OUA Week 3: Carleton swoops out of Waterloo with a big win, but Warriors show they're mostly for real

Carleton attained a desirable outcome and Waterloo was faithful to the process — it just didn't show on the scoreboard.

That might be the best way to unpack the Carleton Ravens wresting a last-seconds win against Waterloo which might be the difference between the Ravens (2-1) hosting a playoff game  and being a playoff bubble team. Carleton doesn't evince a lot of flashiness, but this game is about not beating oneself. The Ravens were turnover-free, converted two fumble recoveries into 10 points and cranked up the A/C — quarterback Michael Arruda, feature back Nathan Carter — to consume almost all of the final 2½ minutes before Michael Domagala booted the winning field goal.

The upshot for Waterloo is, true, it could be looking at 2-3 justlikethat with Laurier and Western next up on a three-game gauntlet. But the Warriors are not besotted with issues on both offence and defence, while new mid-table neighbours Guelph and McMaster look like they couldn't put up 30 points running plays against air, or even an AUS team.

Tre Ford has seen a real defence and still has wild rate stats — 11.4 yards per throw, a touchdown every 7.9 attempts and an 80 per cent completion rate, just for you traditionalists. The Warriors played good defence against a big-boy team and could have won had they not left points on the field, most notoriously when normally sure-handed Mitch Kernick dropped a wide-open pass behind coverage in the first half, with a 28-yard single on the ensuing field-goal try completing a six-point swing.

After three weeks, OUA, from top to bottom, is in a 1-1-6-3 alignment. Try to guess who the first '1' is.

The middle of the league is a Coin Flip Sub-Conference, where sooner or later it comes down to fate. Or to be less referential, it comes down to refereeing and the kicker's foot.

Carleton 21 Waterloo 18 — In terms of rooting for story, the hockey score at halftime, 8-3 for the Ravens, created a warm fuzzy feeling. It connoted that we would see what Waterloo was made of after being contained for a half and not getting the Pavlovian response that is a couple touchdowns on the board during the first 30 minutes.

Ultimately, Ford commanded 101- and 85-yard drives in the second half, mostly through Kernick and Gordon Lam, who found slews of space in the coverage. (Tyler Ternowski was limited to 25 yards, so his per-game average has plummeted to 140.7.) Ultimately, the red-zone misfires and two missed field goals from inside of 30 yards — second-year Mike Bushell was placekicking and vet Caleb Girard punted and handled one convert — turned the outcome.

Time will tell if Waterloo is good enough to give itself a margin for error. Once the Purple bruises heal two Saturdays from now they have an at York-McMaster-at Guelph closing leg and they have shown a lot more than all three of those teams.

Ottawa 12 Guelph 10 — The Gee-Gees' identity shift from airshow to airtight defence was so gradual, I didn't even notice. Eight players got in on the seven sacks on Guelph's Theo Landers.

Well, truthfully, Ottawa started marking strides over on the dark side in 2016. One has to remember Ottawa had three coaches in four seasons from 2009 to 2012 (first Denis PichΓ© left, then Jean-Philippe Asselin, then there was The Gary Etcheverry Experience Featuring The Double-Wing). The instability really seemed to show up in the core spots and perhaps the recovery has taken this long.

Ottawa limited Guelph to 269 yards, a third of which came on one bust in coverage that led to Zeph Fraser scoring a touchdown for Guelph.

The Gee-Gees defence also induced a conceded safety early in the fourth quarter to slightly stretch their lead to 12-7. That really shouldn't have been enough of a cushion with 13 minutes left in Canadian football, but they made it so, keeping Guelph from giving Daniel Ferraro any better look at the go-ahead field goal than tries from 52 (wide) and 53 (BLOCKED).

The convenient narrative for Guelph is this is dΓ©jΓ  vu all over again. Two seasons back, it also lost a close game at Ottawa. From there, it lost three more to miss the playoffs. That's not to say it will happen again, since all but the Laurier game stack up as winnable.

Queen's 43 Toronto 7 — The contrast in close-game experience between the Blackbirds and the Big Yellow Guys, who meet at Carleton next week, is about as stark as the difference between the most intricate Bach cantanas and the most bombastic Wagnerian excesses — got to use a simile that only the most erudite Queen's folk might understand.

Carleton has gone down to the final play twice in three weeks, while going down to Windsor and winning by a three-score margin (38-20) represents a puzzle with a moderate degree-of-difficulty. The closest scoreline in any Queen's game is 21 points and the ya-but that York stayed in contact for three quarters has been overruled.

So the jury remains out on Queen's (2-1), who has no gimmes over the final five games, starting with being away at Carleton and Guelph for the next two. Beating Toronto by 30-some points doesn't prove a lot, and there will be scorn for the fact they used a flea-flicker in a game that needed no such strategem.

Western 44 McMaster 6 — The guy with McMaster on the back of his jersey scored a 55-yard touchdown. The ones with McMaster written elsewhere on their uniforms did not. Oh, don't look so shocked.
Western will face a team on a win streak next week, though. Except it's York. Meantime, McMaster used both Andreas Dueck and Jackson White at quarterback. Pick one and go with it!

York 29 Windsor 22
— Excelsior to the Lions for winning this season's Doughnut Bowl. The only quibble is there was no touchdown from the receiving Hunchak to the passing Hunchak. The Philadelphia Eagles have instilled that expectation in everyone.

Where did this get away from Windsor? In a span of three possessions in the second quarter, York allowed two safeties and had a turnover on downs at its 34-yard line after their punter was tackled short of the sticks. Windsor's offence turned that into zero points, with punts sandwiched around York's Desi Dixon stopping Marcus Kentner on third-and-goal from the one.

For those trolling at home, the Lancers (0-3) have lost 22 of 27 games since Austin Kennedy picked up his sheepskin.

Bye team —  Laurier (2-0).

Week 4 docket, in order of goodness —  Waterloo (2-1) at Laurier (2-0); Queen's (2-1) at Carleton (2-1); Toronto (0-2) at McMaster (1-2); Guelph (1-2) at Windsor (0-3); York (1-2) at Western (2-0).
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