CIS week 2 saw the OUA filled with upsets, with two OUA powerhouses defeated. The Western Mustangs lost to the Carleton Ravens in a thrilling game by a score of 38-31 on Sunday night. The Windsor Lancers stunned the conference by beating last season’s Yates Cup champions Guelph Gryphons 33-29 on Labour Day Monday.
The RSEQ started week 1 as the Concordia Stingers, Universite de Montreal Carabins and Sherbrooke Vert et Or won their matches. The Canada West University Athletics Association also kicked off week 1, as the Calgary Dinos beat the Manitoba Bisons, Regina Rams lost to the Saskatchewan Huskies in double-overtime, and the defending Vanier Cup Champions UBC Thunderbirds beat the Alberta Golden Bears. The Atlantic University Sport conference started their preseason, with the StFX X-Men and Saint Marys Huskies coming out as winners.
Here are this week’s biggest moments in CIS football.
CIS Week 2 Blitz
Biggest Upset — Lancers Conquer Gryphons
To be fair, Windsor’s loss last weekend to the Mustangs was by no means a measuring stick for the Lancers’ capability in the competitive OUA. In their match against Guelph, they showed exactly what they could do. They took it to the No. 6 nationally-ranked team in the CIS and led for most of the game, though Guelph took a 21-17 advantage with five minutes left in the third quarter.
But it didn’t last long. The Lancers battled back and regained the lead in the dying seconds of the third quarter with a touchdown by Tarrence Crawford. They didn’t relinquish it, tightening up their defence in the fourth quarter and extending their lead to 33-21 when Lancers pivot Jalen Brady connected with Noah Akharoh for a 54-yard pass. The Gryphons added one more touchdown but weren’t able to complete the comeback, sealing the victory for the Lancers.
Brady finished 18-28 for 248 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Gryphons pivot James Robert finished 31-47 with 362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
For the defending Yates Cup champions, this could be a wake up call — one they need if they want to make another Vanier Cup run this year. For the Lancers, this is a step in the right direction if they want to make a return trip to the playoffs. With a history of pulling off these kinds of upsets, the Lancers are a team that shouldn’t be underestimated.
– Drew Yates
Biggest Surprise — Carabins Beat Rouge et Or
For the third straight year, the Carabins played the Rouge et Or in their first game of the season. Even though the Rouge et Or haven’t lost their home opener since 2001, it didn’t matter for the Carabins, as they walked into Quebec City this past Saturday night and stunned Laval 24-21 in hostile territory.
Down 14-2 at halftime, the Carabins dominated in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third quarter and 12 points in the final quarter. With five minutes left in the game, the Carabins were down 21-14 and started their drive on their 52-yard line. Fourth-year quarterback Samuel Caron led the team down the field with two big passes — a 25-yard pass to receiver Regis Cibasu and a 31-yard pass to fifth-year receiver Samuel Nadeau-Piuze. Fourth-year running back Sean Thomas Erlington had a four-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with two minutes left. On the kickoff, Antony Dufour fumbled the ball for Rouge et Or and the ball was recovered by Montreal’s Vincent Jacques on Laval’s 27 yard line. A few plays later, Carabins kicker Félix Ménard-Brière booted the 16-yard game-winning field goal between the uprights.
With the win, the Carabins now have won three straight games against the Rouge et Or. The two teams will meet again in Montreal on October 15. The Rouge et Or in Week two will look to get back to their winning ways against the Concordia Stingers at Concordia while Carabins will play the Bishops Gaiters in their home opener. Do not be surprised if these two teams meet in November for the RSEQ championship for the third year in a row.
– Casey Dulson
Most Memorable — Ravens Defeat Mustangs 38-31 at Home
If last week’s match against the McMaster Marauders put any doubt into people’s minds on whether or not the Ravens were for real this season, their 38-31 victory against the powerhouse Mustangs silenced them. The Ravens jumped out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter before the Mustangs marched back into the game, scoring 31 unanswered points. In a game filled with momentum shifts, the Ravens drew even when quarterback Jesse Mills threw to Nate Behar for a 15-yard touchdown pass to knot the game at 31. On the ensuing Ravens drive, Mills found Birch to retake the lead for Carleton, but the final nail wasn’t pounded into the coffin until the Mustangs turned the ball over on third-and-goal on the one-yard line.
This marks one of the biggest wins in Ravens history, and delivers the Mustangs’ first regular season loss since October 18th, 2014, when they fell 49-46 to the Guelph Gryphons. This outcome was also far different from the first two meetings since the Ravens returned to the OUA, where they lost 71-4 and 70-14 respectively to the Mustangs.
The Mustangs ranked No. 4 on the CIS top-ten rankings last week, while the Ravens came in at No. 9. Expect some drastic shifts on this week’s list.
– Drew Yates