In a stunning offensive display, the No. 1-ranked University of Calgary Dinos racked up 975 yards of total offence to dismantle the University of Alberta Golden Bears 80-18 Thursday night at McMahon Stadium, improving to 3-0 on the season.
Debuting their all-white uniform look and scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions of the game, the Dinos had a 42-point lead before the Golden Bears (2-1) found the scoreboard. With the win, the Dinos take over sole possession of first place in Canada West after averaging nearly 13 yards per play offensively.
Along the way, fifth-year Dinos kicker Johnny Mark became the all-time scoring leader in CIS history, passing Lirim Hajrullahu (Western, 2009-13) with his first extra point of the night just 2:29 in – one of 10 converts on the night. He added three field goals and a kickoff single to score 20 points in total, setting the new national record at 442 points – with five games remaining in the season.
"We focused on doing what we need to do to make ourselves better on every play," said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris, who saw his team ranked No. 1 in the nation this week for the first time since late in the 2011 season. "If you're going to get ranked No. 1, you have to play like you're No. 1, and our guys are doing what they need to do to be successful."
Quarterback Andrew Buckley displayed the form that won him the Hec Crighton Trophy last year, completing 27 of 33 passes for 452 yards and three touchdowns in just over three quarters of action – a completion percentage of better than 80 as he directed an explosive offensive effort.
Three Dinos ended up in triple-digit receiving with Brendon Thera-Plamondon leading the way with five catches for 126 yards and a major, adding 33 rushing yards and a TD on the ground as well. Rashaun Simonise and Austen Hartley each had six catches, picking up 118 and 114 yards, respectively.
Starting tailback Mercer Timmis had just four carries on the night but still picked up 100 yards and two touchdowns – including a 54-yarder midway through the first quarter. He left the game as a precaution after the opening frame, giving backups Bryce Harper and Jeshrun Antwi an opportunity. Antwi, a 17-year-old freshman out of Father Lacombe High School in Calgary, collected 147 yards and the first two TDs of his CIS career on 12 carries.
The Bears came out solidly with a good-looking opening drive, pulling out a trick play with receiver Jimmy Ralph tossing to quarterback Ben Kopczynski for a touchdown. But it was called back on a hold, and two plays later Adam Laurensse picked off Kopczynski in the end zone. Four plays later, the Dinos had marched 101 yards and Timmis had his second TD of the night to make it 14-0.
Kopczynski scored on a one-yard plunge to make it 42-7 in the second quarter, and then in the third found Jon Waters for Alberta's longest play of the night – a 58-yard score early in the quarter. Stephen Fabian accounted for the other Alberta scoring with a 24-yard field goal and a punt single.
Kopczynski threw for 231 yards, 116 of which went to Ralph. Ed Ilnicki was held to 87 rushing yards by the Calgary defence.
With 80 points on the scoreboard, the Dinos broke their own record for points scored in a Canada West game, eclipsing their 78-point total from October 2012.
Both teams will enjoy a long week before returning to action. Alberta will play host to the Manitoba Bisons next Friday night, while the Dinos will head on the road to face the Regina Rams on Saturday, Sept. 26.
(University of Calgary)
The University of Regina Rams fell to 0-3 on the season after suffering a 33-18 loss to Saskatchewan on Friday night at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon.
The Rams opened the scoring with a nine-play, 95-yard drive capped by a short Atlee Simon two-yard touchdown run nine minutes into the first quarter, but Saskatchewan scored the next 19 points to take the lead for good.
Andrew Fabian's short field goal brought the Rams to within 19-10 at halftime, but that was as close as they would come. Touchdowns by Shane Buchanan and Mitch Hillis made it a three-score game and though Mitchell Picton had a 37-yard catch-and-run for a late touchdown, that would be the last scoring play of the night.
Drew Burko was 19-for-30 for Saskatchewan, finishing with 243 passing yards and three touchdowns - two of which were to Hillis, and the other to Yol Piok. Hillis finished with nine catches for 135 yards, while the two-back rotation of Tyler Chow (124 rushing yards) and Shane Buchanan (87) helped give the Huskies a 230-53 advantage in yards on the ground.
Dane Bishop led the Saskatchewan defence in tackles and also had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack in the win.
Noah Picton completed 28 of his 43 passes for 422 yards, with four of his receivers ending up with six catches apiece - including Riley Wilson, who led all players with a career-high 141 receiving yards. Richard Sindani, Mitchell Picton, and Mitch Thompson also had six catches. The Rams had 472 offensive yards to Saskatchewan's 469, marking the third time in as many games this season that they've outgained their opponents but lost.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Rams, who will prepare to host the top-ranked team in the nation next Saturday afternoon as Calgary pays a visit to Mosaic Stadium. The Dinos are coming off an 80-18 stomping of the Alberta Golden Bears.
(University of Regina)
That was the definition of a shootout.
The No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds (2-1-0) went into Investors Group Field and beat the No. 7 Manitoba Bisons (1-2-0) in thrilling fashion, earning a 51-48 win over their Canada West rivals. Quarterback Michael O'Connor (Orleans, Ont.) led the T-Birds' offence to their highest scoring performance since October 19, 2013, a 60-0 win over the Alberta Golden Bears.
O'Connor was absolutely surgical against Manitoba, carving up the Bisons defense to the tune of 398 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
The UBC receiving corps terrorized the Manitoba secondary all night, with Alex Morrison (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) hauling in five balls for 118 yards and a touchdown, Trivel Pinto (Toronto) bringing down eight catches for 107 yards, and Will Watson (Surrey, B.C.) catching four passes for 83 yards and two scores. Offensive weapon Marcus Davis (Victoria, B.C.) also played a significant role in the passing game, catching five balls for 44 yards and a score.
Brandon Deschamps (Prince George, B.C.) was great on the ground for the T-Birds, racking up 84 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, though he did lose a fumble in the first half.
Special teams play was dominated by the T-Birds, with a 103-yard kick return touchdown from Pinto, the second-longest in school history, and a couple of trick plays from head coach Blake Nill among the highlights.
The Thunderbirds will look to continue their momentum as they return home to take on the Saskatchewan Huskies at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium on Friday, September 25, 2015. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (PT)