CIS Week 5 Blitz features a round-up of all CIS football games across the country. From exciting games to star players, it was an interesting week.
CIS Week 5 Blitz
Biggest surprise — Regina Rams upset #2 Calgary Dinos.
Coming into Friday’s game, the Regina Rams had defeated two CIS top ten opponents in the past two games. They were hoping to make it three on Friday night against the past #2 nationally-ranked Calgary Dinos. After the first quarter, the Dinos were up 11-0 after a 20-yard field goal and rouge point by kicker Niko DiFonte. Dino’s running back Josiah Joseph also added a touchdown. By halftime, the Dinos took a close 14-9 lead after another field goal by DiFonte. The Rams answered when quarterback Noah Picton connected with wideout Ryan Schienbein for a long 68-yard touchdown.
Momentum swung, and the Rams dominated the third quarter. On their second drive, Picton connected with Mitchell Picton for a 52-yard pass, followed by a 13-yard touchdown to give Regina its first lead of the game. On their next drive, the Rams added a 29-yard field goal by Daniel Scraper. The Picton duo went back to work, connecting for another 13-yard touchdown. DiFonte’s 29-yard field goal was the only Dinos score to cut the Rams lead down.
The Rams started the fourth quarter with a bang as Picton got his hat trick of touchdowns with a 58-yard grab to make it 32-17. The Dinos kept things interesting in the final quarter as they got a 34-yard field goal by DiFonte and a 36-yard touchdown from receiver Kelton Bailey with two minute and 31 seconds remaining.
But it just wasn’t meant to be. The Dinos marched all the way down to the Regina 12-yard line but quarterback Jimmy Underdahl fumbled. It was recovered by Joey Dwyer to seal the victory, 32-27.
Picton completed 23 out of 35 passes for 452 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Picton is tied for most touchdowns in the CIS with 14 and leads the nation in passing yards per a game with 428.5 yards. Mitchell Picton caught 13 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns. He now leads the country for receiving touchdowns and yards per a game. It was the second time in four years that Rams beat the Dinos while they were #2 in the country. They beat Calgary 12-9 back in October 19, 2012.
– Casey Dulson
Biggest Upset — Manitoba Bisons beat the Saskatchewan Huskies
The Manitoba Bisons defeated the Saskatchewan Huskies in thrilling fashion 38-17 last night. Despite trailing 17-10 by the half, the Bisons scored 28 unanswered points to upset the No. 8 nationally-ranked Huskies. Bison starting pivot Theo Deezar threw for 447 passing-yards, completing 28 of his 42 attempts with three touchdowns. His counter pivot Kyle Siemens went 18-31 for 161 passing yards and one touchdown. The win bumped the Bisons to an even 2-2 record, while the Huskies fell to 2-2 on the season. The win bumped the Huskies out of the CIS top ten this week, while moving the Bisons up to No. 9, just ahead of the No. 10 Carleton Ravens.
– Drew Yates
Most Memorable Moment — Western Mustangs defeated the Guelph Gryphons
In a rematch of the Yates Cup, starting quarterback Chris Merchant and the Western Mustangs got revenge on the Guelph Gryphons, beating them 50-16 during Guelph’s Homecoming, their first win over Guelph since 2011. Merchant passed for 322 yards on 19 completions, while Guelph quarterback James Roberts passed for 375 yards on 30-46 attempts. This win was remarkable for the Mustangs, especially after last year’s events.
In 2015, the Mustangs had a flawless season where they went a perfect 8-0 and finished first in the conference. Despite losing their star quarterback Will Finch to injury, the offence broke out in the second half of the OUA sem-finals, booking their second Yates Cup appearance in three years. However, during the final, The Gryphons brought everything they had, upsetting the Mustangs 23-17 at TD Stadium and capturing their first Yates Cup since 1996.
– Drew Yates
Player of the Week — UBC Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O’Connor.
Michael O’Connor completed 27 out of his 36 passes for 413 yards and five touchdowns in the UBC Thunderbirds 62-0 romp over Alberta Golden Bears. It was O’Connor’s best performance of the year at a much needed time.
In the first quarter, O’Connor connected with Marshall Cook twice, first with a 69-yard pass that led to a touchdown on the Thunderbirds first drive of the game, and then for a nine-yard touchdown for a quick 14-0 lead.
O’Connor only threw one touchdown in the second and third quarters. He connected with Will Watson for 20-yards to give UBC a 22-0 lead at halftime, and then tossed an 18-yard touchdown to Trey Kellogg with 1:03 left in the third quarter. O’Connor threw his final touchdown pass to Cook for four-yards on the Thunderbirds first drive of the fourth quarter. At the time, it was 36-0 for UBC.
– Casey Dulson
Main Photo Courtesy of Andrew Francis Wallace.