head against Concordia on Sept. 25.
  4. Western (6-0 OUA, 29-13 road win against No. 5 Laurier) — The running game is still a thing! Western averaged 7.8 yards per tote with Alex Taylor and Cedric Joseph offering the lightning-thunder combo while Chris Merchant put up totals one would have seen in Norman, Okla., circa 1975, with 109 yards passing and 143 rushing. Laurier's Michael Knevel had 317 yards, but it was an empty-calories 300 with a lot of it coming on underneath routes. From the looks it, the 'Stangs defence made Laurier relatively one-dimensional, with defensive back Bleska Kambabma causing the victory-sealing takeaway.
  5. Laurier (4-1 OUA, 29-13 home defeat against No. 4 Western) — The Golden Hawks will probably be No. 5 and holding, since everyone behind them either lost, played lesser competition or doesn't have the overall body of work.

    Extra cold tubs might be in Laurier wideout Kurleigh Gittens Jr.'s future after making 18 receptions for 174 yards. If memory serves, the single-game high of 19 is held by another Golden Hawk, André Talbot, who played in the late 1990s.
  6. UBC (3-2 Canada West, 31-17 home defeat agianst Calgary) — Do the T-Birds get dropped after a decisive home loss against the best team in the country? They probably should hold their spot, since they were competitive in three out of four quarters.

    True, Regina did beat UBC, and Regina's results against Calgary and Saskatchewan are comparable to the Thunderbirds', give and take a few points and where the games were played. But Regina lost last week to winless Manitoba which proceeded to lose at home to winless Alberta. That looks pretty bad. As for UBC's blackout uniforms, those are just bad-ass. Looking ahead, second place in Canada West will likely come down to the Rams-Thunderbirds on Oct. 28. Whoever wins would host the following week.
  7. McMaster (4-1 OUA, 32-2 home win against York) — One Lyons was better than 47 Lions, since Jordan Lyons rushed for 186 yards at 7.4 per tote. And Jackson White had his first 300-yard passing day. Oh, and the Mac defence has now had four full games where it kept the opponents' offence out of the end zone. Maybe that should have been mentioned first.

    McMaster is at Toronto on a short week before Thanksgiving. So is that drive for five? Or five without any drives?
  8. Concordia (2-3 RSEQ, 30-13 loss home loss against Sherbrooke) — Take it away, Sarah McLachlan! I will remember you ... The Stingers will drop out of the rankings after losing against a heretofore winless team. This seems to be happening a lot lately!
  9. Regina (3-2 CW, 50-40 road win against at Saskatchewan.) — Likely to scoot up to the vacant No. 8 spot after rolling up 50 points and 613 yards against their provincial rival. Noah Picton was uber-efficient with 11.0 adjusted net yards / pass, throwing five touchdown passes without giving up an interception or a sack.
    The Rams and the Huskies combined for 90 points, 76 first downs and 1,143 yards, so of course that means embedding a clip of the victory-sealing strip-sack. Okay, fine, one offensive highlight, where Picton showed great self-awareness to throw a touchdown pass an instant before crossing the line of scrimmage on a scramble.
  10. Saint Mary's (5-0 AUS, 22-21 road win against St. Francis Xavier) — The hockey cliché for a player who is getting scoring chances with no goals to show for it is, "all Swedish and no Finnish." The Huskies, once again, found themselves behind on the scoreboard and ahead on the stat sheet late in the game. The culprits? Having an interception inside St. FX's 20 and having a 12-play drive produce only a 20-yard field goal.

    Yet, when faced with needing to cover 97 yards in 86 seconds, they made it happen. The winning TD was an all-or-nothing, since it came on a second-and-12.
With Concordia losing, Guelph should have the inside track on No. 10.
  • Guelph (3-3 OUA, 53-49 road win against Waterloo) — Guelph's been in too many of these, since this is at least the fifth time dating to 2009 that the Gryphons were in a game where the losing team scored at least 39 points. They simply wore out Waterloo through veteran rusher Johnny Augustine (who had one yard at halftime and finished with 91, including the winning 22-yard scoring rush with 23 seconds left) and thrust-into-the-starting-job Theo Landers responding by making plays with his arms and legs. As noted, two of their losses were in overtime and the other was to a decidedly better team.
  • Ottawa (4-2 OUA, 33-30 overtime defeat at home against Carleton) — Given the emotional tumult of Ottawa's week with the death of Loïc Kayembe last weekend, and the reality overtime is a crapshoot, there is a case for giving the Gee-Gees partial credit. Carleton, which got the last-play win on a quarterback keeper by Michael Arruda (who was at the Gee-Gees training camp and left after a week last year — ouch), is better than its record.

    But those who didn't have the Gee-Gees in will say a loss is a loss is a loss.

    Perhaps the hell of it for Ottawa with this latest Panda heartbreaker was that the football cosmos gifted the Gee-Gees with a late break. The reason it went to overtime was because Carleton kicker/punter Michael Domagala flubbed a punt with 20 seconds left and the Ravens up by three after forcing a turnover on downs. That created the opportunity for Ottawa Lewis Ward to force overtime with a 45-yard field goal at the buzzer.

    Then it all reversed in the second mini-game, when a holding call wiped out a touchdown by Ottawa running back Bryce Vieira. Two plays later, Vieira was stacked up trying to leap over the pile. So Ottawa got three points, so Carleton could win with a touchdown instead of needing one to match.  
  • Saskatchewan (2-3 CW, home defeat against Regina.) — The Huskies have been outscored 35-8 in their last two fourth quarters, and they have a 42-15 edge in third quarters. The glass-half-full takeaway from that is this is a well-coached team that makes the halftime adjustments, but might not have the athleticism to sustain it across an entire second half.
  • Waterloo (4-2 OUA, 53-49 home defeat against Guelph) — Waterloo finishes on the road, with a short week before a Thursday game at Queen's, followed by a visit to Ottawa. Their playoff position isn't quite secure and honestly there could be a four-team pile-up of 4-4 squads for the last three spots.

    Not sure how often this happens, but a two-play touchdown drive is still a two-out from the perspective of a defence. Waterloo was fighting the current the whole second half. Guelph got within six points through an 11-play touchdown drive to get within six. Waterloo put in its option wunderkind Tre Ford to shift momentum, which worked too well with Ford completing a 65-yard pass to set up his touchdown on the next play. Guelph went right back out and went 66 yards over seven plays to get right back in striking distance.

    Still, it took until the final 30 seconds for Guelph to get the decisive score.
  • St. Francis Xavier (2-3 AUS, 22-21 home defeat against No. 10 Saint Mary's) — The X-Men blocking group got Jordan Socholotiuk going, as he was a one-man show with 32 rushes for 210 yards. But SMU has Kaleb Scott.

    Please feel feelings for Keiran Burnham, the X-Men punter. Burnham booted a 48-yarder into touch in the final two minutes to pin Saint Mary's.

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