Football: Calgary improves case for No. 1, Quebec's no-offence weekend; OUA unbeatens Western, Laurier roll; Week 5 Top 10 Tracker

Talk about your all time hot-take starters. The week began with No. 1 Montréal posting an offensive touchdown-less 16-3 win against McGill. Oddly enough, Laval slogged by Concordia 12-8 in Ste-Foy, Que., on Sunday.

Does that make anyone reconsider their support of the Carabins and (update, Sunday 6 p.m.) the Rouge et Or, especially after Calgary hung half-a-hundred on Saskatchewan?

Montréal has been a near-unanimous No. 1 for the past two weeks. They couldn't breach the end zone of a team that gave up 68 points a week earlier against Concordia, and McGill had one fewer day of turnaround. Bad look, Carabins.

So it's a muddle between Calgary and the two Quebec powers, notwithstanding Montréal's head-to-head win against Laval — always the notwithstanding clause with Quebec, eh? If only there was some way to get the trio on the field with Ontario's purple people. At least OUA has a Western-Laurier matchup of unbeatens next week.

Oh right:
Anyway, the final results from the late-ish Satuday

  • Laval survived 12-8 against Concordia, which might lead to downgrading stock on the Rouge et Or whilst also vaulting the Stingers into the Top 10.
  • QB Adam Sinagra didn't finish, but No. 3 Calgary pulled away for to deal No. 10 Saskatchewan its second three-touchdown loss in a row (51-28). For those scoring at home, they have the internet on computers, Grandpa, and the Dinos scoring average actually dipped to 57 points a game. Queen's has 57 points all season.
  • Remember that suspicion No. 6 Regina was overhyped? Manitoba got off the schneid with a two-point win after both Rams kickers missed late field goals that might have forced overtime. So Manitoba erased the zero in the win column, and added a couple to the career tally for Brian Dobie.
    Regina and Saskatchewan play next week so we'll soon know who's more Top 10-worthy. For now, you can just write both team names on a 3x5 file card and throw them down the stairs.
  • While the Rams lost to a winless team, UBC and Western scored an easy 40-something on a pair of winless squads.

Significant action from early Saturday:
  • No. 5 Laurier, in not so few words, has told Waterloo, "no, not yet," with a 71-24 win. The Golden Hawks had a 31-0 run in fewer than nine minutes of football time in the first half, and won comfortably.

    There is probably some unintentional hilarity in the fact Laurier actually beat its point total from last season's match-up against Waterloo. But it's understandable why people, present company included, hope the narrative is supported by events. It really did feel different for the first 27 minutes.
  • No. 8 McMaster really knows how to ruin a Guelph homecoming party, winning 29-9 on the road.  Marauders big man Mark Mackie knocked Gryphons QB James Roberts out of the game on a sack near the end of the second quarter. For the third time in four games, Mac did not allow an offensive touchdown.
  • Saint Mary's scored the winning touchdown with 24 seconds left for a character win, 27-26 win against Mount Allison. Huskies dual threat Kaleb Scott was once again huge — passing for 356, running for 154, and his team overcame a nine-point deficit in the final 2½ minutes of the game. Will voters just keep ignoring SMU?
Ontario should not have more than four ranked teams, unless it is really top heavy (such as 2009, when five teams finished 6-2 or better). McMaster and UBC figure to inch ahead. The last three spots now come down to Concordia, Ottawa, Regina, Saint Mary's and Saskatchewan.

Waterloo has been a nice story and university sports needs those, but now there's the argument they were, like, 55 per cent scheduling anomaly and 45 per cent an improved team. Disclaimer voice: split might factor the second thing.

This post will be updated throughout the weekend as results come in. Here's how I'm leaning.
  1. Montréal (4-0 RSEQ, 16-3 road win against McGill) — Full marks to McGill, of course, for being competitive six days after allowing 68 points against Concordia in three quarters. But it looks bad for Montréal to fail to score an offensive TD against a team that could have given one up to the dean's mother-in-law against the Stingers.

    Montréal's scoring came via a pick-six from Marc-Antoine Dequoyfour safeties and a single on a missed field goal. They were outgained by close to 100 yards and Samuel Caron had only one pass play longer than 20 yards, while also throwing an interception in the score zone.

    It was nearly a reprise of a game last October, when Montréal won 13-0 and its offence didn't score a touchdown. Calgary will play Saskatchewan and UBC before the Carabins play their next game, so the top of some ballots could get revised after all. Rankings-wise one would expect Waterloo drops out
  2. Laval (3-1 RSEQ, 12-8 home win against Concordia) — The good: they drew 12,957 fans whilst competing against a NFL Sunday. The bad: that's a thousand fans per point scored. I have Laval No. 3 and will likely leave them there, since its result says less about them and more about Concordia showing well by taking the Rouge et Or to the wire.
  3. Calgary (3-0 Canada West, 51-28 home win against No. 10 Saskatchewan) — Nothing like taking the ball right back. Calgary rolled after Adam Laurensse intercepted an overthrown pass in Saskatchewan's zone early in the fourth quarter. That mooted a lost fumble by backup QB Josiah Joseph.

    Joseph came on after Sinagra threw an interception that was sandwiched between Saskatchewan touchdowns that reduced Calgary's lead to two points, if only briefly. 
  4. Western (5-0 OUA, 48-10 home win against Queen's) — They won big, and I don't think it's sunk in among the commentariat that this is the weakest Queen's team since it re-joined OUA in 2001. That adds up to the 'Stangs staying above Laurier at No. 4. They haven't shown enough vulnerability to warrant a flip.

