Around U Sports: shocking comeback win lifts Carleton Ravens to OUA playoff berth

Photo courtesy: Kyle Rodriguez/Guelph Gryphons

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) wrapped its regular season this past weekend, setting up the conference’s slate of quarterfinal postseason matchups. Meanwhile, the Calgary Dinos recorded another shocking upset, the Alberta Golden Bears rolled without their star running back, and the Carleton Ravens completed a 13-point comeback in the final two minutes against Guelph to punch their ticket to the playoffs.

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.

Concordia Stingers, 40 — McGill Redbirds, 23

Olivier Roy had arguably the best performance of his career on Friday night as he threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns, four of which were completed to Ezechiel Tieide. The Stingers led 40-7 after three quarters but McGill continued to battle as Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald threw a touchdown pass to Darius Simmons, the defence forced a safety, and Cedric Dabady rushed for a four-yard score. Concordia will wrap up their season against the Montreal Carabins next week as they look to finish with a winning record for just the second time since 2009.

No. 7 Alberta Golden Bears, 35 — Manitoba Bisons, 25

Star running back Matthew Peterson left the game early due to a leg injury but Alberta’s rushing attack remained dominant as Ope Oshinubi carried the ball 15 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson Tachinski threw for 289 yards and one touchdown and ran for 71 yards and one touchdown, though he threw an interception to Jonathan Giustini on a potential game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter. The Golden Bears have now won six regular season games for the first time since 2005.

Saint Mary’s Huskies, 11 — Mount Allison Mounties, 13

Brandt Burzuk scored Mount Allison’s only touchdown in the win while Graeme Maither made two field goals, including a 17-yard game-winner late in the fourth quarter. Duncan Patterson threw for 229 yards and one touchdown in the loss, though he tossed an interception to Jet Agette on Saint Mary’s final drive of the game. The Mounties won both meetings with the Huskies this year and are guaranteed a spot in the AUS playoffs at 3-4.

Guelph Gryphons, 27 — Carleton Ravens, 29

Marshall McCray scored a touchdown to put the Gryphons up 27-14 with 2:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, seemingly putting the game out of reach. Tristan Lefebvre threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Brown on Carleton’s ensuing drive to pull within one score and hit Frederik Hachey for a 50-yard touchdown after the Ravens forced Guelph to punt. The win lifted Carleton to a sixth-place finish in the OUA and a quarterfinal matchup against the Windsor Lancers, while the Gryphons were eliminated from playoff contention.

Waterloo Warriors, 26 — Toronto Varsity Blues, 21

James Basalyga and Marcus Hoegl went over the 100-yard mark for Waterloo, helping the team clinch the seventh and final playoff spot in the OUA. Tal Ibrahim ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes remaining to draw the Warriors within one point of Toronto before Justin Succar punched in a six-yard run on the following drive to take a late lead. Toronto tried to drive the field with under two minutes remaining but Anesu Latmore intercepted Scott Barnett to seal the win.

York Lions, 0 — No. 9 Windsor Lancers, 69

The Lancers capped their regular season with an exclamation point as Danny Skelton threw four touchdown passes and Weabge Mombo, Liam Talbot, Christopher John, and Nick Dimovski each scored touchdowns along the ground. Windsor smothered York’s anemic offence, recording four sacks and limiting Luca Jovkovic to seven passing yards. The Lions have finished the season 0-8 and were outscored 560-42, while Windsor reached six regular season wins for the first time since 2006.

Ottawa Gee-Gees, 8 — No. 8 Queen’s Golden Gaels, 12

The Golden Gaels won a fourth straight game without quarterback Alex Vreeken in the lineup as Jared Chisari and Anthony Soles combined for 214 rushing yards and one touchdown, which sealed the game late in the fourth quarter. Queen’s has finished the regular season at 5-3 after rattling off four straight victories and will host the Gee-Gees again this upcoming weekend in the OUA quarterfinal playoff round.

