Football: Week 3 Top 10 tracker; keep calm and Caron as Montréal defeats Laval

The Patriots, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Laval all lost, which makes it a perfect football weekend for at least 48 hours since my beloveds don't play until Monday evening.

 A late Brian Harelimana interception and some vital second-down pickups by Samuel Caron in the final 90 seconds helped Montréal shade Laval 21-16 in the season's first Poll Bowl, as they wiggled out of a tight spot late.
As far as rankings ramifications go, the Quebec heavyweights likely just trade spots, but Calgary's winning margin against Regina might lead to it picking up some first-place votes. The Dinos as well as Western (against McMaster) also defeated ranked teams by cushy margins. Laurier had a scare from Carleton which might restrict its chances of leapfrogging Regina.

That's not necessarily how I plan to vote, but more of an anticipation of how everyone will proceed. The ballot will be released on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ... here is how everyone fared:

  1. Laval (21-16 road loss at No. 2 Montréal) — There were four scoring drives of 80-plus yards in the Battle of Quebec, two apiece. Laval was limited to a 20-yard field goal on one its long marches, and also got held to a chip shot right before the half. There's the difference in the ball game.
  2. Montréal (home win against No. 1 Laval) — Scary thought, is it even close if the Carabins hadn't tripled the< Rouge et Or in penalty yardage (186-55). Caron helped win the day, though, with an efficient 377-yard passing performance (no interceptions or sacks) and he also had more than half of the Carabins' rushing output.
  3. Calgary (46-26 home win against Regina) — How about a fake field goal touchdown to clinch the win? Dinos are coldblooded, after all. That was Hunter Karl completing the receiver hat trick, adding a rushing touchdown on top of a 131-yard, two-TD receiving night.

    Calgary could pick up some No. 2 votes over Laval. The way Adam Sinagra and the Dinos handled their business against Regina looks pretty impressive, especially since they scored three second-half touchdowns and allowed just one.
  4. Western (29-14 road victory at No. 7 McMaster) — Talkin' about re-re-regression. From the tone of the post-game reaction Western won ugly at McMaster, with both teams making an in-game quarterback change that had little effect. Alex Taylor, with 148 receiving-rushing yards, panned out much better than any passer.
  5. Regina (road loss at No. 3 Calgary) — Gaining only 86 yards in the rushing phase against Calgary is rather abject, especially since almost half of that came from quarterback Noah Picton. But why hear it from me when the Rams Twitter gives you such a great bar-graph breakdown of the game stats? I love that they're doing that. Make it catch on nationally.
  6. Laurier (38-35 home win against Carleton) — Having the classic NARBAC (nearly a rout, but all close) win against Carleton should go little to affect how much stock one puts in Laurier. It was a 17-point margin at the three-minute warning, after all, and this time Michael Knevel was the quarterback with the three-score lead late in the game. (No, bringing up the 2016 Yates Cup is never going to get old.) Both of Carleton's subsequent touchdowns came when they were too far behind on the time/score equation.

    Still, Laurier allowed drives of 70, 75, 94 and 61 yards in the fourth quarter. Not great, but it's behind them.
  7. McMaster (home loss against No. 4 Western) — The scoreline is about what one expected, as McMaster's resistance ebbed and the purple pony point machine pulled out of the station eventually. It's not really enough to move McMaster farther down than No. 8, below Saskatchewan, since no one's really emerged as worthy.
  8. Saskatchewan (43-17 home win against Alberta) — At UBC next week and Calgary the week following. They don't necessarily have to win one or both to be convincing, but engaging the last two Canada West champions in some to-the-wire games would be nice to see. As far as this week's vote, Saskatchewan's ceiling could be pretty high, depending on how much McMaster is dropped for losing at home.

    Also, are any of these students' parents even old enough to remember Animal House?
  9. Ottawa (26-17 away victory at York) — On the bright side Ottawa averaged almost 8 yards per tote this week, but barely 5 per aerial attempt (and again, it was against winless York). This was essentially the third one-possession game in a row until Donald Shaw bounced free for a clinching 35-yard touchdown with 40 seconds left.

    Counter-intuitively, it might not be too bad for Ottawa to show it can win on the Michael O'Shea Plan (be good in two of the three phases, grind it out offensively and have Mr. Heavyfoot for a kicker). That tends to have some staying power on into early November. It is a sea change from the various Sacobie-Sinopoli-Colbon-Wendel air shows of the last 12 years or so, minus the Great Double-Wing Experiment of 2012, which like Season 4 of Community, never happened.

    Ottawa cornerback Jamie Harry, who's had some bad luck with injuries, took down two interceptions to help Ottawa survive. 
  10. UBC (32-18 home win against Manitoba) — The concern going forward might be whether UBC receiver/returner Trivel Pinto faces suspension after being ejected in the first half on Saturday. The Thunderbirds, otherwise, lowered their penalty yards to 39 (after 200-plus the week prior) and delivered a much sounder performance altogether. The reality here is UBC is clearly a dangerous outfit, although someone taking it in from a distance might like to see a little more dominance on the scoreboard. I didn't rank them last week and they might get caught in a numbers game, but they'll be shooed in if/when they defeat Saskatchewan at home next week. (Oftentimes with this, it really does come down to when teams play, and where.)
Also in consideration by me and a panel of hillbillies:
  • Waterloo (28-23 home win against Toronto) — Are 3-0 for the first since 2007, although the win streak probably doesn't survive next week's trip to Carleton. The Ravens (1-2) will be motivated and having 441 passing yards against Laurier (even if a lot of was accumulated while playing catch-up) is pretty eye-popping. The dynamism Tre Ford brings to Waterloo's offence might not be so readily available, since Ford was injured on Saturday.

    I voted for Waterloo last week whilst expecting Ottawa would draw into the rankings. There might be a case to flip them after the last two rounds in OUA, The Gee-Gees are ahead on away wins (2-1). Ottawa's victory against Guelph (1-2) increases in value due to the Gryphons' away performances (taking Western to overtime and beating Windsor by an even larger score than Waterloo did).

    Waterloo winding up in a close game against Toronto nixes the "But Their Blowouts" argument.
  • Saint Mary's (40-21 road win against Bishop's) Kaleb Scott threw for a touchdown on Saint Mary's second play of the day. Kaleb Scott threw for a touchdown on Saint Mary's fifth offensive play. Kaleb Scott threw for a touchdown on Saint Mary's 14th offensive play.

    Scott passed for 391 yards with four touchdowns and three picks, while adding another 88 rushing. So basically the kind of game stats you see midway through an 11-hour NCAA 14 binge.
The Top 10 is announced at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday. I'll tweet out my ballot sometime afterward.
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