Sunday, September 13, 2015

Canada West Week 2 Football Recap

They didn't take the lead until there were just two and a half minutes to play, but the No. 2 University of Calgary Dinos found a way to overcome the big-play University of Manitoba Bisons with a 48-36 win Friday night at Investors Group Field.

Led by an incredible second-half performance by tailback Mercer Timmis, who racked up 276 yards on 27 carries to go with three touchdowns, the Dinos scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to avenge their Hardy Cup loss to the Bisons and, more importantly, move to 2-0 on the young season.

The offence moved in fits and starts until the second half, when Andrew Buckley found his rhythm in the pocket, Rashaun Simonise made catch after catch, and Timmis kept making things happen with the football – including a 79-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the third quarter. In the fourth, Simonise scored from 15 yards out after another big Timmis run, Johnny Mark made his third field goal of the night, and Timmis capped it off with a 17-yarder as the Dinos caught and passed the Bisons, then held on to the lead.

"We know the offence is going to ignite eventually, we have so much talent over there," said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. "Buckley threw it hard, Simonise will win the majority of the battles when they're one-on-one…and Mercer. What more can you say? We just need to get the ball in Mercer's hands and he'll make things happen."

Timmis' 276-yard night was three off his career high of 279, set against the Bisons in the 2013 Hardy Cup. Buckley finished the night completing 26 of 36 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown, while Simonise had the best night of his career with 13 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown as Buckley looked to him again and again to get key first downs.

The exciting finished matched the intensity of an outstanding football game between two of the top programs in the nation, one that the Bisons held the advantage in for more than 57 minutes. And that started with the opening kickoff, which Jamel Lyles returned 107 yards to the end zone as the Dinos gave up a long TD in the opening seconds for the second week in a row.

Bisons quarterback Theo Deezar looked deep early and often, connecting on four plays of more than 50 yards through the air. He finished with 364 passing yards on just 13 completions.

(University of Calgary)


The University of Alberta Golden Bears football team ripped off 38 second half points to defeat the No.9 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies 38-26 before over 3,000 fans in the U of A’s home opener at Foote Field on Friday night.

With the win Alberta starts the season with a 2-0 record, and picks up the program’s first conference win over the Huskies since September 25, 2009. The last time the Golden Bears opened a season at 2-0 was in 2010 when they defeated UBC and Manitoba in consecutive weeks, which is also the last time the Bears played in the conference post-season.

The two teams combined for 1,058 total yards of offence, including 633 through the air.

Rookie quarterback Ben Kopczynski completed 23 of 35 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing 11 times for 90 yards and a TD.

The Calgary-born pivot struggled in the first half, picking up just 89 total offensive yards, as the Bears were shut out by the Huskies 18-0 through two quarters of play.

The visitors, who dropped their home and season opener to Manitoba last weekend in Saskatoon, came out firing in the first half, putting up four points in the first quarter before runningback Tylor Chow scampered for a pair of majors, each from inside the Alberta 10-yard line, to put the ‘Dawgs up 18-0.

On Alberta’s opening second half possession, Kopczynski marched the Bears 75-yards on eight plays and finished the drive by rushing the final eight yards into the endzone himself.

After Sean Stenger hit his second field goal for the Huskies, making the score 21-7 at the 4:55 mark of the third, Alberta responded with another TD as Kopczynski and the Bears moved 94-yards on seven plays, including a six-yard TD toss to third-year receiver Tylor Henry. The Edmonton-born receiver earlier made a big catch to set up Alberta’s first TD when he hauled in a 28-yard Kopczynski throw in double coverage, and now needs just one more catch to have 100 in his career as a Golden Bear.

Trailing by seven points, 21-14, Alberta’s defence stepped up and forced the Saskatchewan offence to settle for a field goal tries on the next two Huskie offensive possessions, of which Stenger only made one, moving the score to 24-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Saskatchewan went two-and-out on their opening drive of the fourth, giving the Bears the ball at midfield. From there Kopczynski found receivers Jimmy Ralph and Nathan Filipek for 27 and 12 yards respectively, before handing off to Ed Ilnicki who powered into the Huskies’ endzone from 17 yards out, and a 24-21 score.

Another quick out by the Huskies led to Kopczynski and the offence starting on their own 15-yard line, where he engineered a nine play 95-yard drive that culminated with Kopczynski hitting Ralph on the run for a three yard TD play, and Alberta’s first lead of the game at 28-24.

Saskatchewan punted the ball away again on their next possession, but the Huskies defence sacked Kopczynski and pinned the Bears on their own three-yard, forcing them to concede a safety.

After a Stephen Fabian field goal, Ilnicki, who had nine touchdowns and 665 rushing yards last season, put the nail in the coffin with just under a minute left in the game when he ripped off a powerful 61-yard touchdown rush, on first down, to make the final 38-26.

Huskies quarterback Drew Burko, who led Canada West in 2014 with 21 touchdown passes, finished with 30 completions on 50 attempts, for 333 yards and zero TDs. Receiver Mitch Hillis caught 12 of those 30 passes, for 122 yards, while Julan Lynch hauled in seven for 74 yards.

Ilnicki rushed 19 times for 149 yards, while Ralph snagged eight passes for a game high 126 receiving yards. Tak Landry, a converted defensive back, made 10 tackles and a game high three pass break-ups to lead the Alberta defence.

(University of Alberta)


The University of Regina Rams couldn't complete a spirited second-half comeback as they trailed 24-1 at the half to the hometown UBC Thunderbirds, but ended up on the losing end of a close 27-20 score.

Not only did the Rams (0-2) trail by 23 at the half, but they also lost starting quarterback Noah Picton in the second quarter after he absorbed a hit following a completed pass.

Though Picton was out, the second-half comeback was sparked by the play of backup pivot Tyler Vieira and a pair of huge special teams calls that saw the Rams recover short kickoffs not once, but twice in the third quarter.

The first short kick was on the opening kickoff of the second half. Immediately, Vieira took to the air and Mitch Thompson laid out for an incredible catch for a 38-yard gain. The duo hooked up again two plays later, as Vieira found Thompson behind the UBC defence for a 25-yard touchdown.

The Rams added a pair of points off a UBC conceded safety just past the five-minute mark of the third, and four minutes later Vieira engineered a nine-play, 76-yard drive that was capped by another touchdown pass to Thompson from 20 yards out.

That got the U of R to within seven at 24-17, but that would be as close as the Rams would come. Quinn Van Gylswyk restored UBC's double-digit lead with a 41-yard field goal late in the third quarter, and Regina's Andrew Fabian answered with a 32-yard field goal of his own to get it back to a one-possession game five minutes into the fourth. The Rams' final drive started on their own 30 with 3:28, and the Rams went on a 62-yard drive before a Vieira pass to the end zone was intercepted by UBC's Taylor Loffler to seal the win.

Atlee Simon had another outstanding game for the Rams, rushing for a career-high 207 yards to become the first U of R player to go over 200 since Adrian Charles had 222 in a game at Manitoba during the 2010 season. Vieira finished 17-for-31 with 286 passing yards, while Thompson had seven catches for a game-high 127 yards. Mitchell Picton led all players with eight catches and finished with a career-high 109 receiving yards.

Michael O'Connor was 19-for-37 and finished with 303 yards and one touchdown for UBC, which improves to 1-1 with the win. Will Watson had a team-leading five receptions for 78 yards, while David Mann had three catches for 99 yards.

(University of Regina)

No comments: