It was another competitive weekend of action in the Canada West conference, with a battle between nationally-ranked Regina and Calgary being the main talking points.
(#3) Calgary Dinos 46 — 26 (#5) Regina Rams
In a matchup that lived up to all of the early season hype, it was the #3 Calgary Dinos who were able to pull away from the #5 Regina Rams.
The key to the prehistorics’ win came from the line of scrimmage, as Calgary pivot Adam Sinagra had all day to throw the football, while Regina quarterback Noah Picton was sacked three times, and felt pressure in his face for most of the game. The turning point in the game came as a result of the Dinos’ pressue; Picton threw an ill-timed interception to Calgary safety Michael Schmidt with two minutes to go in the third quarter, when they were trailing just 36-24. The Dinos would score a major on the ensuing drive, and were in control for the remainder of the game.
Calgary had a healthy run-pass combo throughout the game, with lead back Jeshrun Antwi carrying the rock 18 times for 114 yards, while Sinagra threw for 350 yards and three scores. Sinagra’s favourite target was receiver Hunter Karl, who had a Player-of-the-Week caliber performance, with six receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns, including a few highlight reel snags. He also ran in a fake field goal late in the fourth quarter.
The Rams did get a spirited performance from Picton, who threw for 300 yards and three majors, however their inability to run the ball would cost them down the line. Mitchell Picton was the team’s leading receiver with 86 yards on seven catches, while Mitch Thompson and Kyle Moortgat added 141 combined yards and two touchdowns.
(#8) Saskatchewan Huskies 43 — 17 Alberta Golden Bears
For the second consecutive week, the Alberta Golden Bears were able to keep pace with a nationally ranked opponent early but once again cooled off down the stretch.
Despite dominating the time of possession and having more first downs, the Golden Bears went into halftime trailing the Huskies 14-6, due in part to some costly penalties. Saskatchewan would make Alberta pay in the second half with numerous big plays en route to the blowout win.
The Golden Bears finished the contest with over 300 combined rushing yards — 199 of which came from running back Ed Ilnicki — but were unable to find the end zone until the game was well out of reach. This was due in part to inefficient play from their quarterbacks, as Ben Kopczynski and Brad Baker combined to throw for just 168 yards.
Saskatchewan on the other hand were the beneficiaries of a five-touchdown performance from pivot Kyle Siemens. Two of his majors came from 53 and 43 yards respectively, and he was also able to distribute the ball to six different receivers.
UBC Thunderbirds 32 — 18 Manitoba Bisons
The story of this game was points off of turnovers. The Thunderbirds were able to produce 14 points off of four takeaways, while Manitoba was unable to get anything from the three turnovers that their defence produced.
The key play in the contest occurred in the first quarter, with the game still knotted at zero. Manitoba’s James Mau had recovered a fumbled punt deep in UBC territory, and the Bisons were getting set to kick a field goal a few plays later. However, the snap was too high and the Herd came away with nothing. UBC would go on to score on the ensuing offensive drive, and did not trail again for the remainder of the game.
The other key UBC turnover came early in the third quarter with the Thunderbirds up 20-10. Manitoba had reached the red zone and were looking to score, but Bison QB Theo Deezar threw a costly interception to defensive lineman Elliot Graham, that he took 107 yards the other way for a touchdown.
Offensively, UBC won the battle in the trenches and had a well-balanced attack. Running back Ben Cummings was the leading rusher with 165 yards on 24 carries, while Manitoba’s Jamel Lyles was held to just 11 yards on 10 carries and also left the game in the second half due to injury.