Around U Sports: Saskatchewan Huskies flex in destruction of Calgary Dinos

Photo courtesy: David Moll

The second week of the U Sports football season is officially in the books, bringing with it the first full slate of games in Canada West. It was a stellar week of action, so let’s not waste any time before breaking it down.

Around U Sports is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that will take readers across the country each week to summarize collegiate football action, highlighting standout performances and tracking possible playoff matchups. It will run throughout the regular season through the Vanier Cup on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Acadia Axemen, 11 — Saint Mary’s Huskies, 31

The Huskies got their first win of the season thanks to a stellar defensive effort that limited the Axemen to just 159 yards of offence. Third-year receiver Brycen Mayoh caught a 71-yard touchdown pass from Duncan Patterson, while second-year running back A’dre Simmonds added 117 yards along the ground. The game may have been even more one-sided had Saint Mary’s not taken a whopping 17 penalties for 200 yards.

No. 2 Saskatchewan Huskies, 44 — Calgary Dinos, 5

The reigning Uteck Bowl champions wasted no time showing why they are an early favourite to win the Vanier Cup, crushing the once-proud Dinos at McMahon Stadium. Hec Crighton Trophy hopeful Mason Nyhus threw for 408 yards and five touchdowns with two going to fourth-year receiver Daniel Perry, while second-year defensive lineman Nathan Jule made two tackles for loss.

Regina Rams, 33 — No. 6 Manitoba Bisons, 23

The Rams got an upset on the road as first-year quarterback Noah Pelletier threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Bennett Stusek, though he would have had two more were it not for a pair of drops from D’Sean Mimbs. The Bisons struggled to protect fifth-year quarterback Des Catellier and committed two key special teams errors, muffing a punt and allowing another to be blocked by third-round 2022 CFL Draft pick Ryder Varga and returned for a touchdown by fourth-year defensive back Jaxon Ford.

York Lions, 1 — McMaster Marauders, 39

Andreas Dueck bounced back from a middling performance in last week’s loss to Carleton by throwing for 338 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout win. The Lions sacked Dueck six times — Jason Janvier-Messier, Nathan Brennan, and Sterling May each got home for two apiece — but have now been outscored 80-9 over two games to start the season.

Concordia Stingers, 23 — Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 24

The Vert et Or trailed 19-0 at halftime but came all the way back in the second half, clinching the victory on a 26-yard field goal from Louis Tardif with seven seconds remaining. It was a massive boot for Tardif, who had missed two previous field goal attempts from distances of 43 and 47 yards. Hec Crighton Trophy hopeful Olivier Roy had a middling performance, throwing for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

Bishop’s Gaiters, 15 — Mount Allison Mounties, 18

Mount Allison ground out an ugly win after opening their season with a bye last week. All three quarterbacks struggled in this game as Mason McGriskin, CJ Valenti, and Justin Vogels combined to complete just 44.8 percent of their passes for 267 yards and three interceptions. Mounties’ second-year defensive back Adryon Thompson returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown, while Gaiters’ fourth-year defensive back Jake Kelly scored on a 45-yard pick-six.

No. 4 Laval Rouge et Or, 37 — McGill Redbirds, 20

Former Syracuse commit Kevin Mital had a signature performance for the Rouge et Or, making eight receptions for 134 yards and four touchdowns. Second-year quarterback Arnaud Desjardins threw for the only 300-yard game in the opening week of U Sports action and did so again against McGill, completing 23-of-27 pass attempts for 343 yards and five touchdowns. First-year quarterback Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald sliced up Laval’s tough defence in a losing effort, throwing for 381 yards and rushing for 132 yards.

No. 1 Western Mustangs, 34 — Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, 19

A weather delay didn’t stop the Mustangs from moving to 2-0 on the season as running backs Keon Edwards (127) and Edouard Wanadi (101) both broke the century mark for a second straight week. Fourth-year receiver Savaughn Magnaye-Jones caught three touchdown passes from Hec Crighton Trophy hopeful Evan Hillock, while second-year receiver Ben McAlpine caught a 76-yard touchdown pass for the Golden Hawks.

No. 5 Queen’s Golden Gaels, 26 — Ottawa Gee-Gees, 16

The Golden Gaels showed why they are a top-five ranked team, overcoming a 13-6 halftime deficit to get a win on the road. Third-year running back Anthony Soles rushed 16 times for 96 yards and a touchdown for Queen’s, while defensive backs Ashton Miller-Melancon and Stephane East both intercepted Gee-Gees’ quarterback Ben Maracle.

Alberta Golden Bears, 21 — UBC Thunderbirds, 30

A pair of young quarterbacks played well in this one as Alberta first-year Eli Hetlinger threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns and UBC second-year Garrett Rooker had 251 passing yards and two touchdowns. First-year receiver Shemar McBean had a breakout game for the Thunderbirds, making a 98-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.

No. 10 Carleton Ravens, 13 — Toronto Varsity Blues, 28

The Ravens will surely fall out of the U Sports top-ten rankings after getting upset by the perennial doormat Varsity Blues. Toronto exploded for 27 points in the second half and outgained Carleton 560 offensive yards to 285 on the day. Fourth-year running back Adam Williams led the way with 19 carries for 149 yards, though Samuel Conteh, Kinsale Philip, and Luka Stoikos chipped in to give Toronto a whopping 353 yards along the ground.

Windsor Lancers, 28 — No. 9 Guelph Gryphons, 24

It’s not often that a team finds a way to lose despite recording 16 tackles for loss and a pick-six, but that’s exactly what happened here as Guelph was upset at home. Windsor managed only 131 passing yards but got a monster performance from first-year running back Joey Zorn who rushed 18 times for 198 yards and a touchdown. The Gryphons are off to a disappointing 0-2 start and will need to bounce back next week at Waterloo.

Three teams sat out this past week on bye, all of whom are nationally ranked: No. 3 Montreal Carabins, No. 7 St. FX, and No. 8 Waterloo Warriors.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.