    There are couple Colombo-esque questions about how all that Western-ness carries over to playing Laurier at Laurier. The defence had only two sacks, by far the fewest against Queen's so far this year. Will they be able to frequently disrupt Laurier's passing game?

    On the other end of the passing phase, QB Chris Merchant has yet to have an interception-free game; his six picks are the most of any OUA passer whose team is in a playoff position.

    Real talk, though: these guys put up 500 yards just walking out of the tunnel.
  5. Laurier (4-0 OUA, 71-24 road win against No. 9 Waterloo) — At first, most of what the Golden Hawks got off Waterloo came from having more athleticism, such as a 44-yard touchdown Brentyn Hall caught for their second touchdown where he made a high-point catch and broke a tackle.

    The cracks became a chasm after the Warriors were turned over on downs on third-and-two with 2:20 left in the second quarter. Over the next nine minutes in football time, Michael Knevel led three touchdown drives, while Kurleigh Gittens Jr. scored on a sideline-straddling 65-yard punt return on the last play of the first half.

    Laurier will have to clean up some penalty issues ahead of its next unbeaten-versus-unbeaten matchup: Western at home next Saturday.
  6. Regina (2-2 Canada West, 18-16 home loss against Manitoba) — On the margin of a strong first impression, i.e., that Calgary exhibition game and the league opener against UBC, the Rams probably stay in the Top 10. Do they deserve to? It says here they could be dropped entirely to make room for Concordia and Ottawa.

    The overarching takeaway from the final stats is that Manitoba's defence made Noah Picton and Co. one-dimensional. The Rams averaged just 3.2 yards per rush. The lack of a run threat might have helped Manitoba defend in the passing phase, where Picton had three interceptions and zero touchdown passes. Manitoba's Jayden McKoy had two of the picks.
  7. UBC (3-1 Canada West, 41-21 road win against Alberta) — Will move up a spot due to Regina's spiritual depantsing.

    I thought of joking on the first write-through that the Thunderbirds would win by 20 even if Alberta's Ed Ilnicki had a 200-yard rushing performance. Close; the T-Birds won by 20 and Ilnicki bolted for 196 and all three Golden Bears TDs..
  8. McMaster (3-1 OUA, 29-9 road win at Guelph) — The Marauders defence was ridiculous again; it's now allowed five second-half points during the team's three wins. Meantime, frosh QB Jackson White and his offence had no major mistakes. They're not a complete team but are lights-out in two of three phases.

    Mac's first touchdown was a sustained drive where White picked up four second downs. The other was a home run, a 64-yard scoring pass to
    Tommy Nield on the first possession of the second half. 
  9. Waterloo (4-1 OUA, home defeat against No. 5 Laurier) — Well, now we see the colour of the Warriors' money. Andddddddd it appears to have been printed on some sort of cracker.

    Waterloo gave Laurier 26 fairly competitive minutes — the whole of the first half apart from the opening two minutes and the last two minutes. The Lucas McConnell/Tre Ford quarterback rotation is very efficient, a two-man case for why more teams should rotate QBs. One cannot fault anyone for wanting to hype this up, but it wasn't a surprise Laurier made such a statement.

    As far as the playoffs go, Waterloo is still looking decent. 
  10. Saskatchewan (2-2 Canada West, road loss at No. 3 Calgary) — Voters have to weigh Regina's home loss to a heretofore winless team against the Huskies' losing by three TDs in back-to-back road games. What's more damning? Can we go to the Wuss Bets window and just give each team a half a 10th-place vote?

    Saskatchewan scored the most points anyone has managed so far against Calgary. That doesn't mean it was efficient; QB Kyle Siemens netted just 4.1 yards per attempt.  
Also in consideration:
  • Saint Mary's (4-0 AUS, 27-26 road win against Mount Allison) — The term character win reeks of a convenience sample, but Saint Mary's really dug down for the win in Sackville.

    Needing 10 points to win, Saint Mary's kicked a field goal with 1:58 left, taking advantage of the rule change that bars a team from scrimmaging instead of receiving the kickoff after the three-minute warning. Even though the Mounties made a first down before punting, Saint Mary's still got the ball back in plus territory and with 1:10 left.

    On the victory drive, the Huskies had a second and 20 after a holding penalty. Facing zone coverage, Scott completed a wide-side route to Josh Henry, who cut underneath the converging defenders and got the first down, with a roughing-the-passer penalty on the play taking the ball to the Mounties' 10. The winning TD came two plays later.

    The Mounties, who have come from ahead in consecutive one-point losses, could not even catch a break from the home-field timekeeper. Time expired after backup QB Troy Downton completed a pass down to the 30-yard line.
  • Ottawa (4-1 OUA, 39-14 home win against Windsor) — Scored 30 points in the first 16 minutes, then started looking ahead to the Panda Game.

    At this writing, Ottawa is a "safety No. 10 pick": If mash-ups of teams were a thing, Ottawa's defence and Waterloo's offence would be great together.   
  • Concordia (2-2 RSEQ, road loss against Laval) — The offence moved the ball on Montréal and the defence has contained Laval. It's possible that Trenton Miller is guiding the best offence in Quebec.
  • Guelph (2-3 OUA, home loss against McMaster) — Make them the best three-loss team.

    Lose the home opener in double overtime; get weather-delayed 2½ hours and lose in overtime; lose the quarterback during the homecoming game.

    What did Guelph do to so enrage the football gods? Some would say the answer rhymes with Lou Stang.
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