Around U Sports: previously winless Calgary Dinos upset No. 7-ranked UBC Thunderbirds

Photo courtesy: Chris Lindsey/Dinos Athletics

There are only two weeks remaining on the U Sports football regular-season schedule following an action-packed weekend across the country that saw one team get its first win, the reigning Vanier Cup champions get shut out, and a game-winning rouge.

Around U Sports is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that takes readers across the country to summarize collegiate football action, highlighting standout performances and tracking possible playoff matchups. It will run for the full season through the Vanier Cup in Kingston, Ont. on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Acadia Axemen, 18 — Saint Mary’s Huskies, 33

Duncan Patterson threw for 253 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception and now leads the Huskies in passing yards this season despite playing in only two games. A’dre Simmonds carried the ball 32 times for 142 yards and one touchdown out of the backfield, while Liam Stewart made three catches for 164 yards and two of Patterson’s touchdown throws. Third-year defensive end Nick King was Acadia’s best player on the day, recording five tackles and two sacks.

Mount Allison Mounties, 7 — No. 5 St. FX X-Men, 52

Silas Fagnan, the reigning U Sports offensive player of the week, had another dominant performance for St. FX as he threw for 301 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception on a big win on Saturday. Malcolm Bussey ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while Chris Lemoine, Liam Wilde, and Brandyn Martin recorded interceptions, helping limit Mount Allison to 183 yards of offence. The X-Men have now won all 21 regular season games they’ve played since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMaster Marauders, 9 — Ottawa Gee-Gees, 23

Ottawa’s star running back Amlicar Polk carried the ball three times for 49 yards and one touchdown but was forced to leave the game due to injury. Kevin Anderson was a game-wrecker for the Gee-Gees on defence, recording four tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery, while Owen Hubert made 3.5 tackles, two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery for McMaster. The Marauders have now finished back-to-back seasons at 2-6, their worst win total since the turn of the century.

Carleton Ravens, 31 — Waterloo Warriors, 30

The Ravens erased a 20-point third-quarter deficit to win on a last-second rouge from Brandon Forcier, improving to 3-4. Tristan Lefebvre threw for 288 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in the win as Hunter Brown caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Nick Orr had his best game of the year for Waterloo, throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns and leading his team with 54 rushing yards.

No. 8 Windsor Lancers, 7 — No. 4 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, 40

These two teams are only four spots apart in the national rankings but this contest wasn’t remotely close as Hec Crighton Trophy hopeful Taylor Elgersma threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball twice for 22 yards and one touchdown. The Golden Hawks made life miserable for Danny Skelton, who completed only 11-of-29 pass attempts with interceptions to Johari Hastings and Ife Onyemenam, who was a sixth-round pick of the Toronto Argonauts in the 2023 CFL Draft.

No. 10 Queen’s Golden Gaels, 24 — Guelph Gryphons, 17

The Golden Gaels won their third straight game to get back over .500 on the season as Jared Chisari carried the ball 33 times for 229 yards, accounting for over 70 percent of the team’s net offensive yardage. Donavin Milloy ran for 141 yards in the loss, while Tristan Aboud was sacked five times and threw two interceptions to Ashton Miller-Melancon. Queen’s is struggling to move the ball through the air with Alex Vreeken out due to injury but is still finding ways to win.

Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 7 — Concordia Stingers, 39

Dwante Morgan and Adrien Guay dominated along the ground for the Stingers, rushing for 240 yards and three touchdowns on only 15 carries. Olivier Roy threw a touchdown pass to Ezechiel Tieide for Concordia, while the Vert et Or’s lone score came on a three-yard run by Michael Morin. Now 0-6, Sherbrooke will have to win both of its remaining games in order to avoid its worst regular season record in two decades.

No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or, 0 — No. 2 Montreal Carabins, 28

The Carabins clinched first place in the RSEQ with authority in this battle of arch-rivals and top-ranked teams. Jonathan Sénécal threw for 252 yards and one touchdown and carried the ball six times for 61 yards and one touchdown, while Montreal’s defence forced three safeties. Laval was only able to generate 146 yards of offence as Arnaud Desjardins threw one interception and was sacked five times.

No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies, 20 — No. 9 Alberta Golden Bears, 23

The Golden Bears beat the Huskies for the second time this season to take sole possession of first place in Canada West. Matthew Peterson was sensational yet again as he carried the ball 22 times for 192 yards and one touchdown, while Jonathan Rosery made five catches for 85 yards and one score. David Solie missed a late field goal for Saskatchewan with 1:07 left in the game and the Golden Bears drove the field quickly on the ensuing drive, setting up a last-second 33-yard field goal from Jonathan Giustini to secure the win.

Manitoba Bisons, 41 — Regina Rams, 34

Jackson Tachinski had another strong performance for the Herd, passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns and rushing seven times for 44 yards and one touchdown. Marshall Erichsen ran for 111 and a touchdown for the Rams, while Owen Sieben threw for 234 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Maya Turner, who recently became the first woman to score points in a U Sports regular season game, went four-for-five on her field goal attempts and connected on a career-long 48-yarder.

No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds, 6 — Calgary Dinos, 20

The previously winless Dinos recorded arguably the biggest upset of the season so far, defeating the No. 7-ranked team in the country. Dom Britton threw for 181 yards and one touchdown, connecting with younger brother Ben Britton for the score, while breakout target Gob Deng made four catches for 92 yards. UBC was held scoreless until the final minute as they struggled to sustain drives, punting the ball 10 times at McMahon Stadium.

Toronto Varsity Blues, 24 — No. 1 Western Mustangs, 66

The top-ranked team in the country continued to roll as Evan Hillock threw touchdown passes to Mohsen Jamal and Brayden Misseri, while Keon Edwards and Jerome Rancourt ran for two touchdowns each. Scott Barnett, who recently took over most of the snaps from fifth-year quarterback Kinsale Philip for Toronto, threw a touchdown pass to Jake Oseen and ran one in himself, though he also threw three interceptions. Now 7-0, the Mustangs will host Wilfrid Laurier next week for OUA supremacy in a battle of undefeated teams.

The York Lions (OUA), McGill Redbirds (RSEQ), and Bishop’s Gaiters (AUS) were on a bye this past week.

U Sports standings

Canada West (CW)

No. 9 Alberta Golden Bears 5-1
No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies 4-2
No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds 4-2

Manitoba Bisons 3-3

Regina Rams 1-5
Calgary Dinos 1-5

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

No. 1 Western Mustangs 7-0
No. 4 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 7-0
No. 8 Windsor Lancers 5-2
No. 10 Queen’s Golden Gaels 4-3
Ottawa Gee-Gees 4-3
Carleton Ravens 3-4
Guelph Gryphons 3-4
Toronto Varsity Blues 2-5
Waterloo Warriors 2-5
McMaster Marauders 2-6
York Lions 0-7

Réseau du Sport Etudiant (RSEQ)

No. 2 Montreal Carabins 7-0
No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or 5-2
Concordia Stingers 3-3
McGill Redbirds 1-5
Sherbrooke Vert et Or 0-6

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

5. St. FX X-Men 7-0
Bishop’s Gaiters 4-2
Mount Allison Mounties 2-4
Saint Mary’s Huskies 2-4
Acadia Axemen 1-6

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.