No. 3 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, 30 — No. 1 Western Mustangs, 33

Western dominated the first half of this matchup between top-ranked, undefeated OUA rivals, building a 27-0 halftime lead on a rushing touchdown from Jerome Rancourt, a touchdown pass from Evan Hillock to Brayden Misseri, and a punt return touchdown from Daniel Kubongo. The Golden Hawks came screaming back in the second half, scoring 28 unanswered points in the third quarter as Taylor Elgersma threw two touchdown passes to Ethan Jordan, Quentin Scott scored on a seven-yard touchdown run, and Tyriq Quayson returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. The Mustangs got the last laugh, however, as Jerome Rancourt hit Savaughn Magnaye-Jones for a touchdown pass with two minutes left before their defence forced a turnover on downs, sealing the win.

Bishop’s Gaiters, 22 — Acadia Axemen, 10

Oliver Burnett led the way for the Gaiters as he made seven catches for 137 receptions and one touchdown, which came on a 56-yard catch just before halftime. David Chaloux ran for 98 yards in the win, while Samuel Robichaud, Felix Lafleur, and Brandon-James Poulin-Marques each got home for sacks. The Axemen managed only 177 yards of offence as Niklas Platis scored the club’s only touchdown on a five-yard run and will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year after finishing the season 1-7.

Regina Rams, 20 — No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds, 31

The Rams built an early 14-0 lead as Noah Pelletier and Marshall Erichsen scored rushing touchdowns but were unable to hold it, resulting in their elimination from postseason contention. Hec Crighton Trophy hopeful Garrett Rooker threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the win, while Isaiah Knight ran for 128 yards and one touchdown. Now 5-2, the Thunderbirds will visit the Alberta Golden Bears next week in a game that will determine first place in Canada West.

Calgary Dinos, 13 — No. 6 Saskatchewan Huskies, 12

The Dinos recorded another shocking upset on Saturday, knocking off a nationally-ranked opponent for the second consecutive week. Matt Sibley caught a touchdown pass from Xavier Vaillancourt for Calgary’s lone touchdown of the game, while Isaiah Smith, Nate Beauchemin, and Jordan Chizda each picked off Anton Amundrud, who now leads U Sports with 14 interceptions on the year. Saskatchewan kicker David Solie missed three field goals from distances of 28, 36, and 47 yards, the last of which came with 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 7 — No. 4 Laval Rouge et Or, 27

Laval clinched second place in the RSEQ as Isaac Gaillardetz caught five passes for 140 yards from Arnaud Desjardins, who registered one rushing touchdown along with Kalenga Muganda. Olivier Joly led the way for Sherbrooke with eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one sack but it wasn’t enough as the team struggled to convert 22 first downs into points on offence. With one game left to play, the Vert et Or are one of only two winless teams left in the nation.

The No. 2 Montreal Carabins (RSEQ), No. 5 St. FX X-Men (AUS), and McMaster Marauders (OUA) were on bye this past week.

U Sports standings

Canada West (CW)

Alberta Golden Bears 6-1
UBC Thunderbirds 5-2
Saskatchewan Huskies 4-3

Manitoba Bisons 3-4
Calgary Dinos 2-5

Regina Rams 1-6

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

Western Mustangs 8-0
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 7-1
Windsor Lancers 6-2
Queen’s Golden Gaels 5-3
Ottawa Gee-Gees 4-4
Carleton Ravens 4-4
Waterloo Warriors 3-5
Guelph Gryphons 3-5
Toronto Varsity Blues 2-6
McMaster Marauders 2-6
York Lions 0-8

Réseau du Sport Etudiant (RSEQ)

Montreal Carabins 7-0
Laval Rouge et Or 6-2
Concordia Stingers 4-3
McGill Redbirds 1-6
Sherbrooke Vert et Or 0-7

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

St. FX X-Men 7-0
Bishop’s Gaiters 5-2
Mount Allison Mounties 3-4
Saint Mary’s Huskies 2-5
Acadia Axemen 1-7

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.